A Report on Tattoos

Doing time in a correctional facility or being a member of a gang (motorcycle to mafia); those are one of the many images that run through a person mind when they see tattoos. Even a little glimpse of what might be a one will render those thoughts in your mind.

“Around the early 1900’s work or tattoos were only done on military men,” stated Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand. A close friend and artist who has worked alongside Sailor Jerry. Sailor Jerry having such a huge impact on the industry now has sailor type art that is named after him, a brand of rum liquor called Sailor Jerry, and art featured on posters and signs.  “Shanghai Kate” explained that many of the sea bearers were only bold enough to come into the shop to get tattoos. It reminded them of friends that have passed in the war, commemorate the battles and memories of adventures, or  for superstitious reason.

Traditional Sailor Pig and Rooster

One of these tattoos that has an interesting superstition is a pig and a rooster. Placed on the feet, a rooster on one and a pig on the other would not immediately have a meaning to them unless you asked. These animals were thought to ward of the threat of drowning. This may have come about  because these were farm animals that were not fond of water and believed that they would find the quickest route to shore. Although not being very tough and a little weird a sailor would find comfort in these tattoos.

That is neither has a connotation of being in a gang or having served jail time (even though a lot of people in the military call it “serving time”, but for the government). It is of men who wanted to come home to see their family, their friends, and a lot of situations their girl who is waiting for them. Then where do we get these reminders that when we see tattoos they are bad.

What about other implication of certain tattoos. Like everything else there are fads that go into something. A few of the fads that were in the past were tribal tattoos, Chinese writing, the infamous barbwire tattoo bands, and lower back tattoos. So what happen to these fads? They have a connotation like other tattoos that stick to them: tribal and barbwire paints an image of a bigger or wanna be buff guys and just the name tramp stamp already tells you who usually gets them. This isn’t always true it’s it is just something that sticks to that types of ink.

In an idea that sticks, described by Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick, it is something: simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, with emotion, and carries a story.  How more portrayed is the stereotype of a big bulky male in his late 60’s long graying mustache with more stories than wrinkles not something that makes you say, “that guy has seen some stuff.”

A large part of regretting the tattoo that you get is because it was just well thought out or a “flash” tattoo. The art on the walls of shops or in catalogs are considered flash. They are there meant to inspire you and help the process in thinking of a good tattoo. They are a sheet with art that is drawn by any artist and is sold to many shops. But some people go without serious thought and choose something off the wall not realizing that there may be a lot of people with those generic tattoos.

But what if the permanent art you are wearing you don’t want to anymore, or you want a “change of clothes”. Many of us, who have friends with tattoos, happen to hear when they want to get a tattoo removed or covered up. That friend may regret for the reason they got the tattoo: name of a now ex-girlfriend, flash tattoos, wording in different language but doesn’t translate to what you wanted it to say, or the fact that it people first impressions of that tattoo are not what you want. Awkwardly enough you may hear those stories, but a poll by Harris-Interactive says that only 84% of people regret getting it. For what ever reason, only 18% of people now don’t like the tattoos they have.

Proportion of Tattoos

In more recent instances we may see tattoos on anyone from your local grade school teacher, people you work with everyday, and the family doctor. A report by the Food and Drug Administration estimated that as many as 45 million Americans have tattoos and from a Harris Interactive poll in 2003 36 percent of people 25 to 29 had at least one tattoo (Kwiatkowski). So it should not be surprising to see artwork on a person skin. Just think your art and your clothes are an expression of yourself; tattoos are art that you wear permanently.

Until we have an understanding of what the tattoo means to a person judgment and assumptions should be placed aside, and if you just ask I’m sure people are willing to share the history, meaning, or how much it means to the person.

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  • Comments (2)
    • Logan Hansen
    • March 15th, 2011

    Nicely put. There are lots of good ideas and lines hear, parts of therm did not flow very well: for instance the second paragraph, it states that people have work done, what work? and in the third para. “In movies of people stranded on a secluded island there always happen to be that wild pig that people chase …” it is very choppy and hard to understand even after the sum-time reading it. try to elaborate some more on these parts. and that will give a better understanding.

    Spelling needs to be better roster is rooster.

    on the whole this is a great paper. try and explain more in each paragraph on each idea help the reader to understand a little better.

  1. Great start! It comes across as trying to dispel stereotypes and give new ideas, which I think is great. The pig and rooster part was especially interesting going along with the background of tattoos being originally for sailors and why.

    To take it to the next level, give us more of what’s happening now. You have the stats about how many people have tattoos, but can you also tell us about the tattoo industry, like how much ink is used in the US in a year or how much money people spend on tattoos every year and how many people get tattoos removed and what the various reasons are for getting tattoos and how they compare to the sailors’ reasons. In short, tell me everything you can about what’s going on now. What are the trends? Are there certain tattoo images that become popular for a few years and then die off, like maybe tell me that mermaids came back in style in the ’90s but now it’s all about Chinese characters or something. I’d love to get lots more details!

    After that, just tidy up all the sentences, as Logan said, and make sure that everything belongs and makes sense. For example, the part about MADE TO STICK isn’t really working right now because I’m not sure how you’re tying it in, so either cut it or expound. 🙂

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