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Submitted on
July 29, 2011


9,145 (2 today)
88 (who?)

The Committed Canvas

Journal Entry: Fri Jul 29, 2011, 5:09 PM

Tattooing has existed since the very beginnings of Neolithic human expression and has since those ancient beginnings continued to be a reliable flash indicator of personality type.  There are those people who get tattoos and there those people who simply do not.  Even though the social opprobrium for getting inked has greatly disappeared in recent years, and even though skin art has become almost boringly de rigueur amongst rock guitarists and other entertainers, there is still one element that separates the tattooed from the non-tattooed in terms of artistic appreciation: commitment.

Tattoos may be the first “interactive” art form.  The art lover doesn’t just buy an artist’s artwork – he or she becomes one with artwork, he or she commits to becoming a living canvas for the artwork, he or she, by choosing the tattoo to be borne forever, shares authorship with the tattoo artist of the artwork.  That’s what makes the art of the tattoo so endlessly compelling.  It is at once a social statement and a personal identifier as well as a work of stand alone art by the tattoo artist.  The “collector” of this art is more intimately involved in its care and advocacy than any museum curator, personally “owning” this art in a way far more intense than hanging a canvas on a wall.

My Questions for the ReaderHelp Me Write the Article

  1. Which author is more important in the tattooing of the body - the tattoo artists or the one to become the living canvas?
  2. Do you consider tattoo art to be the first “interactive” artform?
  3. How would you describe the unique relationship between tattoo artist and the person being tattooed?

dragon tattoo by embrace24
Mask Art on Skin by katrinapallon
spinal wings by Phedre1985
tattoo head by oczio

I am preparing a deeper look into this ancient and most beautiful art form. I  will further explore the concepts outlined above and also include in depth interviews with some of dA’s most prominent tattoo artists.  Please let me know if you have any thoughts, direction, or specific deviants you feel should be considered as I prepare the article.




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ACARRIELART Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
isso o que eu chamo levar a ARTE na pele.
DarkLordsDaughter Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I wouldn't say it was just 'commitment' that separates tattooed from non-tattooed.
I'd like a tattoo, but my pain threshold is appaling.
Plus I'd rather wait now and one day get something that means a lot rather than rush into it. While I've seen tattoo art that is beautiful in its own right, I've not yet seen anything that makes me say "That's me. I want that".
StarlingKia Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The pain thing is my reason for not getting one too. I just can't let me do something I know will cause me pain. I have my idea and I do want it but I am waiting for the right moment to get it. (And when I have enough courage.)
auntaggie Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2012
I just typed out a great long comment and the damned thing vanished.

I have been inked a number of times and I love them. I have spread the word about the artist, telling people he does great work, he's confident and competent.

I believe both share the importance. I am the living canvas.

The wearing of specially designed clothing is also a form of interactive artwork. Inking is more personal.

There is a unique relationship between the artist and whoever he/she is inking. They have laid their skin bare for him/her to work on.
CreepyBear Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm not even going to answer the questions.

Personally, I believe tattooing to be the most beautiful way of expressing yourself when done right. It's gorgeous, it's bold, and who wouldn't love to be a walking piece of art? I really want to be a tattoo artist when I'm old enough. Of course, I also want to be a canvas!
monkeylove93 Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
i my opinion, i believe that both the tattoer and the artist are equally important. they compliment one another, without the tattoer there would be no tattoo and without the person who wishes to be the canvas there would be no platform for the tattoer.
so they share a symbiotic relationship! what is art without appreciation or anyone to comprehend or acknowledge ones expression of their deepest thoughts and secrets??
LUCKY13XIII Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
bout time!!
KristenKorruption Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2011
I definitely think that it's the living canvas that is more important. Without a living canvas to work on, there would be no tattoo artist. The canvas so to speak is essential. Also, many tattoo artists wouldn't be inspired if it weren't for the people they're tattooing because most tattoos tell a story about a person. The tattoo is a part of the person and they're sharing their story with the person who is inking them with that tidbit of them for life.
devonthomas Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2011  Professional General Artist
great stuff.
sandscreen Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I think that it's difficult to make a real separate vote on how it's the most important autor or owner. I think it's as on a recipe of a tasteful cake : the sugar taste good and the chocolate too by separate but when you mix it together the result will be awesome.
I think you need a kind of symbiosis between the artist and the living canvas. If the glance of the owner it's not clear and feelingful how can be the tattoo artist catch the right feeling to ink right. And at the same time if the tattoo artist have a bad perception of what you need he probably use the bad color tone or technical skill to ink you.
"Interactive artform" i want to say yex for the moment you wear your ink or you made a ink project with someone but i think it's more an Expressive artform. From the born of the first homo sapiens to today i really think that it's an Expressive artform!: to show to other which was your tribe, your clan, your past, your addiction, your thoughts. The interactive part was on the creation of the ink but after that it's more the expressive part we feel.
How kind of relationship we can have..... maybe you feel me weird but at this time i feel no special relatioship. I was inked twice and everytime i don't need to have a specific relatioship.'s not true. For every tattoo i wear i never find the right one to make me the right design.I made the design and color by myself and need a tattoo artist just for the mecanical part and i almost sure that if i had all the necessary stuff to ink i tried it by myself too.
But before you think i don't understand how it work: i'm a tattoo addict and i still hope to find the right one which can made the right tattoo for my next project. I think we need a real relationship between the inker and the owner a kind of old relationship and more important if we need various session to ink. We want a special feeling catched on the ink if we don't have the relationship i still search you probably finish inkedless or trying by yourself as me.
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