Everything you need to know about Tattoos

Know about Tattoos

Tattoos – fantastic works of art that we use to decorate our skin. There is a lot to know about tattoos, probably more than you might first think. But do you need to know it all? Well, no, probably not. Unless you’re a tattoo artist, tattoo equipment supplier or a hard-core tattoo enthusiast about to undertake the biggest tattoo related quiz ever written, then no, there probably isn’t much you need to know about tattoos, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to learn. Tattoos are interesting, very interesting really, and often unique and beautiful. Why wouldn’t you want to learn more about them?

Everything to know about tattoos The History:

Well, we don’t actually know when people started to give one another tattoos, or how they did it at first. The earliest evidence of tattoos is from the Bronze Age, and of course it is pretty widely known. ‘Ötzi the Ice Man’ is the best preserved body so far found from the Bronze Age, having been found in the ice of a mountain in Europe his skin still showed a total of 57 tattoos, a majority of which were straight lines. It is believed because of the locations of the tattoos that these were used in treatment of arthritis, as most of the tattoos are placed over pressure points for tattoos around the body, which are regularly associated with therapeutic treatments.tattoos for girls on shoulder

Around 2,600 years after the death of Ötzi, there were the Pazyryk mummies, and the first tattoos that clearly represented images. This was important to the history of tattoos – these were the first tattoos known to be items of decoration on the body, rather than therapeutic treatments. The images featured a variety of animals, including griffins and monsters that were thought to have magical properties and significance to the lives of the people living in the Altai Mountains.

It is widely believed that the Egyptians played a big role in spreading the tattoo medium around the world. Tattoos in Egypt were generally limited to women, and most often these women were associated with ritualistic practices, featuring tattoo designs that offers clustered dots and dashes to produce geometric designs. By 2,000 BC it is thought that Egypt had encouraged the stretch of tattooing to countries they had developed relations with, including Crete, Greece, Persia, Arabia and the Ainu (nomads) in western Asia, who then took it on to Japan.

There is evidence that tattooing, or at least tattoos as a concept, existed in japan as early as 3,000BC, with clay figures having been carved or painted with decorative marks very similar to tattoo designs. It isn’t until 297 AD that we have any records of tattooing on the skin in Japan, but it is documented as having been done for decorative purposes rather than spiritual or magical; which is the earliest documentation of tattooing as decorating in the world and appeared in a Chinese Dynastic history where the practice had been observed by Chinese scholars during interactions with Japan. At the time the great Japanese tattoo artists were known as horis, with the word hori being interpreted as digging or carving, depending on the characters used. Following their observation of the Japanese, tattooing appeared in China, though not with quite the same force as the Japanese industry. China were among those to prefer the silk method, which included the use of silk that was soaked in soot before being threaded through the skin.

It wasn’t until 1846 that the first professional tattoo artist arrived in the US; a German immigrant by the name of Martin Hildebrandt, he arrived in Boston, but he didn’t establish his own tattooing studio until 1870, when he arrived in New York City and tattooed soldiers. While there may have been tattoo studios before this, his was considered to be the first, because it was the first to be operated by a professional tattoo artist. From there the industry bloomed, despite the 36 year ban on tattooing in NYC from 1961 to 1997.

Tattooing Today:

In today’s world it is completely different. 1 tattoo studio is established in the US alone every single day. While during late 1800s and early 1900s it was almost unheard of for a woman to have tattoos, and certainly frowned upon among social circles, today an average of 23% of women have tattoos, while only 19% of men have them, according to a 2012 survey.

Surveys conducted at the end of 2013 showed that, in America, people were spending around $1.65 billion on tattoos each year, 14% of all tattoos (all ages and genders) had tattoos, with a grand total of 45 million Americans who had at least one tattoo. 38% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 40 had at least one tattoo.

The average tattoo price in America is $150 an hour, though this often applies to large tattoo designs, with small, individual designs costing an average of $45.

Tattoo designs today vary from song lyrics to full body Japanese designs. There are no shortage of artists, styles, sizes or designs to choose from and a particularly fantastic new thing about the tattoo designs is that they are now available on just about any part of your body. In fact Lucky Diamond Rich (previously known as Gregory Paul McLauren has tattooed his whole body, twice. In fact, having run out of skin to tattoo (already having done the inner areas of his ears, his genitals and even between his toes) Lucky Diamond has taken to tattooing the insides of his body too, including the insides of his eyelids and mouth.

Tattoos are much more culturally accepted in today’s society, as tattoos have grown, become a popular part of the media and are seen much more frequently among a variety of people there are very few who could still claim that it provides any negative stereotypes.

However, while they are growing to be more culturally accepted there is still a lot of reservations regarding tattoos in Japan. Despite their rich history within Japan tattoos are often considered an indication of yakuza connections, and tattooed individuals are prohibited from showing their tattooed skin in a range of areas. Japanese individuals with tattoos find it very difficult to get work in the public sector, and tattooed individuals are often prohibited from using public bathhouses and gyms, where the tattooed areas might be shown.

Current Trends:

Tattoos don’t really do anything for you in a specific way, they’re art, and they do what art does. Art is designed to make us think or feel a certain way, and tattoos are often a way of doing that on your skin, providing you with a particular feeling or thought, regardless of whether it is to make you feel more attractive in your own skin, or to remind you of an important time in your life.

A study of American adults conducted in 2003 took information from more than 2,200 adults, of those who had tattoos 34% said that the tattoo made them feel sexier. In fact it showed that of the women with tattoos 42% felt sexier, and of the men with tattoos 25% felt sexier. 26% said it made them feel more attractive, 5% said it made them feel more intelligent, 4% said it made them feel healthier and 3% even said it made them feel more athletic.

So, it is not too surprising that those with tattoos can find themselves feeling more confident. A 2012 study also indicated that those with tattoos might feel that they are more spiritual, with 16% stating that it helped them to feel spiritual, though there is no data available as to the types of tattoo designs that might be associated with this particular connection.

Another study in 2003 indicated that of the people without a tattoo 76% said that the main thing preventing them from getting a tattoo was finding the perfect tattoo design. A further 10% said that the main thing preventing them from getting a tattoo was finding the right tattoo artist or having the money for a tattoo.

A survey within the UK was published in 2006, and consisted of 500 individuals aged 18 to 50, of these 24% had tattoos; 22% of the women and 26% of the men. From these figures information was taken regarding the location of their tattoos. The following information indicates the location of the tattoos, the percentage of people of each gender with those tattoos, and the actual number of people creating that percentage (shown in brackets beside the percentage).

Face tattoos showed 4% (2) of females and 0% (0) of males.

Neck tattoos showed 4% (2) of females and 8% (5) of males.

Chest tattoo showed 20% (11) of females and 17% (10) of males.

Upper back and shoulder tattoos showed 25% (13) of females and 34% (21) of males.

Arm tattoos showed 7% (4) of females and 75% of males (48) of males.

Abdomen tattoos showed 13% (7) of females and 5% (3) of males.

Lower Back tattoos showed 18% (9) of females and 5% (3) of males.

Buttocks tattoos showed 5% (3) of females and 3% (2) of males.

Hip tattoos showed 9% (5) of females and 2% (1) of males.

Leg tattoos showed 14% (8) of females and 20% (13) of males.

Hand and finger tattoos showed 2% (1) of females and 14% (9) of males.

Ankle tattoos showed 27% (15) of females and 2% (1) of males.

Feet and toe tattoos showed 4% (2) of females and 2% (1) of males.

84% of those surveyed got their first tattoo when they were 18 or younger. However, 6% of those who received their tattoos at or before the age of 18 have had tattoos covered, as opposed to the 0% of those who got their tattoos after the age of 18.

The Artists:

There are no shortages of tattoo artists in the world, once upon a time it was a lesser practiced profession, but that certainly isn’t the case today – these days there are millions of artists all around the world, practicing hundreds of styles and art types and producing millions of tattoos.

 

First of all, a tattoo artist is now a recognised and respected career, and careful training and registration has been required in the industry for years. You’re not considered a tattoo artist until you’ve completed an apprenticeship and earned the title, and of course once you’re considered an artist you have to be licensed to work independently. It isn’t the easiest industry to get into, but it certainly isn’t impossible, particularly if you have skill with art.

 

So – how do you go about selecting the right tattoo artist for you?

Start by deciding what you want from your artist, you can really narrow down the number of artists that are relevant to your needs just by specifying a style you want. If you don’t know what you want then you maybe aren’t ready to get the tattoo just yet and should take more time to decide for certain what you’re looking for in the tattoo.

 

So – find all of the artists within the distance you are willing to travel that may be capable of producing the style you’re looking for. Just browse through the galleries of tattoo studios within the desired distance, find examples that offer the sort of style you’re looking for and take note of the artist’s names. Once you have a list of names of artists you would be happy to get tattoos from you can move onto the next step.

 

Check out the reviews! Look up the studios and artists you’ve taken note of and find out what sort of experience people have had with them. This will give you a reasonable ideal about the quality, customer service and hygiene practices of each of your options. Cross off anyone on your list where there might be reasonable doubt as to the cleanliness of their studio or the quality of their service. You put your health at risk with a tattoo, so it isn’t worth risking a bad artist.

 

Finally narrow down your options to 3-5 artists. You might decide based on their locations or their portfolios, whatever your criteria is select your favourites and contact them. If you have any sketches of your tattoo idea send those, explain what you want clearly and ask for a quote. You should be aiming to find out how long the tattoo might take to complete, and how many sessions would be involved, possible dates (one for meeting the artist and discussing your idea, others for the actual tattoo sessions) and you can ask for an estimate of cost, but this is not always set in stone.

If you’re not convinced that your tattoo artist is working legally you are entitled to request to see their tattoo registration and take note of their registration number, should you choose to.

Avoid the ‘scratchers’ – these are illegal artists usually working out of their own homes. The environment is not hygienic, their business is not monitored, their waste is not safely disposed of and it is very unlikely that their equipment is sterile. It is not worth the risk, even if their work looks good.

 

There is a very common saying in the tattoo industry; “a good tattoo isn’t cheap and a cheap tattoo isn’t good,” and this saying is very, very true. If you get an incredibly cheap quote on a tattoo you should be very suspicious.