Tattoos: A 21st Century Perspective.

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I have a fascination with tattoos. I’ve gotten really into reading the Tattoo Tuesday feature on Sometimes Sweet, and it’s so interesting to see so many different tattoos on so many different people, and to read about their significance and the process of being tattooed.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the stigma surrounding tattoos and how silly it is. Quick anecdote: toward the end of high school, I told my mom that I wanted to get a full sleeve tattoo (sort of joking) and she almost started crying. I think she was concerned that I a) wanted to ruin my body with tattoos, b) was being openly rebellious, and c) would never get a job if I had tattoos.

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The distrust/suspicion of people with visible tattoos seems to be a generational thing: I know lots of people’s parents who think that tattoos are only for hoodrats, but very few people my own age who feel the same way. And while there are some instances in which tattoos are an act of rebellion, I think they more commonly serve as symbolic art. People get tattoos to commemorate life milestones, to remember their heritage or people they’ve lost, to remind themselves that they can be the best versions of themselves, to say with art what they can’t say verbally. There will always be nimrods who get dumb tattoos that don’t mean anything to them, but for the most part, getting a tattoo is often more intentional and thoughtful than that.

I think tattoos can be really beautiful, and I don’t think it detracts anything from a person when they have tattoos. It’s not like your personality does a 180 when you get a tattoo; of all the people I know with tattoos, they have all stayed the same people they were pre-tat. The only difference is that they have some amazing artwork on their body now. If you’re so focused on thinking that nice-looking people are “ruining” their bodies with tattoos, you’ll never be able to see the beauty and meaning in what they’ve chosen to make part of their body. And as for the you’ll-never-get-a-job argument, I think that’s a pretty dated viewpoint. This is the 21st century, people: the word “tattoo” is not synonymous with unemployment. I have tattooed friends and they all manage to work for a living. Older folks will still hold onto their negative opinions regarding tattoos, but as my generation grows older, I suspect that tattoos will become more and more innocuous until they’re just a common everyday thing, like pierced ears, that fails to offend anyone. And if an employer can’t look past your tattoos to see your qualifications and personality, then that particular job probably wouldn’t be a good fit for you, anyway.

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Kaelah of Little Chief Honeybee was featured on Tattoo Tuesday, and I think she sums it up best:

Undoubtedly, heavily tattooed people will run into the more conservative types who think if you’re tattooed then you’re quite obviously in a biker gang or recently sprung from prison, but I think that’s one reason I’m so drawn to the lifestyle. I wear dresses every day; I don’t even own a pair of pants. I try to portray myself as a classy young lady and full of femininity. I try to show the naysayers that they couldn’t be more wrong about tattooed women (or people in general). The most common thing I get is “How are you going to find a job?!” but I simply assure them that I have chosen a field which is much more understanding of body modifications and if I had to hide who I was at work, how on earth could I be happy doing that for a living?

I’m right there with ya, girl. Truer words were never spoken.

333 responses to “Tattoos: A 21st Century Perspective.

  1. Yes! I totally agree with you. I work in a tattoo shop and once in a while when someone gets their first tattoo I say “NOW YOU’LL NEVER GET A JOB!” and I hope they hear how ridiculous it sounds.

  2. I don’t think of people with tattoos as hoodlums or gang members. But for me, at this moment, I couldn’t see myself ever getting one. Every once in a while, though, I will see one that I find very beautiful and appealing.

    • I can understand someone not seeing themselves with a tattoo. It’s kind of like not seeing yourself wear your hair a certain way, or wearing a shirt (of course a tattoo is more I dunno, permanent!) If I were to get any ink, it would have to be something of great meaning and a piece of art no one else has.

      *** By the way, I’m new at blogging, and if anyone likes to read poetry, check out my blog :). I have poems of love, hate, fear, and fate (hence the username). I hope someone enjoys them! ***

    • I agree, I like them on other people… but I have not found something I want on my body forever… plus, I don’t like needles.

  3. As an artist, I’m fascinated by the notion of wearable art in the most literal sense. I don’t have a tatoo, but gosh, they can be incredible. The photo of limbs is fan TATic!
    Congrats on FP-ed, and hang on for the ride!

  4. I guess since I’m almost 50, the whole tatoo thing is a little strange to me but I’m fascinated by it as well. Having noticed myself make huge leaps in perception, tastes, likes/dislikes, opinions, etc. as I’ve gone through likfe, the thing I always wonder about when I see a tatoo, especially on a young person, is whether the wearer will grow tired of the art, having changed so much in thought processes or lifestyle or ideas and what is is like growing weary of something but not being able to change it out like we can change towns, or clothes or hairstyles. Love your pictures!!! Love that you are making us ponder our possible misconceptions!

    • I’m just turning 50 this year too, and my attitude toward tattoos is the same as yours. I always wonder if the person might grow tired of their tattoo –or even be embarrassed by it — later in life. I know my dad sure hates his full- forearm-length naked woman tattoo from his days in the Marines! But there are really some beautiful tattoos out there. I wonder if maybe getting a tattoo myself would be empowering in some way? Food for thought….

  5. I think tattoos are beautiful too. I think they show character and make a person more intriguing. Nice Post!!!

  6. Ron Scubadiver

    Good images, especially the row of arms. I have a lot of portraits of ladies with tattoos on my blog.

  7. I love looking at tattoos, but not really into having on my body…. I love the photo of all the arms.

  8. …but don’t you think the social stigma surrounding tattoos may be waning? It certainly seems that way to me…

  9. the neurotic yogini

    I love this article! I just went home to see my parents after getting a full back tattoo and didn’t even take the time to justify myself (my mom was PISSED). It’s a beautiful lotus flower mandala that has very significant meaning to me… I got it as a representation of the people I love and have lost (I got it after attending one of my best friends’ funeral).. allowing myself to move through the darkness of life and into the glorious lightness of being! Appreciate your take on tats.. I will be forwarding this to my mother. 😉

  10. Great post, great pix, KUDOS. I’m 56 and have many tatts (40ish). I explain the phenomenon, to anyone who asks, like this: My body is my temple and my tattoos are the stained glass of my soul.

    • Now that’s an impressive explanation!

      To each his own. The only thing I ever seriously entertained tatooing on my bod was my social security # on my toe, in the event of my anonymous death: I want to make sure the coroner has the right body, and save taxpayers the cost of that little toe tag.

  11. My only objection to tattoos is entirely internal– I’ve never held any image so dear that I’d want it stuck to me for the rest of my life. Even though a relative fogie, I can still appreciate both the personal expression of the wearer and the skill of the artist that applied a tattoo.

  12. I just did a blog about ink myself. Thanks for this! Those photos of tattoos are incredible!

  13. Love this post, more people should think like you. At the end of the day, I get a tattoo on my body, for my reasons. How it can offend/upset other people I’ve never understood as it doesn’t affect them.

    I have 9 tattoos in total and I don’t regret a single one and have never been out of work, or had any trouble finding work because of them.

    They all mean something to me, they make me feel like ‘me’, help me express myself, and are a really great conversation starter (although I wouldn’t recommend this as the main reason for getting one!).

    Thanks for a great post!

  14. i have eight tattoos. i really related to your comment “to remind themselves that they can be the best versions of themselves”. all my tattoos match my personality & remind me of something important that i care about. my most recent tattoo is a lyric from a 311 song – “stay positive & love your life”. i want to live my life in that way, & the tattoo is a constant reminder to keep a positive attitude!

    now, as for my ice cream cone tattoo… that’s just for fun. :]

  15. Love this article. Thank you. I’m about to get my first tattoo to serve as a symbol for my transition into full time professional author, and I can’t WAIT to be able to look down and see the beauty of it on my arm. I’ve decided on my forearm, where I can see it while I type. Seems fitting somehow.

    Thanks again for this, it’s lovely. And you’ve got a great blog too! Glad I found you.

  16. I love this post. I’m a girl with quite a few tattoos – including a very intricate half sleeve – but when I got them, I made sure that they could all be covered with a nice dress shirt. Whenever I meet new people (especially in professional situations), I make sure my tattoos are covered for as long as possible. The more conservative I feel the person is on the issue of tattoos, the longer I keep them hidden while I let them see the non stigmatized side of me. Once they’ve realized that I’m successful, motivated, sociable, and generally have a good head on my shoulders, I start wearing things that show some of my tattoos. It’s always nice when they say, really surprised, “Wow, I didn’t think you had tattoos.” In a way that really says, “Wow, you’re not the type of person that should have those.” I like to think that I’m retraining their ideas on tattoos, but in reality it’s probably more of just a fun trick. =)

  17. Tattoos are a great way to express yourself! I have just had my second one finished, with plans for a few more.

  18. Agreed. More and more you can have tattoos at work. Even in more conservative settings. I’m an accountant and I still try to cover mine, but I have never had any backlash when people see them.

    I think people are finally starting to get it.

  19. I think you’ve made some really good points there.
    Tattoos are art, an expression of the wearers personality. They are 0ften viewed in a negative way, but I have to admit, the observation that this is often generational is spot on.
    I also agree with your idea that there are the exceptions to the rule, I happen to know of a bloke with “F*** You” Tattooed on his forehead, and “S***” & “C***” on his knuckles. In this situation I feel that negative judgments towards the wearers behavior, background and intellect are more accurate, he has chosen to be permanently covered in obscenities after all, going against societies norms in an extremely tactless manner.
    However, a good friend of mine is covered from head to toe in tattoo’s, some in very visible locations such his hands and neck. Admittedly when I first met him my first impressions of him were much different to the person he actually was, he happens to be a very down to earth lad with great potential and tattoos are his way of expressing himself.
    Tattoos can be used in a variety of ways, and we have to face up to the fact that society is always changing, and our behaviors change with it.

  20. I’ve always seen tattoo’s as a form of art and have been considering getting one myself, though having trouble deciding on a wolf with blue flames in the background or getting a dragon that wraps all the way down my arm, but i know i will get twin dragons that wrap around a rose and come to a point at the top forming a heart, and gettng a matching one on my love, as a symbol of love. every tattoo i have considered has a meaning to me in some way or another. congrats on freshly pressed.

  21. I love tattoo on other people, (husband has 2, since marrying me!)
    I just don’t feel it is not for me though , probably cos I don’t feel strongly enough to put something so permenantly on my body and I know that, for me I would regret the way it would look as I got old & wrinkled!

    People, sadly, are prejudice about all sorts of things ..if you find something that you love go for it is for you to live not other people to comment on !

  22. My mom was upset after I came home with a tattoo on my shoulder. I was 19. In high school I never felt like I fit in, but I wasn’t a hoodrat or anything really. I liked art, drawing, painting, sculpting. I took it to the next level and put it on my body. The only unfortunate thing about my tattoo is that hubby doesn’t appreciate it as much – I forget it’s even there most of the time. My cousin, also female, is addicted to the pain/process of getting tattooed – but she now has full sleeves. Ouch.

  23. my parent was so angry about my tattoo, because i never purposely show them or even told them that i went to get 1 and they only found out after 3 months .. what i mean is i am still as usual.. tattoo doens’t change anything ~

  24. This is an awesome post…

    I have my eye on so many designs that I want imprinted on my flesh. The biggest and only problem I have now is WHERE on my body to put it…

    Ah, well… I’m guessing the answer will present itself serendipitously at some point 😛

    • Hi Frederik –

      I suggest taking your time and considering all areas of your body you would never any regrets in putting a tattoo on. Also, I guess the size and shape of the tattoo comes in to play as well. Have a good Tuesday. 🙂

    • Also, Sharpies are amazing. Before I got my tattoo (just the one, but I’ve been considering another), I would draw it on myself in sharpie just to get a feel for what it was like to have it. How easy it would be to conceal if needed. How the design moved with my skin. And you can easily test out different places on your body. Did this for about 4 years before I finally felt it was the right time to get it (not saying you should wait so long, just my little anecdote).

  25. I got my first tattoo a little less than a year ago, but I did get it on the side of my hip, so it’s not normally visible. Unless I make a point of showing it to someone, no one knows I have it. I don’t care. I know it’s there and I love having it. It’s something that means something to me, and I got it for me. People warned me before I got it that tattoos are addictive, and I’d likely not stop at one. I haven’t gotten a second one yet, but I think about it. I’m not the type to get the full-sleeve, mostly I just like the look of my skin the way it is.

    • Hi Digital –

      I think you describe the real reason a person should get a tattoo. You don’t care if anyone sees it because you got the tattoo for your own satisfaction and happiness. I think others get tattoos in order to be noticed or stir up controversy, something. Kudos to you. 🙂

  26. My ex boyfriend got this really amazing tattoo. It’s Lady Guadalupe. It’s gorgeous and everywhere he goes he gets compliments on it. I agree that getting a tattoo is definitely a big choice and that there are always people that just want to join a trend. I also think that you can really tell how serious a person is about their tattoo’s by the quality of the tattoo. My ex’s tattoo cost an arm and a leg, but it’s a piece of art that will last a lifetime.

  27. id love to get a tat myself and i agree with you! i wish i could make that visit to the shop and get the art done! im still waiting for the perfect moment tho 😀

  28. Great text. It’s exactly what I’m trying to explain to my mum. Unfortunately she doesn’t speak/ understand English, so I can’t just print out your posting and let her read this…
    But I’ve also chosen a part of my body for the tattoo that won’t be shown every day, my scapula.

  29. I personally will probably never end up with a tattoo, mostly because I’d rather write quotes on myself until I get sick of it and want a new one. I’m too spontaneous and I change my mind too much to add a permanent piece of art to my body. But I do like some of them, not all but some. It just has to mean something.

  30. I have a practical question: What do the tattoos look like 20 years after they were done? I have seen many that blur out into a blob that cannot be identified anymore. That kind of sucks. Do they all do that, or only some?
    I like tattoos, if they are good artwork and not something stupid. Yes, I have things I don’t like to see printed on people, like the guy I saw at a gas station one summer who had a giant swastika tattoed on his chest. And yes, he felt the need to take off his shirt so we all could see exactly what an idiot he was.

  31. spiritandtruth1128

    Love this. I was afraid of getting my tattoos because of what my parents would say, but now they know that they are meaningful to me and that I am still me!
    Thanks so much for this entry!

  32. congrats on getting freshly pressed! and I completely love this post. I also have visible tattoos and really love seeing other people with body mods who aren’t afraid to show theirs off. But lately, more and more people are accepting of them and I hardly run into anyone who doesn’t have at least one body mod. Welcome to the 21st century! yay!


  33. ghostwiththemost

    Great post. keep rocking them tattoos!

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  35. Great post.
    My employer didn’t know I had tattoos at my interview, and why on earth should they?
    Granted I work with kids, but the fact I have tattoos doesn’t make me a bad person or role model. It actually shows the young people I work with that I’m a person, who makes choices, and is prepared to live with them.

  36. Beautifully written, Kendall. What a thoughtful (and thought-provoking) post.

  37. I can appreciate the beauty of some tattoos, and even some people who are heavily tattooed. In general though, I think the great majority of young people getting them today are doing so out of fashion, and tattoos so common now that they’ve lost their edge. A few years ago, a young lady with a tattoo would be seen as a bit rebellious and that defiant streak could connote power and interest. These days (I work on a college campus), it seems to be the ladies without tattoos who are the ones going against the grain, and they’re the more interesting ones. All just my opinion and taste of course . . .

  38. I think our generation is responsible for embracing tattoos and rescuing it from the perception that only rebellious (not that there is a problem with rebellion) and criminally minded people get tattoos. Personally I don’t care what people think when they see my tattoos. If they don’t have tattoos but react positively I always encourage them to get one themselves.

  39. While there is definitely less of a stigma against tattoos than there used to be, it’s still there and I don’t see it going away anytime soon. While I don’t personally have any, I don’t object to those that do, as long as there is meaning behind the tattoo. Classic ideas of professionalism will be around for a long time, and clearly visible tattoos don’t fit into that very well.

  40. Hi. Great post and awesome photo’s. I have three tattoos and have been employed my entire life. ha. congrats on FP.

  41. I absolutely agree that the meaning and range of tats in our society has changed dramatically over the past century. My grandfather, once a wild merchant marine who settled down, got married and went to church three times a week, all for the love of a woman, had numerous tats that in his day belied his heathen past. Now all of his grandchildren have tats… Me being the oldest at 44, a full time mom, successful business woman and “pillar of the community” with a full back piece, both feet and soon a “glove”. (And, yes, I do wear backless eveningwear to society events, lol!) Of course, where he had ships and dancing girls, I have antiqued roses, dogwood and a massive dragon in my more “feminine” and subtle colorations 🙂

  42. Nice post, and congrats on Freshly Pressed!

    Here at my office, where we do newsletter publishing, almost everyone has tattoos! And I was always worried about putting my tattoos in places where they could be easily covered for job interviews and work. It’s nice to see the stigma changing.

  43. Well said! I agree with you that it seems to be a generational conflict – my mother did actually cry when I got my first tattoo. My younger sister runs into open disdain for her visible tattoos and pink hair, when she is one of the sweetest people you’d ever meet. But its most often by older people. They’re too set in their ways to realize that its an act of creative expression (usually) and not a sign of a criminal lifestyle.

  44. Love this! Thanks for sharing. I’m working on a half-sleeve of daffodils (my daughter’s birthflower), and my Dad is/has been completely against it. I work in a nuclear power plant making a good living. I do wear 3/4 length sleeves and long sleeves out of consideration for the “aging workforce” we have in this industry… even though my boss likes my art (he’s 57 and thinks it’s “cool”). I have one of my wedding pictures as my desktop background and it shows my whole tat – surprisingly most of the older people who see it when they come by my desk think it’s great! I love my job – and my tattoos.

  45. I’ve always seen my generation as being a little odd when it comes to Tattoos. It’s a life long commitment for the most part with people who have a very hard time committing to too much for too long. To kid around with a phrase people are basically getting their heart tattooed on to their sleeve and what’s done is done for a long time.

    My strongest personal opinion and advise about getting it done is ask yourself if this is what you’re going to like 10 years from now, or feel that this best expresses yourself in the same time period.

  46. I love it! I get hassled by family members about my tattoos but just this weekend I had a conversation with one of them to explain what a tattoo is to me and why I get them…it was like mind blowing for them. And the job comment is so on point! I am in the film/writing industry which is more than accepting of my tattoos. I could never see myself in a profession that viewed me otherwise… great post!

  47. I spent 7 1/2 years in the United States Marine Corps where I started getting tattooed and I haven’t stopped yet. I have 6 total and now I teach in a rather conservative public school. The days of being passed over for being tattooed are (thankfully) drifting away.

  48. I’ve always wanted a tattoo, and I am reluctant to get one someplace that it will be openly visible. I’m worried about what other people will think, or deduce from what I have chosen to mark my body with.

    It’s been programmed into us, I think, to react this way to most forms of body art.

  49. awesome pictures Kendall!

  50. People are ridiculous with their opinions of tattoos. In past generations, you only had tattoos if you were in the military or prison, and that mindset had stuck with them over time. Tattoos today, like just about everything else, are much different to generations like mine. Today people get them for so many different reasons like memories, and true works of art. I have one in memory of my father who passed, and when my boss saw it the other day he gave me an attitude about it, but when i told him what it was for he shut right up. And I didn’t lose my job either lol.

  51. When I was a teenager, my mom made me promise her I would never get a tattoo. People with tattoos were considered “hard” or “trashy.” This is a promise that unfortunately I can’t keep!
    I am excited for the day when the hidden art emerges on my skin- but for now I appreciate others art and their story. Thank you for your story!

  52. I agree as well. Tattoos can be a beautiful way to signify someone’s feelings.

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  54. I really like tattoos…have three of them. I think it much more accepted these days. They look really sharp on people to me. I just don’t get the toungue splitting & implants that some are now getting to look like animals & stuff. Great post!

  55. Tattoos are fascinating, yes! I love them but I made the mistake of having a few too early in life without thinking to much about their about their significance and placement. The last one I had done I really love however. A friend helped me put it together. You know what the funny thing is? I have this theory that if you get them done in a place where you don’t see them all the time, you will love them for longer. Looking back on the decision to have them done, I would definitely urge people to think long and hard about what they want to get done and where.

    Very nice article though….Thanks!

  56. Interesting post. I agree they can look good, but couldn’t there permanence be a problem? Aren’t you concerned that you may get bored of them?

  57. I agree completely. I’ve sketched out my future tattoo, and the only reason I hadn’t gotten it yet is because up til feb. I was living with my mom and step-dad and they wouldn’t allow it because it has been frowned on and gives the wearer a negative appearance in today’s society.

  58. My late father hated the one tattoo he knew I had. However, my wife’s late grandfather–who was about a decade older than my father–had one from WWII. And my former boss–a woman in her 60s–had one. Who doesn’t have one these days? I’m surprised there’s any stigma left. These days someone without tattoos seems to stand out more! At least it seems that way in the Bay Area where I’m from.

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  60. I hear you but it still is a pretty harsh world out there… We would like to think it is not so superficial and can see past things, and yes- more often nowadays they do, but still there are many who don’t. I like tattoos and I think they are a display of artistic individuality. However, I think a lot of great care must come into play when you decide where you want to put them and how “out there” you want to become. They can’t be overdone.

    And bout the jobs… Well, a lot more untatted and tatted (are there even words like this?) people alike, can’t find jobs nowadays. Individuals with tattoos are only slightly more unlikely to find jobs in this economy. Nothing worth worrying about. Unless it’s high end professions, they are not so yielding….

  61. I really like this piece. I totally agree that people are still very closed-minded about the wild world of tattoos. I cannot wait until society and industry can accepte the tattooed world as intellectual and intelligent individuals, not as hooligans and trouble-makers.

  62. hi my friend, Really love the article and picture of tattoo realeased above . tattoo is art and the picture above is really beautiful and artistic.

  63. Great post, I agree fully. As a recording artist, I rock the stage with a small Cartman tattoo on my ankle!

    Congrats on Being Freshly Inked,..oops I mean Freshly Pressed



  64. Tattoos are really great, for whatever reason you pick to get one. It was amusing that people would try to hide the feeling ‘I don’t think you should wear tattoos’ with a ‘I don’t really like that design’, as if they would have accepted it if it looked differently.

  65. I’m from an older generation and I could care less whether someone gets a tattoo or not. I would never get one because I don’t want that kind of permanence. I prefer to make statements on a t-shirt.

  66. oneheartonemind

    Wonderful images…photo of the arms is a classic!

  67. Love the post, completely true 🙂

  68. Since I’ve turned 18 I have gotten tattoos, and I love them. Each of them symbolize something special to me. I currently hold an office job and have one visible tattoo on my wrist, that wraps around. I agree with you though, I believe the fact that people can’t see past a tattoo is ridiculous.

  69. I really enjoyed this piece. I have 2 tattoos and I have been itching to get a third and fourth. I work in a place where the nurture creativity and yet shun self expression and tattoos are very taboo. And yet the majority of the staff have them. It is so refreshing to see there are people out there who understand that the body is a work of art too and that for the right artist a blank canvas awaiting a muse.

    I love your photo choices as well. The one with the vibrantly colored arms is beautiful.


  70. I see tattoos as beautiful artwork and nothing less than that. It’s sad that there are so many people who are discriminated against and judged just because they have a tattoo. As you said, having a tattoo doesn’t affect one’s personality!

  71. I got my first tattoo on my 51st birthday and my 2nd on my 52nd birthday. Most people tell me they like the one they can see (the cross and a dove)–they just laugh at the idea of a 56 year old grandmother with a tattoo!

  72. Loved to read this perspective. I had never thought that having a tattoo could be a problem when finding a job, that’s really absurd!

  73. Great post and beautiful photos! I have a large tattoo on my back that is never viewed unless I’m going to formal events that warrant strapless numbers. And I almost always get the “I never knew YOU’D get a tattoo!” statement (people think I’m ultra conservative like that). It is almost as if I can see the precise moment and shift in how their views of my character changes. LOL

  74. I really enjoyed reading this. I’m a college freshman at VCU in Richmond Virginia. I’m 19 and have 3 tattoos. My mother cried when she saw my third one, it’s a blue compass rose and its in the middle of my chest. My brother (Who has up to 23 tattoos) went with me to get this done and got the same thing on his arm. We got a compass so we could always find each other no matter where our lives took us, family has always been a big deal. My mother always comments on how the tattoo on my chest is the only mistake I have made in life and how I use to be so pretty, it takes away from my beauty. I’ve learned to shrug off these comments because I know she will never understand how much this tattoo means to me and how much strength and confidence it has brought to my personality. I’m a good person, an extremely tame college student. I make good grades and I’ve never given my parents any reason not to trust me. Of course I constantly get the comment that I will never find a job but I’m not stupid. I am willing to cover up for a job, at least until I find a job that accepts my appearance. I don’t think that will be very hard with a Creative Advertising major.

  75. This very true! I am in total agreeance. I have a large tattoo on my side (which is not so visible) and in November I took the brave step of getting a half sleeve started! I love it and I love being able to make an artistic statement, but sometimes I can’t shake off the stigma that comes with it. I feel the stares from people when you are out in a t-shirt. At the same time though I embrace it and ignore the negativity of others.

    Great post!!

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  77. I am not a tatooed person myself, but have no issue with others that enjoy and cherish theirs. If it is truly something you want to make a permanent part of your life, then why not. And by the end of this decade, noone will be offeded by tatoos that’s for sure! I enjoy looking at the srt that the younger people I know have gotten, and think I might just have done if I had been born twenty years later! 🙂 Congrats on Freshly Pressed!! Great choice and wonderful perspective!!

  78. I love tattoos… I checked out your baby bids, blanket, and the chair you re-did. Amazing work. Props! Wish I had time and a space to reinvent things.

  79. I agree completely that today tattoos are not a main factor in finding employment, even if it is visible in work attire, especially for more artistic and creative fields. It is a decision that you should put thought into, but they can definitely be beautiful and classy. It is hard for employers to draw the line, but if you really think your tattoo will be an issue in the workplace, you should consult with yourself and figure out if a) you are really satisfied or happy at your job or b) if a tattoo really suits your personality. Personally,I couldn’t love my little tattoo more, and I am by no means the sterotype of a girl with tattoos. I agree that the stigma surrounding them is becoming outdated Thanks for the read!

  80. I don’t have any tattoo’s and that’s only because I change my mind a lot. I know that if I got one that I’d change my mind and hate it the next day. But I agree, they definitely can be beautiful.

  81. I think today, more so than any other point in American culture, it’s more common and accepted to be tattoed and still welcomed as part of America’s constantly adapting normalcy. Tattoos don’t come with AS negative a connotation as they used to. I, for instance, am very conservative but also have a few tattoos…none that are visible unless I’m in my chonies or swim shorts. Nevertheless, I think tattoos add character and uniqueness to a culture that is almost TOO meshed together, which ultimately drowns some of the beauty in variance.

  82. As a proud owner of three tattoos (and hopefully a fourth on the way), I must say I love this post. The stigma attached to tattoos is becoming less and less of a problem, as you pointed out, so go for it, say I!

  83. i am studying medicine but a big fan of tattoos..have u come across a tattooed doctor ever..? it would be interesting to hear the story.

  84. I don’t think I could bear to have a tattoo. Not because of the tattoo itself, just the process of having one sounds too painful for someone like me. I … am somewhat distrustful of needles …

  85. While I agree that tattoos can be beautiful and a wonderful form of self expression, I can’t help but think they take away from one’s natural beauty. Not only that, but those of you who are getting “sleeves” or things on your necks, etc…have you not stopped to consider how you’re going to feel about that on your body 5,10, 50 years down the road?

    This opinion is that of a 30-year-old otherwise liberal woman, btw!

  86. I love ink and what it represents as self expression. I currently have 4 tats. I looking to add to my collection in the near future this year. My next major tattoo I hope to have done in New Zealand by a Maori master. I’m so excited about the vision. It will be something that links water and land and being human and being a fish.

  87. Talk about stigma! I’m a young (28) Southern Baptist minister with pretty conservative theology…and I’m also tattooed. I have 2 (so far), and I’ve found that people who typically wouldn’t related to me because of my faith/calling are much more open with me once they find out I’ve “gotten ink done.”

  88. Whenever I see someone with a tattoo, I discount them as unintelligent. Probably not fair.

  89. I very much enjoyed reading your post. I recently got a tattoo, and the various comments I have received have been very interesting. Family, friends, and strangers, all with varying opinions. Thankfully, if they dislike tattoos in general they have respected the fact that mine does indeed have great significance. Like you, I hope tattoos will someday (soon) be innocuous.

    In Hebrew are the characters for YHWH, which is “Yahweh” in English. To the Jews, the name for God is so sacred they will not speak it, nor spell it out. In Isaiah 49:15-16 God says, ” I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” So, I got His name”engraved” on mine. Surrounding the name are olive branches which symbolize peace among other things. As a Christian I feel this is more of a proclamation, and personal reminder of my commitment to God than anything else.

    Thanks again for your post.

  90. Thanks so much for posting this, it’s lovely to see people paying attention to how the perception of tattoos needs to change. I feel sorry for people who object to my tattoo, it’s never stopped me doing things and loving life more than ever. It’s a stigma that needs to be broken that tattoos are only for a certain type of person/groups of people, they can be such a wonderful and sometimes healing addition to your body.

    Thanks again, very glad to have seen this 🙂

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  92. Thank you for this post! I’m seriously considering getting a set of tattoos, to commemorate something immense that happened to me, and I’m not at all the stereotype of person who would traditionally have been tattooed. My parents always say “you’d never get a tattoo, would you?” I would say “I promise you, if I ever need one, I’ll get one.” Well, now I feel like I need one. I can’t stand the dumb ones, but I adore tattoos that are clearly thoughtful and meaningful.

  93. Thanks for posting this, I agree 100%, tattoos have become a formal way of expressing ones opinions, feelings and excentricities…like jewels or clothes…I’m not tattooed, for now….

  94. wonderfully put and beautifully said!

  95. I’m not much of a tattoo person but I’ve never thought of them as being only for hoodlums. It just isn’t for me.

  96. I’m reminded of the bit on M.A.S.H. when Radar was contemplating getting a tattoo. Hawkeye said, “Why would you put something permanently on your body that you wouldn’t hang over your mantle?”

  97. Funny story about tattoos: My son (almost 3), has recently learned to use the potty. At daycare he has been encouraged to go #2 by getting a gold star sticker. When he met my soon-to-be sister-in-law a couple of weeks ago, he pointed to the stars around her wrist and asked if she got them “for going poopy”. For him, it was a badge of honor. I am sure she wears it as one as well, even if for a different reason. 🙂

  98. I once told my step-mother I was going to get a tatttoo of betty Page down my rib cage. Her instant reaction, “But, your so beautiful, why would you do that to yourself?” I remember being so offended until I realized that I don’t need her permission. Tattoos are beautiful and make a person unique in their own ways. It’s funny how in a modern society we judge people by such menial things still.

  99. I am hopeful that a lot of negative ideas about these things are changing rather rapidly. And I have a little bit of personal experience to suggest that it is.

    I don’t have any tattoos, but I do have several piercings: ears, tongue, nose, belly-button. And while my belly button is almost always hidden and my ears are rather accepted, six years back, while I was still in college I was constantly being told that I would have to take out my nose and tongue piercings as soon as I graduated from college in order to get a job.

    Not so.

    I have been working in a rather conservative field (journalism) in a rather conservative town (Rapid City, SD — although, I actually find it to be a very accepting place) ever since grad.

    Also, a few years ago when I was trying to get a second job in either retail or waiting tables I was told I would have to get rid of both my nose piercing and my tongue piercing. (Luckily I didn’t get any of those jobs and I didn’t have to get rid of either.) Last month I got a job at Red Lobster (a pretty conservative part of a corporate group) and my piercings are good to stay.

    I’m personally hoping that the tattoo stigmas recede as quickly as the piercing stigma seems to be — because I’m thinking of getting one, and I want it somewhere besides my lower back.


  100. Enjoyed the post. I am planning on getting my first tattoo sometime this year and have been asking my readers to recommend ideas. It is part of my 30 Before 30 list. I see you have a list of your own…check out my page if you get a chance. Congrats on FP!

  101. We are 100% on the same boat here, Kendall!
    Tattoos don’t change a person in any way at all, except that now, anytime they look at a certain part of their body, memories will flood back to them.
    People with tattoos defo’ shouldn’t be acknowleged any differently to anyone else!

  102. I find this article very clever and understanding. I personally was considering on tatooing myself, but I am very picky on what I want on my body. i want it to be something relevat an significant. I want something simpl and elegant. Since I have not find a design good enough to my liking or where in my body to stamp it, I have not done so. but I am still researching.
    I personally like the conclusion on which your article ends. And I believe that many people are becoming more open to the body art as a personal expression and not just an art of a certain stereotype people.

  103. Wow, look at all these comments. You’re famous! Love your writing, girl, keep it up!

  104. Loved the article.Alot of controversy has been raised about tattoo’s,I myself have 16 tattoos and want more.And I’m 41.As far as anyone who says “You’ll never get a job with tattoo’s”.I know alot of people that don’t have tattoos and still can’t find a job.I blame the economy. Most of my tats have a specific meaning to them and I designed them that way.
    I LOVE my tattoos and could really care less what others think about them.
    My wife has tattoos on her chest and her back and alot of guys think tattooed woman are hotter than hell but won’t admit it because of what others think.
    I am a self employed remodeling contractor and have never had a customer complain about my tattoos, because their too busy complementing the work I do, my tats have NO effect on my work. In fact one of my most loyal customers tells everyone she refers me to( and she refers me to EVERYONE) “you can’t miss him,he’s got tattoos all over”.
    This was a great article and I’m glad I came across it.And if you would’nt mind I would love your oppinion on an article I wrote about tattoos.
    Always looking for critisizm.Heres the address.

  105. I don’t have a problem with tattoos. I just am too much of a wuss to deal with the pain of getting one. Plus I think I’d have tattoo regret when I get older and things aren’t where they are now:) I did read this morning about an idiot gangbanger who had a crime scene tattooed on his chest. Now they’re using his body as evidence to convict him of murder. I find that interesting for some reason. Many reasons, actually.

  106. For those who are bible believers, the Creator-God commanded his people not to make or print any marks in their flesh (Lev.19:28). This was to set his people apart from the pagans. Don’t forget, your skin is an organ and inking up your skin, IMO, is not a healthy idea. No offence to those who are already inked! BTW, there are forms of tattooing which do not involve cutting the flesh. I can’t recall the name for such artwork, but the designs are phenomenal! Cheers, Peace and Blessings to all!

  107. i have 5 tattoos and a great job! 🙂 i like your thought on tattoos becoming as commonplace as ear and nose piercings (which again i have)..! and i wear Salwar Kameez’s to work or Sari’s sometimes which sometimes hide some or reveal all of the tattoos but i have never been judged for them! in fact here i am with a couple of promotions in my pocket after getting the tattoos and so i feel they are lucky charms even!

  108. I love that last sentence, it’s fantastic. I’ve had an interesting journey with tattoos, and am still in the process of getting a giant cover up of a mistake I made in my teenage years, but one day, hopefully I’ll get there. I think tattoos are fascinating and such a great way to literally wear your heart on your sleeve.

  109. I totally agree with you on this too! I don’t have a tattoo yet, but I’ve been wanting one for ages & ages. I love that dream catcher one you posted!

  110. I think you’re absolutely right about it being a generational thing… these days I’d have to say that among the people I know who are around my age, more of them have tattoos than not. And it isn’t just the rebels among us, either… the most strict and ardent religious person I know has a “tramp stamp.”

    As an artist I couldn’t think of a better expression of who I am than having something painted on my body, and I’m delighted with my own tattoos. I did get them in places that are fairly easy to cover, though… I remember my first roommate having to stock boxes of big band-aids so she could cover up her calf tattoo every time she wanted to wear a skirt to her administrative job in a hospital. Kind of ironic that a hospital would rather have her coming in looking like somebody’s been beating her than have her show a tattoo. Corporate policies like that are silly, but I do think they’re still a bit of a norm, and I like to have options… there are times when you end up in jobs that you don’t really want but do need.

    That said, I’m kind of delighting in buying clothes like shorts, which I haven’t worn in years but am just now adding to my closet so I can show off the awesome work on my calves. ;D

  111. Good post. Wise people judge others by more than their skin (or their clothes, or their hair). Not everyone is wise – unfortunately.

  112. Nowadays, I think people with sleeves and amazing looking tattoos are…everywhere. I’m more surprised by people who don’t have a single tattoo, and in a way it’s an artistic expression in and of itself.

    I have four tattoos, all possessing meanings. Some of the meanings have changed.

  113. I have a back stamp *so called ‘tramp stamp’* and i have to hide it from most people because they judge me as a person. Thank you. It truly feels great finally chancing in on someone who feels the same way i do – tattoos rock! And they don’t destroy a person’s character or personality. They are simply a part of you – and the world should learn to accept that. Or walk away.

  114. All of the comments are interesting to see. This topic is such a comment magnet!

  115. That chest tattoo has to be one of the most beautiful simple tattoos I have ever seen

  116. Blog do Kayo Kerk

    Hello Kendra! My Name is Kayo, just advising that I took some pictures of your post to talk about tatoo! i like do much this point to talk about in portuguese! Thank you so much your blog is now in my favorite list!

  117. Colin L Beadon

    I have seen some really attractive simple tattoos. Waiting in a seat at a bank, I tall Asian girl came to the counter in front of me. From her shoulder, down the left side of her back, she had a script in black Chinese lettering.
    I don’t know what it said, but it was somehow very attractive, almost seductive. I’m annoyed with myself, I didn’t ask her what was written.

  118. As a heavily tattooed musician, I run into questions all the time such as “what if you ever need to get a “real job”” as though playing music for a living is in itself not a “real job”. As if that wasn’t enough of a completely misguided slap in the face, there’s some supposition that solely by virtue of having tattoos you are immediately countercultural, and unable to obtain and maintain a job that would be up to par with societal standards.

    The truth is, in 2011 tattoos are more and more an accepted means of expression – the days of ink being merely jailhouse or biker gang phenomenon are into the past and fading rapidly. The “baby boomers” who moved out of the city and into suburbia to have jobs and kids and dogs and white picket fences housing their brand new barbeque grills aside their driveways with their new cars are slowly diminishing in influence and the number of tattooed people (even if it’s just one on their wrist, forearm, ankle or back) is growing.

    The shop where I get most of my work done (South Shore Tattoo Co, Amityville, NY) had to move to a larger location and hire more artists to accommodate the growing demand for tattoos, and stay open an extra day.

    Welcome to the 21st Century. Stay awhile, look around, you might like what you see.

    Peace Love and Vocal Harmonies

  119. I must admit I have been tempted to get a tat done, its just finding one that I want to live with for the rest of my life that has been the sticking point, oh that and the thought of the pain…

    But, after seeing some of the cool ones out and about, the idea is coming closer and closer to reality, a friend has even offered to pay when I go and visit her this autumn. So I suppose I had better pull my finger out and find one.

    The one type of tat that I am not too keen on, and call me old fogiesh, and that are tattood breasts on women (and yes I am aware that I should not be looking, probably, but hey, whattya doing to do), there is just something about them that turns me cold..still each to there own.

    And a I say, some of the work I have seen has been fantastic, so much detail and patients. The skill involved just blows me away.

  120. I don’t know when I’ll get around to getting a tattoo. I have a lot of ideas. Currently, I can see a rabbit somewhere on my arm. I’m in Seattle, a great place to get a tat. I’ll just have to wait and see. Maybe a temporary tattoo is what I need, unless I really find the perfect image.

  121. Few days ago i watched TV and there was also documentary about people having Tattoos on their body. Very good post! (Y)

  122. Great post!

    look my blog:


    Ricardo Ivan

  123. This is a wonderful blog. I recently got a tattoo of a leaf a couple years ago, but I but it in a place where it couldnt be seen everyday. And even still people judge me. I was recently asked by my current boyfriend when we first started dating, “were you drunk when you got that.” And no I was completely sober. And yes, I have no idea why I’m still with him. But I believe tattoos are great and I don’t regret mine one bit.

  124. I think of my tattoo as a graphic resume. It says 1000 words about me. Only those that really want to know actually ask what those words are. I always thank them for caring to ask about me.

  125. Great Post 🙂
    I currently have 6 tats and my families first reaction was OH GOD you’ve ruined your chances of having a good future …I now work for an amazing mining company – not once have i been turned away from a job for having my tats .. in fact they start conversations 🙂

  126. Gosh! Now I want more tattoos! I loved this post!

  127. thats my motto : i wouldn’t be happy working anywhere that wouldn’t let me be me. 🙂 also, i love when people ask what are you gonna do when your old? i reply : be just as wrinkly and unattractive as you….just a more colorful version!

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  129. Great post! It’s extra-nice to read this viewpoint from someone who doesn’t have tattoos… I’ve been making these arguments about my tattoos for years, but it’s good to hear them validated from the other side.

  130. I have a tat, it’s in a place that it shows only when I want it to be seen, I got it when I was 39. I always knew that I wanted a tattoo but did not know what I wanted it to look like so I waited until I knew. I’m glad I got my tattoo as it was a major decision for me. I see many people with tats all over and I always wonder what they will look like when they are older. I yhink that everyone should see a time lapse video of what a full body tattoo looks like as a body ages and stretches. It’s not pretty so enjoy what you have today. Know that for every action there is a opposite reaction. Do what you want to do but just look at any tattoo on any WW2, Korean War or Viet Nam Vet that they got in the service and you may think about where you are putting a tat.

  131. I think you have covered both sides of the tattoo issue quite well here. I personally don’t have any but only because I understand that they are a lifetime sort of commitment and I haven’t found anything I want to commit to that long. I see people with a lot of ink and they are working on a theme, or it says something about who they are or where they have been. Most of the time I find that to be done with some thought and some dignity. On the other hand I have met people who just get random meaningless images inked on, usually when they are drunk. That doesn’t appeal to me. In any case I have no judgements about anyone with a tattoo, it is their body and their life and the last time I looked this was still a free country. So for all of you tattoo fans, ROCK ON!

  132. I come from a pretty conservative background and I don’t have any tattoos personally and don’t desire to. However, I do love great art work, my nice has a great tattoo and she was afraid of what my mom would think. But to her surprise my mom and dad both saw it for the beauty she intended it to be.

    To me, a tattoo is just as much an artistic expression as a photograph or a painting or an incredible screen play. The difference is the canvas and stage happens to be alive.

  133. I wish Japanese society felt the same. I have no problem showing off my (tiny) tattoo or dreaming of my next in the US, but I’m afraid to get another one because I might not be able to enter the public baths/natural hot springs here. (A lot of hotels/resorts have a “No Tattoos” sign because tattoos are associated with yakuza, the Japanese mafia.)

  134. See I got a tattoo when I was eighteen cause I thought it was rebellious, but now everyone and their mother has tattoos and I just feel like a dweeb… :(. P.S.for anyone who’s asking, no, it didn’t really hurt. Now you can all stop asking.

  135. Great post! I truly believe that tattoos are a form of living art. I love the picture of the arms.

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  137. The majority of people I know who are tatted, myself included, have layered meanings behind what they have had done. Firstly my best friend Michael (who I have known since i was four) drew the stargazer lilly I tatooed mid/left hand side of my back. The flower itself is my mom’s favorite flower, and I got the courage to get it done after a relationship ended and I became myself again. It was a symbol of self-confidence, individualism, and strength to do things on my own for myself.

    When my mom first saw my tattoo she was shocked at how large it was, and my father said, “Wow! that is really dark, and black” haha… they weren’t thrilled but accepted me all the same.

  138. Hello,

    Your write is a welcome! Thank you. I have a respect and admiration for tattoos as well. My last of a dancing image, center back. What an experience as always. I’ve read tattoos began as rituals (methodical) differing depending on culture. Connections vary in spirituality, healing, religion, status. They are even thought therapeutic.

    Sadly, not every ‘body’ that gets a tattoo know their full meaning as permanent profound beauty or disgrace, depending were you travel. Tatt’s are also downplayed to miscellaneous absurdities. the nimrods “) tattoos should be thought-out and meaningful (time, pain and all).

    The pricking and beauty in the art is personal and deeply inked. We are warriors in spirit! Connecting. What better way to say it then with tattoo art?..

    Tattoos are beautiful when beautified and meaningful.

    Bye “)

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  140. This is great! I’ve wanted a tattoo for years but have put it off because I want it to be something very special and personal yet beautiful.
    I’ve checked out a few of your posts and I’ll be coming back for more! Great! 😀

  141. hi, i don;t like tattoos, but i like this article

  142. i love this post. i just got my tattoo on my upper left arm- a vintage mermaid.. very classy. first thing my aunt said to me was that “one day im going to want to get married and ill be an ugly bride.” yes.. ill be an ugly bride because of my tattoos. i googled brides with tattoos for an hour to make my point that women can still be gorgeous with them. im proud of my tattoos. if they were easy to get- everyone would have one.

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  144. Wonderfully written. As times change people have to realize that the reasons for doing things change too. At some point in life, I’m sure having a tattoo meant you WERE hoodlum, and even wanting a tattoo meant you WERE being rebellious, but as you pointed out, the younger generation doesn’t see it that way. The younger generation seems to be more open minded and accepting of all things out of the ordinary. These days we see our bodies as a canvas, a place for self expression, a temple that SHOULD be decorated-really, I don’t think it should be seen as anything less.

  145. Thoughtful post. I think tattoos are like all art,as beautiful or ugly as we are ourselves. My daughter has a tattoo of puzzle pieces to honor her brother and cousin that have autism. On the other hand, I just read about a gang member who was caught for a murder because he had a picture of the crime scene on his chest, some twisted badge of courage, showing him killing a shop clerk. Sick.
    By the way, your list is great. I’ve done numbers 7,12,15 (four times – I grew up in Issaquah),18 (many times) and 20 (according to some who have read them.)
    Congrats on the response and F.P.

  146. I like to see tattoos also. My wife and I thought of having tattoos to honor our family with our two children. We are conservative Christians, but seriously considered this as a way to express ourselves. I haven’t decided exactly where to put it, but I have the drawing in my mind. I like to do art, so maybe I will design my own.

  147. I’s always thought tats were cool. I’d get a few, but my religion is a problem…nobody ever explained if we as christians are allowed to get them. All my pastor said was how would jesus feel about it. I DON’T KNOW THAT’S WHY I’M ASKING YOU, THE PASTOR!..but anyway. I’ve been noticing the sames my veins make and they make cool shapes. I wouldn’t mind getting them tattooed somewhere. Oh and I want the deathly hallows symbol(nerd tat lol)

  148. Great blog!
    I am so drawn to tattoos it’s unexplainable. The job argument is quite outdated, I have tattoos and I happen to work for the Federal Government — I was initially concerned until I raised the concern with my boss who lifted her shirt to show me a ginormous tattoo she has on her back!

  149. I appreciate the value of tattoos as art and don’t condone prejudicial treatment of those with tattoos, but it is a fact that tattoos may limit one’s job opportunities. Some professions just won’t hire people who have tattoos or piercings or blue hair, people who don’t fit into a more conservative box.

    Of course it is a good point you raise that if an employer doesn’t accept one’s tattoos then he or she probably won’t be happy there. But what happens if a person has 5 always-visible tattoos by the time he or she is 20 and at age 30 decides to pursue a career in the legal field? Good luck.

    Furthermore, as some others touched on, are symbols that are significant to a 20 year old going to be as important to that person at age 40?

    These are the reasons for the old folks’ perspective (and I’m not one of them): the permanence and the job issue, which really is a legitimate concern, like it or not.

  150. I was just having a debate on this exact topic yesterday! I completely agree! Lovely post!

  151. “do tattoo freaks freaks regret?”, was on my mind for ages, I knew they did not from a “micro statistics” of one individual who, when asked, told me he did not. It was a redneck who on the muscle of his arm had a big tattoo , with an arrow through a heart, saying “mother I love you”. Your post and the lavish “macro statistics” in the replies provide certainty: they don’t regret.
    Tattoos are better than money, you can take them to your grave.

  152. I am one of those mom’s who freaked out when my son got sleeves and a full torso tattoo…this post helped me think differently. Thanks!

  153. During college, several years ago, I wrote a thesis paper arguing the viability of tattoos as an art form, and I think its fantastic that I’m not alone in the belief that a person can be a professional and have tattoos. With any luck from the money gods I’ll be going for my second soon.

    As for the concern about being able to pursue a career in say- the legal field- with visible tattoos, I would say that there is no such thing as an always-visible tattoo in that field. If you’re in a conservative office, you will be wearing a suit. And you will definitely be wearing a suit in court. And you’ll be wearing an even more conservative suit on interviews. Unless you have a tattoo on your face, it won’t matter.

    Tattoos can be a beautiful form of self expression, and even if a tattoo isn’t as particularly important to a 20 year old, as it will be to that person at 40 years old, its still part of the fabric of that person’s life and experiences.

  154. I love tattoos!!! I have four!!!!

  155. I’m 48 now and have been wanting a tattoo since I turned 40…8 yrs later and still not inked. I don’t know what’s holding me back, but I still love the artistry of tattoos and I haven’t given up hope on myself yet.

  156. I completely agree. My tattoos that I’m going to get done will be symbolic, or reminders. A feather for freedom to live the life I choose to live, a dreamcatcher to remind myself to never be afraid to dream, “Traveler” because it’s part of who I am, “Il Dolce Far Niente” to remind myself to just STOP and breathe, a camera to remind me of that passion, and “The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have” as a reminder of my beautiful friend, Carrie, who passed away a few years ago from cancer, who taught me a very valuable lesson, and who still inspires me every day with just that quote.
    I don’t see it as rebellion. I see it as a way to express who I am in a wordless (or as few words as possible) way with just a glance.

  157. hi, very nice tattoos..
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  158. I agree 100%. I have a full sleeve, and many other tattoos, I am a mother of 2, a student, and a part time soldier. I am very feminine, and most people at first assume I am this hard, bitchy person…. I am quit the opposite. I am a girly girl, I wear a flower in my hair daily and have purple toe nails. LOL Each tattoo I have represents something to me. I can remember where and when and how I felt when I got each one. I would not change one thing about them. They are me, I didn’t change as a person when I got them. I know others don’t understand or agree with it. And while tattoos aren’t for everyone, please don’t judge me just because I have them. I don’t judge you because you don’t have any. I am who I am and if you don’t like it, then I don’t need you in my life. So bring on the tattoo gun… I am ready for some more!

  159. This is so true , I recently go myself a tattoo, my first for that matter .It was quite an experience check it out if you would to know what it was like

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  161. I highly agree. I got my first tattoo a few months ago, and I have no regrets. People shouldn’t judge all inked people based on a few tools who get dumb, meaningless tattoos–like you said, most people who get ink are doing it for very good reasons. It’s a gorgeous art form, too.

  162. Great post! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.
    Oh yeah, I like your list of 23 before 24.

  163. it’s funny… i have 12 tattoos, but if i put on khaki’s & a polo you would never know. I go through my work day without anyone knowing i have tattoos, but in the summer if i wear shorts, i literally stop conversation in public places. My Fiancee notices more than i do at this point, but it’s still amazing that the stigma still survives in this day and age

  164. Katie Pickard Fawcett

    I think my concern about tattoos is the same as it would be with anything that is permanent. I look back at my own teen years, my 30s, 40s, 50s, and am amazed at how I have changed. I can’t imagine that any kind of tattoo I would have gotten in my 20s or 30s would be anything I would still want today! But every person is different. I know people who still live in the same towns where they were born, never traveled, had the same job all their lives, same friends, etc. I suppose it all depends on one’s own lifestyle. I prefer change — in clothes, jewelry, travel experiences, etc. so I wouldn’t be a good candidate for any kind of lasting art. I’d get bored with it.

  165. My parents have tattoos (matching ones) and I’ve always viewed them as beautiful art and idk, a symbol of permanent love 😀

  166. i’m excited to have my tattoo! my friends already have theirs and their tattoos have their own meaning and significance. i might have one this week. tattoos are lovely and, for me, it’s an expression of art! 😀

  167. Wow. Very well written. Controversial issue. I however agree with you. I believe that we should be way more understanding in society. We are far too quick to judge.

  168. Jailson Rainer

    Dangerous, crazy and beautiful! =)

  169. At my job at the makeup counter everyone has a tattoo so it’s no big deal. I especially like the colorful ones like in the second picture you have. Here’s what I worry about. The one on your upper arm at 20 won’t be looking like that at age 50 or 60 with the flappy hanging skin.

  170. I love looking up pictures of different tattoos. I have a couple myself. One I love (it’s of the millennium falcon from Star Wars), the other is Smaug drawn by JRR Tolkien drawn for the original cover of the Hobbit (seemed like a good idea at first, but I don’t think the tattoo artist did a very good job).

  171. Could not have said it better! I come from a very conservative Christian family and after my father passed last year I got my first tattoo. I showed it to my mother and the first question she asked was: “can you remove it?”, and asked me to always hide so that others don’t judge her parenting when they see me with it. It’s her opinion and I respect it. Eventually I added two more to the collection and I have then in places where others cannot really see on a daily. I love tatts 😀

  172. I love tattoos and I love this post. Do you have any yourself? I currently don’t but am hoping to get enough courage for one eventually. 🙂

  173. Ooooh…if you like Beach House, you should check out Thrushes.

  174. Very nice post. Had to swing by to say that one profession where tattoos are acceptable, if not required, is archaeology, and that is part of the reason I love it. I like to be able to cover up my tattoos if I feel the need to, but I also like that I could walk into an interview in jeans and a tanktop without having to worry about the (very personal) art on my skin.

  175. Tattoos are a lot more mainstream and acceptable in today’s society than they were in years past. People of all ages have them now, though certainly a higher percentage in the younger population. There’s probably a lot of people with a hidden tattoo that nobody would ever guess had one.

  176. artfashionandhim

    LOVE THE POST. It has the most likes I have ever seen here on wordpress! NO KIDDING. I really wanna get a tattoo myself, something on the ankle, but I am still living as a highschool student. Mum told me she wouldn’t help pay for college tuition at all if I got one. So after college is the plan! Amazing props for taking a step and writing about this!

  177. Nice post!
    Personally, as someone with tattoos, I agree with everything you said. But I can cover most of my ink if it is ever necessary. And getting a job was no problem eventhough my parts tattoos were clearly visible during the interview (I’m an art and English teacher)!

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  180. I’m probably in the minority but as an employer, tattoos don’t bother me at all. I know several people who do consider it an issue, though, which I find unfortunate. Great post.

  181. Firstly, I liked your article. (:
    And personally, I think tattoos are amazing.. I don’t understand how people feel like it [ruins] a person’s body. On the contrary, it adds a little something, makes it more unique, more personal.
    I do think that getting a tattoo shouldn’t be taken lightly; after all, it is a permanent mark on your body. Currently, I plan on getting two tattoos. Having shared the news with a numerous amount of people, I’ve discovered that some of them really do look down on it. A few friends have advised me not to get any at all, bringing up the not-getting-hired excuse or some other nonsense, but it’s not like I want to go get my entire body marked up. If I study and work hard and am capable of being a professional at whatever my job is in the future, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be hired.
    Now, I have nothing against the full body tattoos or similar things; those kinds just aren’t for me. I want two small simple things that mean a lot to me and make up part of who I am.
    People shouldn’t judge someone based on whether he or she has tattoos or not. After all, like you said, it’s art. Beautiful body art full of meaning and individuality.
    And on a side note, I personally am positively absolutely in love with a guy who’s covered in all kinds of black tattoos. They’re all symbols, they’re all becoming, and without them, he wouldn’t be the same.
    All in all, if you want a tattoo that you know, years from now, you won’t regret getting, go for it. And don’t let anyone convince otherwise. It’s your body, your life, your art, your freedom of expression.

  182. I also think tattoos are a personal thing and have 3 myself, but speaking for the people in my city, Sydney Australia its become a fashion fad no more meaningful to people than the iphone its just another thing for people to be hip. I read an interview of young people saying they got tattoos “because all my friends had them” and I think this is steadily devaluing the meaning of others body art. The lack of time and thought spent on deciding on these permanent changes is also a concern with young men and women often getting them while drunk. I appreciate your post and hope people will take more time and consideration in the future before committing to their tattoos.

  183. this is such a great article. so true about the stigma with the older folk. i have a huge koi on my forearm to commemorate the overcoming of some really hard obstacles thrown at my in life. most people like it (even some old folk) because it’s done pretty well with vivid pretty colors so i guess its not as threatening to others lol. i miss having all my facial piercings, though. i think they might have more of a stigma than tattoos!

  184. When I was younger, I didn’t like tattoos but lately I met some people who made me change my view on tattoos. I still don’t think I will ever have the guts to get a real tattoo but now I think tattoos are cool because it’s a special form of art and for every tattooed person there’s a unique story that goes with his/her tattoo.

  185. I have tattoos on my left arm and I’ve been hiding them from my parents and sisters for almost two years (I had my first tattoo July2009). I think I have to let them know soon. I could be happier if I’m not always wearing long sleeves at home even the weather is hot. Thanks for the words Kaelah!

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  187. AMEN!! Great post, and congrat on Freshly pressed 🙂 I will be back…

  188. Nice nice. Tattoo is alway a special genre of art.

  189. Well said! enjoyed reading 🙂

  190. Enjoyed reading 🙂 Thanks! I have one small tattoo that I got years ago. Proud of it. My mother, not so much.

  191. My husband thinks i have scared my body with getting tattoos, but as close as we are he could never understand. I got my last one about a year ago and my kids (for the first time) saw me leave the house without it and come home 2 hours later with it. They were completely fascinated by it and they all try and guess what the latest one looks like. My 4 year old said at the beach the other day “Mum, your tattoo is a stingray!” (after seeing one on the sand). I hope they feel strongly enough about something to document or commemorate it with a tattoo, as that is what i have done.

  192. I think it’s also cultural. Nowadays in westerner countries, no one really thinks about tattoos as a sign of bad life, delinquency or other happy things. Your article is great, and I will show that to my mom, who had to accept my younger sister’s tatoo after seeing it by accident…

    We’re actually Asians, and in the Far East, having a tatoo is a sign of forming a part of the many mafias there. But I don’t think it makes you a bad person either. I went to a friend of mine back home on a cold, humid day of rain season, and met her family. They were wonderful, the father was nice, funny, they were music lover, and all very cultured. I came back once in the dry season, and the father was playing in the veranda with his granddaughter, and I could see his many tattoos on the arms and chest. But those people in Asia are scared and stigmatised…

    A south american friend of mine told me his tatoos are the story of his life, and that people in Bolivia also did the same.

    Some places in the world took tatoos as a normal thing, like the Maoris! They never made such a big deal about being tatooed!

    I thought about getting one, but I have the cancer gene in my family, so I want to avoid it! With regret though!

  193. I got my first tat in Feb after years of trying to figure out the right design. My boyfriend has 5 and my closest friend is close on covered head to foot in them. Both of them got their tat’s because of the huge amount of meaning in the artwork to them.

    I admit I think it’s completely ridiculous when people were on the radio saying people such as doctors shouldn’t have tat’s. It’s their body to do with as they please, particularly if said artwork is covered by longsleeved shirts etc. They’re an expression of self and a rite – they hurt like hell; but going through that pain just adds to the meaning.

  194. Great post! As I tattooed girl, I get pretty sick of the whole feminity argument. It just so happens that all 3 of my large tattoos are very feminine – flowers/birds/an image of a beautiful woman – I think tattoos can be very feminine. I think we’re starting to lose the misconceptions about girls having tats – it’s quite the norm now. Tattoo’s are beautiful bodily additions that allow us to represent who we are. Your point about jobs who look down on them is absolutely true – why would you want to work for that kinda company – I hate that ridiculousness.
    I’m a traveller/tattoo lover, check out my post on Travel Tattoos:
    Love your blog!
    Em x

  195. Very nice article though…

  196. Tattoos are alright if they’re not obsessive,but there are far to many who’ve taken tattooing to extreme hideousness and totally disfigure their bodies with them. Moderation is better than obsession.

  197. Thank you for this! True words that should be read all over the world by people with prejudices on tattoos.
    Cheers from Sweden from a heavily tattooed yet very normal person!

  198. .,i think that when you have a tattoo your just expressing yourself…and i like it though but it’s not one of my interest now maybe when i get a lil bit older i’ll have one : )

  199. wow….. awesome, nice thread,
    i positively agree with you, i have tatto’s too.
    see, human without tatto’s like skies without stars.
    and tatto is not a crime.
    it is art.
    wkwkwkwkwwkkk… 😀
    nice blog Kendall…

  200. Awesome post! May I just add how I think not all tattoos have to come with an interesting story or a profound significance behind them. I just think that the art of tattoos, just like any other art, is meant to be appreciated no matter how silly they may seem to one’s standards.

  201. Very good article – amazing. Well done.
    I believe tattos are art. I don’t have any yet as my parents would not be pleased ! …

  202. inking is something that’s always on my mind too, just that I couldn’t seem to find an image so strong to me personally that I want it on my body.

  203. Stephen S. Mack

    I’m rapidly turning 70 (July 7th, to be exact), and I’ve never thought of tattoos in a negative light. Our late son had several. But what I want to know is, why would you put it on your back, unless you’d run out of room in front? If I were to get a tattoo, I would put it where I could admire it from time to time. I’ve told more than one person if I were to get one, it would be of a fully-rigged clipper ship, with a “bone in her teeth”, beating to windward. It would be on my chest and belly, but upside down and foreshortened (perspective), so I could enjoy it the most!

    Just a thought.

    With best regards,


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  206. Awesome article and awesome photos! I’ve a sanskrit tattoo on my left wrist, it’s pretty subtle even though it’s so obvious! It goes pretty well at the organic food store I work in, and as a massage therapist. I know in the direction I’m heading I’ll never have a problem! It was a concern when I was contemplating getting inked though, and I can imagine it’d be a bit of a mission for alot of you in more conservative type work environments!
    They’re awesome conversation starters too XD

  207. I can honestly say that since I had my tattoos done I have never felt more complete… and as for being unemployable, what a load of rubbish!
    Thanks for confirming what I already believed 🙂

  208. i will never get a tattoo for the simple reason that I cannot choose 1,2 or even 3 designs that I want forever-theres just so many!So I get henna done, so that I can still chop and change and whatever I have means something to me at that point in time. Tattoo designs are stunningly beautiful when done right:i often copy them and incorporate them into my other art,or just sketch the ones I like onto my things 🙂

  209. I don’t mind people having tattoos on them. It’s true that individual with tattoos should not be considered as bad people. Sometimes, we need to accept and respect their decision in owning tattoos. But for me, I never had an intention in having one of those but that doesn’t mean that I hate it. The reason I’m saying these because there are lots of ways you can do to express your artistic or so-called beauty. God give us a soul and lend us a body made from the Earth. I’m a person who believes in the existence of God. Our body is merely a vessel to live and walk on this Earth. My question is, shouldn’t you return something that was lent to you in good condition ?

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  211. Wonderfully written and well-argued, with much clarity and insight. I really like the first photograph. And the tattoo in the third.

    In case you’re interested, here’s my post on tattoos:
    It has some really great tattoos, very interestingly photographed ^_^

  212. might anyone know a very talented tattoo artist in amsterdam?

  213. This is a great read!! I have many tattoos and, because I am employed in the financial field, I am very limited as to where my ink can be placed. I finally broke the seal last year and had my first piece placed visibly below the cut-off for a t-shirt sleeve, and I LOVE to wear sleeveless.
    My favorite conversation was when my Husband and I were at our bridal shower and his God-Mother asked me if I was actually going to let my tattoos show (my back is covered with assorted adornments) and when I told her “Yes. Not only is he marrying me, but my tattoos are a part of me, and I am proud of them.” While she acquiesced and accepted this as fact, she still muttered (that day and throughout the wedding) “Well, I just don’t see why they ALL* have to be shown. It’s a holy day and it should be respected.”
    It’s been 4 years and, of course, I have added more to my collection. But I still enjoy going back to my wedding album on fb and reading the comments, specifically the ones where people tell me I am brave because they weren’t allowed to show theirs.
    (*ps…not ALL of them were shown. I DID wear a wedding dress, after all)

  214. This expresses a viewpoint very close to my own. I am so very glad to be part of a generation that is generally accepting of alteration of the self in all ways. I have no tattoo pieces thus far, just piercings, but extensive work is hopefully in my future as medical and financial obstacles are surmounted.

  215. I’m stuck on the social stigma everyday. A struggle inside too about the social stigma. I don’t want to care about what people think of me and if I have a tattoo- visible or not- but something is so vehemently keeping me in that place- it’s hard to describe. I have so many ideas for what I could get, and would want to get right now- but again… that little feeling that I shouldn’t. Regret?

    I agree- no personality change, no ruining. My mom is actually totally cool with it- my younger sister got one on her 18th birthday. It’s just that warfare inside of me. Who knows-

    (love the blog btw :), great work- subscribing…. now!)

  216. I am the absolute opposite of a hoodlum, but I’ve always wanted a tattoo! I love them; I think it’s one’s way of expressing one’s self.

    Nice photos!

  217. i want a tatoo on me nut my mom says a BIG NO for it… wellll wud still manage 2 gget 1 soon…. awsm post by the way

  218. My husband and I got our first tattoos together for Valentine’s day one year. Each has special meaning to us, even if our tattoos mean nothing to each other. Mine is a hawk, for my name; his is a wolf, for his name. While the tattoos themselves are lovely, we will be adding to them to create beautiful works of art. So far, the only person who’s had a problem with it is my 70-year-old grandmother. 🙂 She still loves us!

    In the work force, I’m joining the ranks of people who are in my generation -the new one where tattoo-hiding is a thing of the past. However, one tattoo is cloaked by clothing and the other can be hidden by my hair. 🙂

    Beautiful post!

  219. I am what I think is probably considered middle aged, 44. I am in the middle about the older generation of tattoo stigma. What I believe is that when you have to look to see the real person you see no physical traits of beauty or ugliness, you see the person. I am respectfully employed with a respectable 6 figure income and I have tattoos, visibly on my neck and wrist and not so visibly elsewhere. Getting my next one on Friday and it will be partial sleeve and visible when I want it to be. Cheers to you and thank you for turning me on to Tatto Tuesdays!! Congrats on Freshed Pressed!!

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  221. I got a tattoo (in a very private spot) when I turned 18 many years ago. I got it for $75 from a guy named Jed in 1989. I didn’t do any research. I just knew I wasn’t leaving the studio without one. My slightly lopsided tattoo makes me remember my 20s, and reminds being imperfect is okay. Every time I pull my clothes on I think to myself, “While I may appear to be perfectly put together much of the time, I’m not perfect.” I think that holds true for nearly everyone.

    On an unrelated note, my tat became something unexpected for the person with whom I was intimate to “discover,” and hopefully be surprised by and enjoy. Men never expected someone like me to have a tattoo. I liked that. Now everyone has them. Most tattoos are far more beautiful than mine. Some are stunning works of art, but I’m kind of glad that when I did it, they were more rare.

  222. Hi I read this and well first nice meeting you and second i have just 2 tattoos one in my right and left leg one I have my daughter name and the other a tribal,yeah I feel weird having them cause everyone just stareds at you and especially if u go to church,But I learned that everyone that has one tells their own story and are especial in their own way.I would not change that at all and possibly thinking of doing another one..Thanks for writting this post nice to know people are there to understand you in having tattoos.

  223. Hey, nice images – maybe i could show them on my german blog…? greetz//kavang

  224. I wish you had a share button for twitter! xx

  225. Great post! And what an amazing amount of replies! You have definitely touched on something close to many people. What a range of responses, from those who have tattoos and there reasons to those who don’t. And so many people want to tell why they have one. Like you said many people have tattoos for a personal reason. It is different from ear piercing because you have to choose something that you like or that has meaning, not just a stud you can change.

    I got one in my early twenties, a lizard because my name is Liz and people called me lizard. After twenty years it looks more like a Gila monster 🙂 , but that doesn’t stop my youngest from calling it “Lizzy” and throwing talcum powder on it after I shower!

  226. Now I find it strange that when I got my first two tats, I never even thought of not getting employed (in the corporate world) because I have tattoos. It must’ve completely slipped my mind or I never really cared about what future employers might think about me being tattooed. 😛

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  228. Cool post and yes, a tattoo is one art that is interesting to look at. Do you know the word tattoo is originally a Polynesian word?

  229. I love the look and the idea of tattoos. My only concern is blood-borne disease from tattoo needles and inks.

  230. Great pics – some really different stuff!

  231. Love these tattoos. My flat mate in uni, has a dream catcher on her back its amazing.
    I want two doves on my back, I currently have none and Iv always been obsessed.


  232. I have a tat, but I also feel many young people that tat-up themselves will live to regret the excess. Like it or not, most of us evolve as we age. Our likes/dislikes change. One day, we may “grow up” and want to earn a real income to provide for our families and whether or not we think it’s fair, it’s a fact that at least right now, being covered in tats is a hinderance to employment in a position that allows for significant income. This is not always the case, this I understand. Young people don’t think down the road and how something so permanent like a tattoo can alter their ability to earn a good income later in life… I’ve seen it happen first hand…My father got tatted up while in the Navy when he was 20…then working in banking, having to cover them up all the time, he finally went through laser treatment to have them removed…this was years ago and was the only treatment at the time… he isn’t the only example and I fear there are going to be many many more as young people grow up and mature… again, not all of them, but I’d go as far as to say “many” of them… My sole tat is on my upper back and easy to conceal…and was done intentionally…after finally finding that one image that represented something worth “saying”

  233. A nice post. I don’t have any tattoos and i don’t plan on getting any. That said, i do belive that they are an artform and enjoy them on others. (Perhaps i’m too much of a feardy cat. 🙂 )

    I think it’s fair to say that most peoples attitudes toward the tattoo has changed somewhat over the last few years.

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  236. hushhushaffair

    Over here in Germany there’s a young lady with tattoos all over her body moderating some shows on television. She celebrates this look with such a confidence that everyone loves her now.
    So because of these young people it’s no longer a question if tattoos are exceptable or not.

  237. Tattoed people are just like you and me nowadays. Everyone has one.

  238. I will admit that the only reason I got inked was because I think they look cool. Although each one I have does remind me of certain points in my life that is not my main reason for getting them. My body is constantly a ‘work in progress’ and will not be finished until I am satisfied I am done – that’s not to say I’ll be covered by the time I’m finished but it’s also not to say I won’t.
    My dear old Mum was a bit worried when I got my first ‘biggie’ on the top of my arm but is ok now she has a couple of small tattoos herself. It’s my Nan that shakes her head when I tell her I’m moving onto my chest after finishing off my right arm as a full sleeve (to balance out my left which is already done).
    Tattoos only have the stigma because it only really used to be sailors and cons that used to have them. Those times are long gone to such an extent that they are hardly even seen as rebellious by younger generations.

  239. Great read…tattoo I think is readily acceptable these days…not like it was say 30 years ago when most people who were tattooed were placed into 3 groups…bikers…sailors or ex-cons…I’ve spent the last 20 years getting tattoo and changed the traditional family portrait day into…”Family tattoo day”…sure photographs have some degree of permanence….but nothing says forever like ink…and the whole job notion…if tattoo keeps you from the job…you don’t really want to work there…great photos as well…

  240. Top !!!!!, good jop 🙂

  241. Yes! Let your freak flag fly high in the sky every day. If people don’t like it, fuck ’em.

  242. I’ve never gotten a tattoo and don’t think I ever will. Alot of my friends are really into the tattoo culture but I don’t get it

  243. Wow this is the best blog i read about tattoo. I was afraid to have one but considering it for almost 4 years now. I will definatly going to have one now. Thank you for making it easier and the enlightenment.

  244. love this. well said and gorgeous photos

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  246. I agree. I have 13 tattoos and people always ask me these questions..Why? How are you able to work? How can your children take you seriously? Answer: because I have always been a stereotype and I like to debunk the stereotypes. My employer has no dress code so I am good with that and yes, my children do take me seriously. I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs but I do get tat’s. Just because I have tattoo’s doesn’t mean I cant discipline, pay bills, work or love. I love art and every tattoo I have there is a meaning. My art, tells my story.

  247. I do have fascinated with tattoos and applause those who have them. I can’t imagine the pain though. Although I kinda want one, I’m too scared to have them. But I guess, whether you want to have it or not, must come from yourself. Don’t get a tattoo so it would look cool or because everyone is doing it or because you want to get the same tattoo like your friend. Your body, your responsible.

  248. I truely love the expression of vivid colors that was use to create the deepth detailing of the artwork on the artist behalf. Awesome , Tattos !

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  250. Being an oldtimer I pity the tattooed crowd and have a derogatory collection of adjectives for them; exhibitionist, shortsighted, juvenile…THEY are the lower class, WE do not tattoo ourselves.
    Having said this, I admit having one, in my left armpit, a B for my blood type, which I got in a bygone era, in my childhood. I kind of like it, makes me feel a secret member of the redneck class.

  251. I like like this article. And I like good artwork on good people. That is all.

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  253. very well stated. thank you.

  254. I have a few small tattoos of my own with plans for a few more. I’m working on making the jump to obvious tattoos. My others are mostly hidden. I spend a lot of time thinking about my ink and I’m glad people are able to be more expressive with their own.
    My only problem is that when I stare at others’ tattoos, I hope they know I’m appreciating the art and not judging them. 😉

  255. let me add a few things:
    1. i haven’t been able to navigate away from this post. it’s really nice.
    2. i’ve reposted it everywhere that i possibly can.
    3. i applaud you.

  256. Thank you for sharing this post, Kendall! Loved it. I wish I had had it around when I was debating how to tell my mom about wanting mine, but luckily she understood exactly this message and even went with me to the tattoo parlour! Congrats on freshly pressed. 🙂

  257. You’ll never change some peoples viewpoints when it comes to tattoos. Only time & persistence will change the viewpoint of a culture at large.

    I’ve thought about getting a tattoo from time to time. What holds me back is the vast number of people I have met who have one but wished they had chosen something else years later. I’d be the same.

    If I were to ever break down & get one — shouting down my mother’s voice in my head as I did it — it would be something nondescript. A piece of tribal art that could be hidden for work and revealed at my leisure would be something I’d choose for myself.

  258. I’m new to blogging and like visiting the more interesting sites. Yours caught my eye because my daughter is a fan of tattooing and piercing, and I feel she’s going overboard. I will admit that I am probably a bit old-fashioned in some respects, although I don’t consider myself prudish, but enough is enough.

    I totally get your point of view, and I do like tattoos although I don’t have any myself (mainly because my skin breaks out easily and I’m afraid a really cool tattoo will end up looking like some gross, mushroomy scab), but I do think that it can become too much, regardless of how acceptable tattoos have become. After a certain point, it just becomes so much clutter; there’s too much going to be able to appreciate the artwork. Besides, it’s a bit awkward trying to approach a perfect stranger and start closely admiring/examining their myriad tattoos.

    Also, tats are definitely for the more independent, free-spirited, non-conformist creatives among us, and I feel that this avenue of expression has become homogenized, which is my #1 complaint about the growing popularity of getting tattooed. However, I remain a cautious fan of this expressive medium.

  259. I saw a lady yesterday in Basel, Switzerland as she crossed the street in front of our store. I only saw her from the back. She had on a comfortable looking skirt. I don’t remember the color of her dress, but I do remember a fabulous rose and stem tatooed onto the back of her calf. Stunning!

  260. Really good post! Its a hard one to call though because half the time employers wouldn’t mind the idea of tattoos, but others still insist in them being covered. I don’t see the harm in them. They can be beautiful and can carry such meaning for a person. How can you tell someone to hide something that is incredibly symbolic and important? It is almost like telling someone to hide a part of their soul!

  261. I am twenty-seven and recently just got my first tattoo. For a long time, I had loved tattoos but couldn’t really envision myself getting one. Primarily because my significant other had made it clear that I would be deemed ugly and yes, ruining my body. BUT no longer around, and I love me more and more. When I finally made the decision to get my tattoo, it was truly an experience just for me and I loved the process.

  262. YES! I am a teacher and have 4 tattoos, up to 3 of which can be visible on any school day… rock on!

    I actually spent some time hiding one on the front of my shoulder for a while, knowing my principal isn’t too fond of tattoos – but last summer it was just too HOT! When I past her is the hallway wearing my sleeveless dress, even she couldn’t help but compliment it 🙂

  263. Pingback: Response to “Tattoos: A 21st Century Perspective” « Blogtastic

  264. I think people get tats for different reasons and generalizing them is just as bad as generalizing those who generalize them 🙂

  265. disturbedprincess

    Ahgreed! I want a tattoo but I hate needles 😦

  266. Pingback: The definition of me: | CollectiveDisclosure

  267. Very well put.

    My parents were not too thrilled when I got a tattoo. But I kept reminding them that getting this done will not change who I am as an individual- in addition to the fact that I am an adult and can make my own decisions.

    I want to get more that are more visible than the ones I have, but I’m continuously being told about the difficulty of finding a job. Even if it’s a generational thing, the older folks need to learn to look past them.

  268. When I was young, I like to think that they are symbols of being bad and rebellious. Now, I don’t generalize anymore since I find some are works of art. Though some still get me wary like if it is a gang or prison tattoo.

    Cheers to your post!

  269. I guess I’m part of that older generation. I’ve had conversations with people who have a lot of tattoos, though, and found them really interesting. The big reason I don’t think getting tons of tattoos is a good idea (a discrete one in a hidden area is, to me, different) is that (a) I’ve seen older people with lots of tattoos and they look horrible. Saggy and baggy and just not attractive. (b) when you commemorate something early in your life, you don’t really understand how much your life will change. How much that thing that’s so important to you now will be utterly insignificant in 10-20-30 years. It’s perspective, and the young don’t generally have it.

    However, I think you’re right that as your generation gets older, tattoos will lose their negative connotations. But by then they’ll be starting to look saggy and baggy and you’ll all have to figure out how to deal with it!

  270. I am 31 years old, and have been involved with the punk rock subculture for about 16 years. I mention that only because when I first became aware of tattoos, I was part of a social scene that saw them as somewhat of a right of passage, whereas the majority of society held the opinion, which you mention, that tattoos mean you are a bad person. In fact, that was one major reason that many punks had tattoos, so they could mark themselves as outsiders; or, simply to be offensive. Well, in the short time since then, I think that American society has come nearly full circle on that opinion, especially as it concerns people of my generation and younger. Nowadays, it feels very much as though it is more rebellious, strange and unique to refrain from getting yourself tattooed. I find that very humorous, indeed.
    I myself have never desired to have tattoos, and frankly, the vast majority of the thousands of tattoos which I have seen over the years, while they may have had some artistic merit, or even some deep personal meaning to the bearer, where, in my opinion, ugly as hell. I also think that it is very worthwhile to point out that many people get tattoos for the express reason (whether they choose to admit it, or not) of showing those tattoos to other people. In other words, insecure people who think that they have little worth as they naturally are get tattoos to try to improve their own self-image, and to alter the way that they are perceived by others. I firmly believe that most people get most of their tattoos in a vain attempt to be cool. The hilarious part of all that, is that unlike fashionable clothes or hairstyles, which can easily be changed and forgotten about, tattoos are permanent. So, when people no longer look at tattoos with the rose-colored glasses of “this is something that cool people do, so therefore this tattoo is cool”, all of you will just be left with permanent, hideous and expensive scars that will continue to pay you dividends in shame and regret for the rest of your lives.
    I, for one, am reserving the right to say “i told you so” in the nursing home.

  271. I think the best way to “Utilize” tattoos, are by making them a dedicated memory to something you don’t want to forget, even if your life changes drastically. Beating cancer, comes to mind. Something that’s positive, or has a positive effect.

    In the same sense, I feel like a lot (a LOT!) of people are getting too many tattoos at an early age, often not meaning a whole lot, or not being very personal (i.e. “it’s my love for music symbolized in this flower the size of my forehead”). But, in the end it’s up to the individual, and I respect the determination it takes to get one or several done.


  272. Well written, I feel like times are definitely a changing, as someone who just got their first tattoo a few weeks ago, people had the opposite reaction, it has become a rite of passage I believe for most, you get older and you get a tattoo somewhere between 18 and 21.

    I hope that the stigma starts slowing ebbing away for people who choose to get full body work done or tattoos that are constantly visible.

    We’ll see.

  273. i think i love beautiful tattoos 😀

  274. Love it. Well said, well written.

  275. I am in to tattoos also.. but I don’t have yet.. I wanted to but I cant because of work… But I’m planning to get one when I go home for vacation this year.. Can you suggest some designs?

  276. Pingback: Tattoos: A 21st Century Perspective. (via ) | Ajitox

  277. Hi,
    I am a totally live and let live person and though on the wrong side of 50 pretty cool about tattoos and stuff like that. But I do know one thing I would not like to be stuck with a permanent tattoo as I love change and what I like today may not be the same tomorrow. So from time to time I’ve put on the smaller tattoos that I can wash off.

  278. I have a tattoo on my back, and it’s a sort of tribal design, and it drives me mad when people ask what it means. It doesn’t “mean” anything, it’s just another form of art.

    Also when it comes to tats, for me arms, legs chest are strictly off limit, that way if I hate them when I’m older, it’s fine because I’ll never really have to look at them.

  279. Nice post, Kendall.

    Being a ‘tattooed woman’, I just always want to say ‘who the f°+$@ cares?’
    Don’t like it, don’t do it.
    Don’t like what you see, don’t look!
    I’m not walking around juding people on their breast implants or botox injections. The world, and its views on tattoos, is modernizing. If you ask me, the more unfortunate thing is beautiful, young, 20 year old girls with holes in their ears the size of quarters. I’d much rather look at a portable art gallery on someone’s skin, than a saggy cat-butt hole effect on a supple ear. As far as the work subject…if the employer thinks that one’s personal choices of expression affect their work ethic, they are obviously sheltered.
    Either way, nice post Kendall. It’s people like you that bring light a such a (un-necessarily) controversial subject that helps bloom the over-all mentality and open up minds.

    Keep on!
    Masha Victoria

  280. ps .. people get the tattoos they deserve. Haha. If someone looks a little ‘cluttered’, well they just might have bad taste in decor. 😉 Less is more.

  281. I m literally scared of tattoos… 😦 just can’t imagine the pain..

  282. Well written! I had always planned to get a tattoo on my 25th birthday as a way to commemorate the changes in my life. Tattoos can be more than just art, they can serve as a way to heal though sometimes it maybe difficult to explain that. I enjoyed reading your post. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  283. Tats! does it hurts? ow

  284. great tattoo!great person!haha.
    cuz,everytime i see person with a beautiful tattoo,i thought that he/she must be rich since a nice looking tattoo is expensive.

  285. diarmuidotuairisg

    im in the middle of gettin a back piece done i love it but i like the fack that i can hide it as well to look at me u would never think that i have one witch is gas 🙂

  286. Pingback: Tattoos: A 21st Century Perspective. (via ) | kingbhat

  287. Great article! Tattoos are nice and typically has a symbolic meaning to that person… For me, I value music and its been 6 years since I’ve had the chance to do more recording -never knew if I’d get that chance again- So I got 2 music related tattoos on my arm, thankfully I have more time on my hands so I’m back to recording music as of 1 month ago, and I plan to get 2 more tattoos..

  288. Congrats on being freshly pressed! I love tattoos and have always wanted one, essentially the only thing stopping me is finding a design that has meaning to me. I think they can be beautiful in moderation – but that’s me. Great post!

  289. Do you think that the no-tattoo requirement will change quickly or do you think some will hold onto tradition despite their better reasoning, or without thinking? Reminds me of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and the strange things we do because we think the people who implemented the rules are wiser than us. Nice pictures of well-chosen examples!

  290. this is one of troubles I have been thinking for long time. I wanna get a tattoo to remember a period time of my life to remind myself that I were. Thanks a thoughtful article. like it !

  291. surely tattoos will only get credibility when they are recognized for the history, artistic quality, and personal dedication that they represent and cease to be ‘celebrity’ tags.
    As has been said more than once, we who wear tattoos do not treat with suspicion those who do not.

    good luck to you
    62 and proud of my art.

  292. Wonderful post, thank you for sharing, I can appreciate the art of tattoos, I also believe that yes, people can be employeed with tattoos, as I know many people who are. However, most of the people I know who have tats have them in stratigic places, can be covered by clothes, pants, shirts. Having your face tattooed, not really a smart move, and yes I know pleanty of people who have tats on their face, neck and hands. People can be descriminated against for many reasons, don’t let your tattoos be one of those reasons, because that is not a “protected” group. I do like the pictures you have chosen. Very nice, thank you for sharing.

  293. Of course they hurt!!
    …not forever, though, if you do your research and find a decent artist.

  294. Pingback: Tattoos: A 21st Century Perspective. (via ) | Ajitox

  295. I have to say I was sort of drawn to the taboo and attention garnished by getting a tattoo when I got mine and I had so many thoughts like “how much will it hurt” and “can I get a good quality tattoo that I’ll be happy about without spending an arm and a leg” and then I also had the misconception about tattoo artists that they were a bunch of grungy, skateboard punks or something lol but the tat I have is very special and symbolic to me and the artist that did my tat took great pride in doing a good job im proud to display his work, if I could have afforded it id have payed double what I was charged and you know it’s like you said your personality doesn’t do a complete 180 when you get one I’ve known people for years that have tats I even dated a girl once that had quite a few it’s like being introduced to a new level of art and culture

  296. I feel that tattoos are so mainstream now it’s not really that big of a deal. In fact, I kind of feel not so normal not having any tattoos. haha. I just don’t want to be the little old lady in a nursing home with a blob of ink all sagged out wondering what the heck that was in my earlier day.

  297. Great post! I have tattoos, but people are ALWAYS surprised when they notice that, since I’m not the ‘tattoo-type’. I think it’s funny and cool that I can remind people of how not all tattooed people are scum or low-educated or whatever stigma they think we all are. 🙂

  298. The art of human expression through ink. Very creative and intuitive. Great pics by the way.

  299. Hey, just wanted to say that your post really spoke to me. I am going to get my first tattoo soon. I was supposed to get it yesterday and the guy didn’t have time. This is the 2nd time I have tried to get a tattoo and I was almost ready to give up on the whole idea. However, I love tattoos, not sure if I will like the pain, but still love tattoos. People say that the body is a temple. Whenever I tell someone that I’m going to get a tattoo they respond with “Your body is a temple!” Most temples have some paintings and designs. Achaeologists and Anthropologists look at the designs and paintings on a temple to tell what the temple was for. A tattoo is something that defines someone. Anyways, I’m rambling. I loved your post. Have a great day!

  300. I think most tattoos are absolutely stunning, especially when they are really vibrant and bright!
    stop by and say hi


  301. I think tattoos show the person is a modern era so nice post to grow up the tattoos fashion.

  302. I find looking at tattoos amusing 🙂

  303. Really good post!

    I have a few small pieces already…I want to get one on my neck but a couple of my friends have really freaked out about it, people who I honestly expected to be more open-minded. They have raised the “how will you get a job” issue, and I agree with you completely – if a prospective employer is going to judge me from art on my body, then I am not likely to be very happy working for that sort of place anyway.

    This entry has really given me the kick in the pants to go ahead and do it! Thanks! 🙂

  304. Pingback: Tattoos: A 21st Century Perspective. (via ) « Laura Barbosa's Heart of Art Blog

  305. It’s an appearance thing. It’s like going to work in torn jeans, studded belt and a tight tee when a suit and tie is required. Companies have an image they subscribe too just as we do. When getting a tattoo you have to consider that. All my tattoos are hidden while wearing a tie and long sleeved shirt. I understand tattoos are not always appropriate especially in the oil and gas industry. So I am mindful of that when getting a new tattoo. There is a reason people generally keep their hands, neck and face tattoo free! This is also what appeals to these parts of the body as its considered bold to get ink there. As long as you are smart about it there is no reason as to why a tattoo will cause any trouble at work.

  306. Pingback: My First Tattoo «

  307. I recently just got my first tattoo and I love this post! thanks 😉

  308. Tattoos are a great way to express yourself! I have just had my second one finished, with plans for a few more.

  309. Pingback: More Words… | bonkiebitgarp

  310. Tattoos are more than just ink. I recently had one to symbolize difficult times and the marking that i’m moving on. I know some people though who have gotten tattoos at the age of like 13, and it now means absolutely nothing to them. Tattoos are great if you can look at them everyday and be reminded of something, and people shouldn’t discriminate because of that.

    Great post!

  311. You are so right. I love this post, really. Read it all, and I’m from Denmark so it was a big challenge.. But in the end, it was soooo worth it! Fantastic post. I’m thinking of getting a tatoo my self in about 3-4 years.. (I’m only 15 now, so..) My i was thinking something like the first picture you’ve got. A dreamcatcher, only in a smaller version behind my ear. But anyway, great post!

  312. Nicely stated, and i love the fact that you included a picture of a Joy Division tat.

    i’ve always been amazed by people who feel such kinship with a artist or band as to permanently etch their fandom into their physique.

    Personally speaking, my permanent etching of fan dedication is a Godzilla 🙂

  313. Hi,

    Thank you for this, it really touched my heart as someone with tattoos!! I really dislike being judged, I mean, really how is this still happening in our generation??

  314. Can I just say what a comfort to discover somebody that truly knows what they are talking about on the internet. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people should read this and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular because you certainly possess the gift.

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