cultural and social contexts of tattoos


We have our bodies but it’s the media and consumerism that dictate us how our bodies should look and we all know that. Is this new imperfect mannequin trend going to change anything and allow us to accept our imperfections? I doubt it and see it more as yet another way to get into our pockets and wallets but still, it’s interesting to see.

Another, even worse example of creating false images of people is photoshopping and recently Lena Dunham created some uproar (with a little help from jezebel blog – this post shows changes in the pictures). Pic doctoring demands some serious thinking process – we all do that, we all play with the way we look, we all pretend who we are(at least to a degree). What is right, what is wrong? Are we manipulated totally? To what degree we are also manipulators?

A big tattoo convention in Philadelphia is just taking place and it’s a huge performance and game to create a certain image as well. The industry is booming, though – over 800 artists from all over the world, thousands of visitors and lots of entertainment!

In another place of the world, Caracas, another tattoo convention is taking place and it also celebrates not only self-expression but also a human ability to re-create ourselves for many reasons. Stereotypes aside, the Bild magazine put is quite nicely: “doch hinter den Farben auf der Haut und dem Stahl darunter verbergen sich Geschichten von Menschen, die brutal aussehen, aber zärtlich lieben und ihre inneren Kämpfe außen tragen.

Tattoo artists: a Sarawakian Chinese artist fascinated with the Dayak culture and creating something new in his work and a well-known tattooist and buseinessman Chris Nunez on his own turf.

Tattoos on TV: an interesting guide to the ink reality TV shows, a critical text about Bodyshockers (plus a link showing what Bodyshock program has featured so far) and an article about the Black Ink Crew (also TV stars) branching out by means of a new tattoo magazine.

A Japanese clerk punished for having tattoos in Osaka plus an editorial on tattoos at work from the US. Different cultures, different approaches.

A warning aimed at teens and young adults – what you should know about tattoos. It’s not new but still worth mentioning. An inner lip tattoo trend is kind of related to it. Always be careful and think twice before you go for some ink!


With the Oscar ceremony fast approaching, take a look at this Belgian film nominated in the best foreign language film category – a story about a female tattoo artist and a male musician over the years.

tattoo concept(s)


We can still make it [tattooing] as renegade as we want’ says Kate Shanghai Hellenbrand in an interview during a tattoo convention in Minneapolis, MN (here’s another interview with her in the Inked magazine).

Other tattoo artists featured in this week’s online world: a Texan who tried to break a Guinness world record for the longest tattoo session, a versatile tattooer called Mr. Peanut and a Polish tattoo artist, Marek Pawlik.

A tattoo museum in a tattoo shop in NYC.

A more traditional approach in a text about sak yant tattoos while here you can read about tattoos of the future.

Books: chefs’ ink featured in this book while here we have a Polish book on tattoos. I’ve just ordered it and I’m quite excited as, weirdly enough, it’ll be my first book on tattoos in Polish ever! Hopefully it’s a good one!

Body piercing in Islam.

Finally, a pretty cool video about the Tattoo Week in Rio de Janeiro!

life, skin, hooks


The beautiful picture above shows a temporary tattoo commemorating one of the extinct by now species. There’s much food for thought in the article as well. On a side note, I’m glad to say that a Polish project run by Greenpeace, called ‘Adopt a Bee,’ turned out to be quite successful (I adopted some bees myself).

Great videos from Mecca Suscon (day 1, day 2, day 3). The footage is both twisted and beautiful and the rigs they use are quite breathtaking! An awesome event it must have been!

On the other side of the globe the 1st Hong Kong tattoo convention is taking place while in Poznan, Poland there’s a local one going on right now. In Austria Zombie Boy will be doing his thing at another event of this kind.

How tattoos are perceived and regulated in 4 branches of the US army!

Once again, every body tells its story!

A tattooed Lutheran pastor who’s not afraid of swearing and calling a spade a spade!

And maybe not directly related to body modification we see it on here but good enough to remember that societies we live in force us to follow their rules and norms – an exhibit on how society shapes our bodies (the museum’s website).

watch, envy, get your own!

This week started with the news on new rules for US army concerning tattoos. Apparently tattoos below knees and elbows won’t be allowed. You can shed your blood but you can’t express yourself?

The next piece of news sounded quite shocking – tattoos can give you cancer. Am I miserable and afraid now? Nope! Seeing how polluted this planet is, leaving the house and breathing may give me cancer, too. And even though not all of us know ‘how we’re gonna die…,’ we should at least have some fun while here, no? 😉

This weekend this place is certainly a lot of fun and it gets a lot of media coverage, too – 9th London Tattoo Convention.

Other interesting tattoo events – Dutdutan in Phillipines and a convention in Hong Kong plus Solo Tattoo Solidarity from Indonesia.

Also from Hong Kong a very interesting interview with Joey Pang of the Tattoo Temple shop. The galleries are worth checking out!

Other tattoo artists: Lal Hardy and his new business endeavor, an Irish tattoo artist working in Cairo, Egypt and 5 very promising tattoo artists according to some Chinese magazine (a Pole, Davee Blows, included).

This shop, called Prison Break, reminded me of the famous TV show also called Prison Break. These were the days when I admired Michael Scofield’s tattoos and wanted to have my own set of sleeves!


Entertainment: The Lizardman Down Under (in New Zealand to be precise), banana tattoos and a very temporary doodle body art.


There are more and more TV shows and movies exploring/ using tattoos to their own ends and seems like the movie ‘Divergent’ may be one of them (it’s based on books about a dystopian city divided into 5 factions; the Dauntless faction members are stereotypically tattooed, pierced and clad in black risk takers 😉 ). But sometimes tattoos are frowned upon – Ridley Scott doesn’t want people with large tattoos on his Moses film set.

I love when modified people are generous and caring – here another example that the modified bunch has big hearts: almost 9.000 bucks for a boy with terminal illness.

News from Poland: one of tattoo shops in Poznan, Poland, a local contest ‘Tattoo of the Year’ (also from Poznan) and Silesia-themed tattoos.

Thou shall (not) …

There’s still a lot of commotion about the proposed 24-hour waiting period in Washington D.C. Even the Fox TV has put its two cents on the subject. The poll shows that majority of people are against it. In the meanwhile, a MI senator proposed a tattoo ban for minors. There may actually be something to it as this short article from TX shows, where high school students revealed their secret tattoos in their year book. it should not be about banning, though, it should be about educating!

But tattoos are also about beauty and life affirmation as this great P.INK campaign shows!

As they say, every body tells a story and, even though cliché as it sounds, it actually does.

More on the Bled for Boston project.

Tattoos may be frowned upon and people deemed not to be trusted about them but no one can deny that tattoos are more and more popular. This article from the Washington Post shows, yet again, that you are never too old to get a tattoo. Pretty much the same message you can get from a Polish article about a growing number of Poles adorning their skin.

Also from the Washington Post, an awesome, interactive tattoo guide!

Tattoo Conventions: the BIG one in London and a local one in Katowice, Poland (this one also shows that suspension shows are a staple of tattoo conventions now).

More on Japan, how Japanese view tattoos and how it may be a problem during the future Olympics.

Tattooers and their thoughts: a Chinese artist from Beijing (here‘s his Instagram) (“Tattoo is similar in that way [to painting] but at the same time I think it’s more than that. It’s alive, it’s got blood, it’s got pain and it will always stay with you. It is a very unique and rare art form.” and “A good tattooist must have a thorough understand of history, culture and humanity. It’s not just about picking up a machine and finishing a pattern.“) and an Australian whose faith makes him believe that ‘”Jesus loves [him] with or without [his] tattoos.” The latter line may be handy next time we run into people thinking along the ‘if God wanted us to have tattoos ….’ lines.

Finally, tattoo etiquette or why it’s not a good idea to touch our tattoos without asking first!

hide-and-show game

Friday the 13th came and went and hopefully no one had bad luck then. A nice tradition at some tattoo shops is quite well established by now, though, so here a few examples of it.

The 24-hour-waiting-period idea in D.C. is still making rounds on the Internet and many opinions are expressed, shared and exchanged. An interesting voice in the discussion is the one juxtaposing tattoos, abortion and the waiting period (not)required.

Tattoos as not the best investment ever are presented here, followed by Polish articles discussing work environment and self-expression.

Sometimes the more tattoos, the better, though, as you can see in the texts focused on famous side-show performers.

Festivals around the world: India (more about the festival), Indonesia and a tattoo convention in Montreal, Canada (Steph sent me lots of freebies from this event a few years back J)

Hooks-related: Tattoo Expo in Johannesburg, South Africa and a very detailed, interesting to read text focused on the suspension at this event on hooklife (thanks to Bastian for referring me to this one).

Museum exhibitions and tattoos: Sea Ink 2013, Tattoo: Flash Art of Amund Dietzel (more on Dietzel). Also, one of the living legends of the industry, Lyle Tuttle making an appearance at Ink for the Cause.

Widely discussed: one of the current Miss America contestants, Miss Kansas, and her tattoos.

Nirvana tattoos!

Japan: no entry to a Japanese spa for a Maori woman wearing a traditional moko design on her face. Outrageous? I don’t think so! It’s fascinating how cultures differ. When in Rome, do as the Romans do!

Fort Worth/ Dallas area and 13 best shops there.

Art-inspired tattoos – even if you’re not into body art, it still may serve as a short lesson in art history!

digital tattoos and quite a real Beckham

Do you like computers, smartphones, tablets and whatnot? Soon they may be a basic tool to appreciate art, also this body one: the Shifting Skin project and a tattoo viewable by phones only.

The City of Angels: a body piercer trying to find her place there, a review of the book by Kat Von D, a self-proclaimed L.A. girl and an article about an L.A.-based suspension group.

Ear stretching in OH.

Ground-breaking news from Austria on popularity of tattoos in this country. Meanwhile, in Arkansas, there are attempts to ban non-traditional forms of body modification (‘non-traditional’ being an interesting statement here).

Fit bodies and tattoos: yet another slide show of athletes in Moscow and David Beckham and his tattoos in H&M ad(s).

London Tattoo Convention coming soon!

anthropological touch

Tattoos now in texts from NYC, Singapore and Kenya. Tattoos that are dying out right in front of our eyes in a text from Algeria.

National Geographic posted an interesting interview focused on female genital mutilation.

Punk pastor from NYC whose body is covered with tattoos, head adorned with a Mohawk and he quotes hip-hop lyrics to make a point.

30 Seconds to Mars and their call for fan tattoos not that well received by fans!

From Poland a review of a recent tattoo convention in Gdansk.

hooks and ink

Tattoo conventions: the New York City Urban Tattoo convention and a racial divide that, according to the organizers of the event, exists in the tattoo world and another convention in TX where body suspension made some headlines.

High tech ‘tattoosthat may track vital signs of our bodies!

Tattoos from a different angle: fruit ‘tattoos.’

An interesting interview with Louis Molloy here.

A slide show focused on song lyrics tattoos.

An interesting picture from a T-Mobile ad in Poland: a girl with sth that looks like stretched lobes (which is *not* that common over here!)