Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tattoo Artists

I've always been fascinated by people who choose to get tattoos, but I'm particularly awed when people literally use their skin as canvases for art. You've all probably seen the more popular shows LA Ink and Miami Ink and understand what I'm talking about: those people who come in looking to squeeze just one more inch of ink onto a patch of flesh.

I used to only really care about why people were doing it. Was it some personal tragedy that they wanted to honor and remember? Did it have to do with a sense of self-empowerment, of being a cultural rebel? I'm sure all of these reasons and more are valid, to a degree.

But when looking at pictures of some tattoos, I realized the how and the what of the process is truly what makes tattooing "body art."

Consider Brandon Bond, an award-winning tattoo artist who has been featured in articles across the globe. He was considered a top consultant project that was attempting to develop ink that could be removed more quickly and easily with laser treatment (in case someone wants to get rid of that symbol that doesn't actually stand for "peace" but instead means "pasta").

Brandon has been tattooing for 13 years. He started by studying Fine Art at college in Texas. You can tell from looking at his work:





If you examine his work, Brandon makes each tattoo a work of art. The flesh literally becomes a canvas. I respect tattoo artists for committing to work that is so obviously permanent. It's at once scary (how apprenticeships work for tattoo artists is beyond me), but I would imagine that buy building such an extensive portfolio, you creat an incredible testament to your skill. Your work is literally part of someone forever.

Ok, so I might not want to have the straightjacket man tattooed on my back for the rest of my life. But at least it looks really, really good.

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