Dowdell says that Celtic and tribal tattoos are on the way out (and those similar in design). You might associate them with muscled celebrities and athletes, and recognize them for their ornate patterns or scenery. A Celtic tattoo uses black ink to background crosses, trees, or folkloric animals. A tribal tattoo uses black ink to fill in spiraling, zigzagging arrows and lines, often migrating from the pec onto the shoulder and arm. The tricky thing about tattoos is that you still see the ones that are “out of style”, because they’re permanently on the wearer. So, Dowdell’s point is that he’s doing far fewer of these types anymore, in favor of the aforementioned ones. As seen on: The Rock’s shoulder and arm. (His is technically a Polynesian tattoo, but stylistically in the same vein.)
The length of an arm provides an incredible canvas for a tattooist. They have a lot of space to work with, and it gives them the opportunity to explore complex imagery that reads like a story on the skin. Or if they prefer abstraction, sleeves are the chance to create a collision of patterns. The conceptual possibilities are endless. Some artists completely cover the skin, like Little Andy who transformed the lower half of his client’s arm into a swirling galaxy. But for those that favor the minimalist approach, La Malafede showcases the impact of a single line as it traces the inside of the whole arm.
Don’t expect to get a huge tattoo, or series of them, in just one sitting. They just take too long. Gualteros has some clients who fly in from overseas, and who then spend a few solid days getting big-scale tattoos completed. But that’s a special case. “Usually it’ll happen over more time,” he says. “It could take months, it could take years. Usually, you leave 3-4 weeks between appointments and a sleeve can require anywhere from 8-10 sessions.”
Plenty of cultures from across the globe have used tattoos as a form of expression. Certain cultures have used tattoos as a part of many rites of passage, for beauty, or artistic purposes, as a type of warrior mark, to identify a tribe or a gang, and so on. But it’s pretty much clear that when it comes to cultures from across the globe, tattoos have always stood for both belonging and marginality.
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Tattoos are said to be addicting. Despite the pain, those who get their first bit of body art are often hungry for more. And as tattoos become an increasingly accepted part of society, these ink enthusiasts are filling half or even the whole of their arms with sprawling designs. Called half sleeve and full sleeve tattoos, respectively, these impressive pieces are the result of many hours of hard work for a tattooist and a lesson in patience and perseverance for a client.
Before getting a tattoo, make sure you have had all your immunizations (especially hepatitis B and tetanus shots). If you have a medical problem such as heart disease, allergies, diabetes, skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, a weakened immune system, or a bleeding problem, talk to your doctor before getting a tattoo. Also, if you get keloids (an overgrowth of scar tissue) you should probably not get a tattoo.
Yet amongst the Greeks and Romans, the use of tattoos or "stigmata" as they were then called, seems to have been largely used as a means to mark someone as "belonging" either to a religious sect or to an owner in the case of slaves or even as a punitive measure to mark them as criminals. It is therefore quite intriguing that during Ptolemaic times when a dynasty of Macedonian Greek monarchs ruled Egypt, the pharaoh himself, Ptolemy IV (221-205 B.C.), was said to have been tattooed with ivy leaves to symbolize his devotion to Dionysus, Greek god of wine and the patron deity of the royal house at that time. The fashion was also adopted by Roman soldiers and spread across the Roman Empire until the emergence of Christianity, when tattoos were felt to "disfigure that made in God's image" and so were banned by the Emperor Constantine (A.D. 306-373).
Hildebrandt began traveling from camp to camp to tattoo soldiers, making his popularity increase, and also giving birth to the tradition of getting tattoos while being an American serviceman. Soon after the Civil War, tattoos became fashionable among upper-class young adults. This trend lasted until the beginning of World War I. The invention of the electric tattoo machine caused popularity of tattoos among the wealthy to drop off. The machine made the tattooing procedure both much easier and cheaper, thus, eliminating the status symbol tattoos previously held, as they were now affordable for all socioeconomic classes. The status symbol of a tattoo shifted from a representation of wealth, to a mark typically seen on rebels and criminals. Despite this change, tattoos remained popular among military servicemen, and the tradition continues today.
One of the most popular places for girls to get tattoos is around the feet and ankles. It seems less of a commitment to a life long piece of art on you because it’s less noticeable and easily concealable. The feet are also not generally considered the most beautiful part of the body, so it can be a great way of making them look prettier and adding some art to them.
Remember how we said society is more accepting of sleeve tattoos now? While it is true, that doesn’t mean everyone is fine with them. For example, the United States Marines Corp. changed their policy in April 2007 to ban tattoo sleeves unless you got them before enlisting. There are also still plenty of employers who have a “no visible tattoo” policy but require a short-sleeve shirt uniform, which means you’re out of luck.
Although it’s hard to read in the photo, the wider shot shows you how script can work really well to join different tattoos. It sits below a cross themed tattoo, so is potentially a passage out of the bible that inspires or holds a dear meaning to the person. Script can work great on the leg and backs and also wraps around nicely. When opting for a script tattoo be sure to get someone that’s experience in doing nice lettering.
Tattoos were probably also used in ancient medicine as part of the treatment of the patient. In 1898, Daniel Fouquet, a medical doctor, wrote an article on “medical tattooing” practices in Ancient Egypt, in which he describes the tattooed markings on the female mummies found at the Deir el-Bahari site. He speculated that the tattoos and other scarifications observed on the bodies may have served a medicinal or therapeutic purpose: "The examination of these scars, some white, others blue, leaves in no doubt that they are not, in essence, ornament, but an established treatment for a condition of the pelvis, very probably chronic pelvic peritonitis."