(Body) Art

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


Via etsy

Don't worry, I'm not actually thinking of getting a tattoo (what's that sound? Oh, it's the sound of my parents hitting the roof.).

Via Pinterest (original source unknown)

Partly because I am, frankly, a spineless goody-two-shoes. Woman, know thyself.

Partly because I cannot conceive of ever loving any image enough that I would want it staring me in the face every day for the rest of my life. I mean, you saw how long it took me to decide on a haircut. Decision-making, particularly decisions of the more permanent kind, is not my forte.


Image by Caryn vs The World. Tattoo by Brian at Capital City Tattoo in Madison, WI

But the main reason, I confess, is that I have simply been unable to shake off the long-held notion that tattoos are, fundamentally, tacky (see: goody-two-shoes, above). 

Before you shout at me, I'm sorry. It's just that the only time I ever really see large numbers of people with tattoos is when I'm on holiday and they're invariably hideous. Rippling muscles spattered with random Chinese symbols, simpering girls adorned with bows and rainbows and cupcakes and other such vapid nonsense, slightly terrifying middle-aged men with loved ones' warped, badly-drawn faces sprawling across bulging back fat. And that's before you even leave the airport.

Image via Elsie's flickr stream

But, I have to say, some of the tattoos I have seen floating around the internet recently have caused me to revise my perceptions somewhat. I mean, Amanda Wachob's work, featured on design*sponge recently, isn't quite my thing. But there's no denying the artistry. So perhaps tattoos can be art, after all.

But it's a fine line, my friends. A very fine line indeed.

Via Tattoo Disasters

13 boats moored

  1. Oh I missed you.

    I want a tattoo, I want an Amanda Wachob tatto, but I can't afford one (that shiz is expensive)

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  2. I've got a tattoo. A giant tattoo. It's on my back, so often times I forget that it's there. Living in Scotland means that most other people don't know it's there eiher. It was a decision I made at the enlightened age of 21... I was really smart back then. Which is to say that it's not that I don't like my tattoo, I do like it, it's just often times I wish it wasent tattooed on my body. It's a (you guessed it) giant naked lady in artful repose between my shoulder blades. Seriously. For awhile now I've been thinking about getting her a dress, and maybe a book to read, but I keep wanting to spend large chunks of money (when I have them) on other things instead.

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  3. Cara - Oh it's nice to be missed!

    Lauren - SHUT. UP. You have a giant naked lady between your shoulder blades??? I would NEVER have guessed that. You are badass. I love the idea of getting her a dress and a book now you're a little older. Perhaps over time she could get some reading glasses, maybe a cardigan? The possiblities are endless!

    (P.S. Was she on show at the wedding? How did the in-laws cope with *that*??)

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  4. Ah for once we will have to agree to disagree (sort of). I have 5 tattoos - the last 2 I designed myself (but obviously as they're on my back and shoulder I required the skills of a tattoo artist to permanently ink them onto me) I have a draft post on this very subject that I've been planning to blog for a while now - I don't look like 'the sort of person' to have tattoos and whilst that very stereotyped image annoys me somewhat because in these enlightened times I would like to think that people can see that actually body art can be beautiful, I also have to admit that when you and other people say 'oh they were covered with tattoos' in that tone of voice (conveyed even via the medium of blog) I know the 'sort' of people you mean and they aren't the arty, bohemian type whose tattoos I love (and whose category that I like to think that I fall into). You should look at the tattoo section on a beautiful mess blog - those ladies have the most beautiful body art all representing their own particular area of creativity. Sorry this is so long but this is a subject close to me heart (or my shoulder, lower back, wrist and thigh! ;0))

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  5. NO. I focused my dress search on trying to find something that specifically would NOT reveal the naked lady. My dream was to find a dress that revealed neither naked lady or my cleavage: Oh the Mormon dresses I was forced to consider, but thankfully JCrew had a nice offwhite ivory bridesmaids dress that did the trick of covering my naked lady- though my other ladies were somewhat on display.

    She did however make an appearance at my sister-in-laws wedding a year later, and after it was too late for objections.

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  6. Nicola - ooh I can't wait to read your post, I was blown away by some of the beautiful artwork I saw on Pinterest and the Amanda Wachob stuff, so as an artist I bet yours are amazing! Like I say, my perceptions are definitely changing - I suppose it's like weddings or anything else, people are slowly waking up to the idea that there is whole world beyond the same old tacky clichés (although, as with weddings etc, taste is a very personal thing - and sometimes it can go very, very wrong...)

    Lauren - you crack me up.

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  7. I could never have one myself (mixture of major needle fear and being a goody-twoshoes like Kirsty), but I love my sister's (she's much cooler than me). It's on the back of her neck, far enough down that she can hide it and she designed it herself. I made her choose a bridesmaid's dress that showed it off. Personal body art can be so beautiful.

    I think the worst tatoo I ever saw was in a magazine: a woman had her baby's face tatooed on her chest. It was not a pretty baby or a good picture.

    xxx

    P.S. I missed you too!

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  8. I have tattoos, and even though I got my first when I was 18, I still love it. (Then again, I went for original ideas that meant something to me and designed them from scratch, so I'm not stuck with anything cliche.) I also have them in places that can be covered, so no potential employer needs to be alarmed, nor do fellow flyers at the airport.

    That being said, ugliesttattoos.failblog.org is enough to scare anyone out of getting ink. Or at least reproducing with those featured.

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  9. Esme - ahh, the baby face ones are the WORST! *shudders*

    Allison - you have hit the nail on the head. Original, meaningful ideas take it from cliché to something beautiful, with tattoos as with life. I'm not sure I can bring myself to look at that blog though... *shudders again*

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  10. I'm too indecisive to get a tattoo. I have 2 friends who are wonderful tattoo artists - one of them tattooed my sister, actually - so I know exactly who I'd go to, but I just can't ever decide what to get. It certainly wouldn't be someone's face, though, nor Chinese characters (I'm convinced those are rarely done correctly & that most people walking around with them have a very different message than they imagine inked on).

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  11. Oh god that last one is terrible! I've been dithering over tattoos for a while now as well- the first two you've posted here are beautiful! I'd never get anything that large done, but you can't deny the artistry.. I would worry about regretting it and so on aswell so not sure it well ever happen! xx

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  12. i'm with you kirsty, i just couldn't bring myself to break the rules like that. don't ask me what rules, i know i'm allowed to do what i want. it's just to difficult to consider. and i bet i'd end up with the one with a spelling mistake...

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  13. I am a little too scared by the foreverness too.

    I was going to say I want one of those watercolour like ones. Then I google Amanda Wachob and realised that Cara probably meant the same thing. I don't want to be a copy cat/ra.

    The watercolour-esque ones are stunning. $300 a hour though? Yikes!

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