Are tattoos still taboo?
Many have one, but is getting inked off limits?
It’s not surprising that many people walking down the street have a tattoo somewhere on their body. But just fifty years ago, tattoos were the watermark of rebels, social outcasts, bikers, sailors and carnival freaks.
In today’s society, it’s common that the average stay at home mom or sorority girl probably has a butterfly or an angel tattooed on their lower back or ankle.
A study conducted by the National Post puts our National average spent on tattoo’s at around, $1.65 billions dollars and the average tattoo is costing people around $150 dollars an hour and 21 per cent of Canadians have at least one tattoo.
“I have tattooed a lot of people, friends, family, chicks and dudes.” Tattoo artist Brock Ambrose said.
The most painful places to get tattooed are under the arms (triceps), behind the knees and the genital. The place where most men and women are being tattooed on the shoulders and upper back.
As for how the pain feels, veteran tattoo artist Matthew Ellis tried to describe the experience to his clients like “a cat’s scratch or a dull knife running along your skin.” But after 15 years he said that the pain has differed drastically between customers . He prefers to say, “a tattoo feels like a tattoo.”
So who’s getting inked these days? In a study conducted by Pew Research Center, 22 per cent of women and 26 per cent of men are tattooed. Fourty per cent of them are between the ages of 26-40.
“The oldest person I tattooed was a lady in her 70’s and she said that she had always wanted one, but her husband wouldn’t let her. She told me, ‘I’ve lived this long. Why shouldn’t I get one? He can’t leave me now,’” Ambrose said.
“It’s a hell of a lot harder to tattoo a 70-year-old than a 20-year-old, that’s for sure.”
But are tattoos really just becoming popular in the 21st century?
The oldest body found in glacial ice in the Otzal Alps that sits on the border between Italy and Austria was tattooed. His body was found with patterned lines and dots, leading a research team from the Swiss Mummy Project of the University of Zurich to believe that the tattoos of lines and dots were normally associated with acupressure, and was perhaps used as a primitive form of medicine.
As time has gone on throughout the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s, the trend of being tattooed grew immensely.
The Second World War saw the most growth in the tattooing industry as soldiers and sailors lined up to be inked. Now there is a resurgence of vintage tattoo art.
“I’m tattooing more and more vintage stuff. It’s killer. I have had some people come in with some amazing things,” Ambrose said.
Whether you are for or against tattoos, they are becoming increasingly more popular and it would not be unreasonable to expect many people will have them in the future.
After all, they are a passionate expression of our identity. They keep track of time, because sometimes things happen and you feel that you need to mark them down. If people are honest with themselves when getting a tattoo, it can represent more than any words can.