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.
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.