History 20th Century Tattoos
Subcultural Tendencies Tattoos as Bricolage Summary & Bibliography

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The Tattoos:

Punk Tattoos

Punk tattoos of the 1970’s through the 1990’s are part of a lexicon of highly visible signs and symbols of subcultural identity. Inspired by and very much like the punk scene that emerged from the Britain in the 1970’s, North American punk subculture epitomized social marginalization, hostile rebellion and protest; they manipulated their clothes, bodies and hairstyles as a form of self creation (Hewitt 1997:108, 115).

Punk tattoos are most frequently colourful and are located on highly visible parts of the body, including the head and face. Tattoo imagery is a mosaic of borrowed symbols and icons from various cultures and subcultures: skulls, dragons, Asian and tribal designs, biker elements, literal tattoos, anti-establishment tattoos, punk and music icons and animals.

Punks also importantly incorporated piercing and other forms of body modification into their subcultural lexicon. Vividly and implicitly displayed on the street and in public, these are the seeds of what would become both mainstream tattoo practices and the subculture that was to develop partially in reaction to the mainstream appropriation of tattooing and piercing: the neo-primitives.

Go on. Live a little. Consider a Neo-primitive tattoo.







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