Tattoos on back and shoulder of pop star Justin Timberlake. Source: The Vanishing Tattoo.
History 20th Century Tattoos
Subcultural Tendencies Tattoos as Bricolage Summary & Bibliography

click on thumbnails below to see

The Tattoos:


The tattooed in the western world today include many people from various walks of life: they are doctors and they are skateboarders, they are artists and teachers, punks and bus drivers, lawyers, leather daddies, convicts, mothers, fathers, grandparents, gang members, professors, students, street performers and bikers. Tattoos today seem to cross all boundaries, cultural, political and socio-economic. The act of tattooing, one of but many forms of intentional body modification, has been enveloped by the mainstream into the popular culture of the new millennium. Tattoos have become contemporary symbols of western identity and individualism.

As elements of mainstream, consumer culture, tattoos today have essentially become fashionable art. Those that tattoo are ‘tattoo artists;’ those that get tattooed bear ‘skin art.’ This has not always been the case. The introduction of tattoos into popular culture has been a very recent phenomenon. Tattoos were once the exclusive domain of sailors, bikers, convicts and punks, and were considered, through the eyes of the mainstream, a deviant behaviour, a low culture. In fact, tattoos for most of the twentieth century in North America existed solely at the subcultural level.

Sit down in the chair. Breathe. Before we get started, learn a little about the History of tattoos.








'Under the Skin', Copyright 2004, Tony Hewer.