Today’s staff blog post comes from Anabel Rotmistrovsky, one of our Senior Project Managers.
Tattoos have been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, even if they were less visible (and more secretive) in the past, especially in the Western society. For example, they were associated to religious practices and/or social status among others in ancient cultures. Today tattoos are whatever you want them to be! There are no right or wrong reasons for getting a tattoo. Maybe you want to remember someone, mark special moments in your life or you just think they look cool!
I am big tattoo fan (a very tattooed one), especially old school tattoos also know as traditional tattoos which refers to a Western or traditional American tattoo style featuring bold black outlines and a limited colour palette. I have always been fascinated with tattoos since I was very young. I love tattoos and I love how they look on people. Western sailors were the first to bring this culture to the west, according to the records it was the men on Captain James Cook’s crew who first chose to get tattoos as mementos of their journey to the great tattoo cultures of Japan, China and the Pacific Islands in the 18th century.
Tattoos in the Western world were a sign of outsiders who chose not to live a mainstream life, such as sailors and circus freaks. This is far away from today’s perceptions, especially in places like Glasgow where a large proportion of the population have one or more tattoos (if you don’t believe me wait for the “taps aff” season where you will find hundreds of big men – and women- showing off their tattoos proudly, drinking some alcoholic beverage such as ‘buckfast tonic wine’ and enjoying the few days of sun that we get every year).
Later on during the Second World War, tattoos became popular with American servicemen in the Pacific front, as “they didn’t know if they’d make it out and if they did, the last thing they were worried about was some snotty banker giving them crap about their tattoo”. By the 50s and 60s, Americans getting tattoos included the most aggressive elements of counterculture, outlaw biker gangs, convicts and others who lacked the desire or expectation to “move up” in society. By the late 70s and early 80s, getting aggressively tattooed and pierced became a mark of punk culture’s disdain for conformity and social mobility.
In the last decades, tattoos have become more and more popular even if they have still certain stigmas in many places around the world. For me, it is much more than just some body decoration, it is a way of life and as Control, a punk band, would say: “the tattoos are the story of our lives.” I feel connected to decades of Western outcasts who enjoyed listening to rebellious music, drinking, living by their own rules and always running amok! Tattoos are a part of my identity as much as the music that I love to listen to and play.