Tattoos: a brief history from ‘outcast’ to ‘normal’

Archaeology showed that the origin of tattooing goes back way before the third millennium B.C. but started to become more and more popular in the western world after the renaissance era. When Captain Cook discovered Tahiti, and brought us the word ‘tatau’, the whole western world had become influenced by the new trend spread by soldiers, sailors and adventurers.

The first documented tattoo artist in Britain was Sutherland Macdonald, in the late 19thcentury, and he fought for the idea that tattooing is a form of art. Check out his classic works below:

While more and more people – even the royal family – became a big fan of tattoos, this way of self-expression still remained linked with criminality and tattooed people were judged as disreputable and outcast.

The Tattoo Renaissance began in the late 1950s, and was greatly influenced by several artists in particular Lyle TuttleCliff Raven, Don Nolan, Zeke Owens, Spider Webb and Ed Hardy

In many respects, Lyle Tuttle represents the beginning of the tattoo Renaissance: he founded the Tattoo Art Museum and Hall of Fame in San Francisco and publishes the Tattoo Historian. As the commercial art world and academic art historians take notice of tattooing, gallery and museum showings increase. This tends to attract better trained artists, which in turn, leads to a new clientele. This new clientele consists of middle class teens and adults, college students, media celebrities and sports heroes.

Janis Joplin’s wristlet and tiny heart on the left breast, done by the San Francisco based tattoo artist Lyle Tuttle in the 60s, which was an early moment in the popular culture’s acceptance of tattoos as art.

New social movements contributed to the fact that tattoos have taken on a different meaning for young people in the 70’s than for previous generations. The tattoo has “undergone dramatic redefinition” and has shifted from a form of deviance to an acceptable form of expression.

Photos and sources from:

3 reasons why you shouldn’t get a tattoo

The three main reasons why you should never get a tattoo.

I’m sure that other tattoo artists could add more reasons to the list, but I would highlight those examples which I have come across to most of the time.

  1. You have tattoos that you already regret

While there are several reasons why someone would like to get rid of a tattoo, the most common reason is that people’s perception, style and taste is changing. Getting a tattoo is something that you have for a lifetime, and you should choose very carefully what you commit to. It’s less likely to change your mind over time, if you choose something meaningful, than something trendy.


  1. You’re not sure at all

This is the type of customer that I meet a lot: not sure about the design, the size, or the body part they want to cover. Others are engaging with a design at first, then coming up with something totally different before the appointment. This is also the sign that you should better take your time and think about your future tattoo thoroughly.


  1. You’re too lazy to check the spelling

Probably you’ve heard about Ariana Grande’s last tattoo failure about getting tattooed “small charcoal grill” on her hand, instead of “seven rings”.

Well, you should be aware that checking (or better double-checking), and the research on the correct spelling of a tattoo is on you, not the artist.