The mesmerising allure of tattoos

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Over the past couple of decades, I have watched tattoos become popular, a fashion accessory and totally accepted in our society … well by some … my mother hates them and there are still those that can be a little too judgy. When I was growing up only people who were sailors, bikies or criminals got tattoos. If a female got a tattoo it was frowned upon and they were labelled as “that sort of gal”. However, the practice of tattooing has become an art form and with them a symbolic and poignant meaning in one’s life. My tattoo artist told me when I was getting my very first one just recently, that women, especially those in their 20s, are now their highest clientele and on researching this further, these statistics are similar across all studios in Australia. In fact, Australia is one of the four most tattooed nations is the world. I wondered about Italy, the country of my family’s heritage especially after attending the Italian Film festival here in Brisbane where one of the actors had the most beautiful tattoo. It was a rose climbing up her spine, the roses where red. Just gorgeous. We were privy to the actress’ tattoo in the lovemaking scene in the film. The Italians, along with their comedy and conflict in films do love some loving in their films. It was a serene and sensual piece of body art.

The origins of the word “tattoo” come from the Tahitian term “tatua” which means “to mark. Tattoos have been around for centuries in all cultures:

“Adding decorative illustrations to the skin has been a popular practice since ancient times. Clay dolls have been found that indicate the Egyptians used tattoos as early as 4000 b.c. Over the centuries, different forms of tattoo art have been practised by many different world cultures. For example, around 500 b.c., the Japanese began tattooing for both cosmetic and religious purposes.” Source: Encyclopedia.com

Tattoos have sky-rocketed during the 21st century where they have found their mojo and their social acceptance in an awe-inspiring way by others. Tattoos popularity have grown over the last 200 years. In fact, during the nineteenth century in England, tattoos were popular among the upper-class. I was very surprised to learn that Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill’s mother, had a snake tattooed around her wrist. Ladies with ink, we are in good company. Japan is one country where tattoos are not as prolific and have a few rules about where you can go and when you need to cover them up.  Visiting Japan with Tattoos a blog by Tara Moss shares her experience and advice when travelling within Japan.  Tara Moss is a successful author and human rights advocate, who was once a model, who has some amazing tattoos and they are just beautiful. I read somewhere that once she finished modelling she felt that her body was her own and decided to get the tattoos she’d always wanted. Please note, while writing this blog, I did try to locate where exactly I read this although no success but I am pretty certain I have provided authentic information. Tara tends to have a retro 1950s pin-up girl style and her images are just breathtaking. You can follow Tara on her Instagram page. She posts some amazing photos that are inspirational. I love her style and she is my fashion muse, alongside Audrey Hepburn and Mary Quant.

Due to their prolific showing nowadays and living in a city where the skin is exposed more due to our amazing weather here in Brisbane, I have seen a lot of very interesting tattoos. When I am fortunate enough to have a friendly conversation with people I hear some amazing stories behind their tattoos and the symbolic references that they hold. I was always living vicariously through the art of ink through others. Until now. I have my own and I just love it. It took me a while to decide the perfect tattoo that makes my heart sing and soar and this one does just that. It was the right choice. On waking the first morning after I was still very pleased about my little ink art and I do love looking at it. It was a good choice. Although, I was a little nervous about what some might say. I know my Italian mother will be livid, although my brother has them. But he is a boy … now there’s material for a whole other blog!

So for any of you out there who have yet to have a tattoo and it’s on your life experience list (I don’t like calling it a “bucket list” as that has life is at the end kind of tone … I personally plan to have a great life … la bella vita … for a long time to come. Here are some points on my experience:

❦ Make sure the place is reputable. Do your research and read reviews. The place I went to smelt like a hospital so I knew they were super-doper clean and hygienic.

❦ They will advise you about the best size. When it’s your first you want to make it small, I think making it small is a like a safety net. But if you get your design too small it will not look good or clear after 2-3 years and these little artworks are permanent regardless of how they age. The small designs you see on Pinterest are always just done and that’s why they always look so good and clear. Do a before and after Google search and you will see what I mean. The place I went to educated me as such. Therefore, a good tattoo place does this.

❦ You get a stencil of the design you want and you can move it around as much as you can. I only had to get the tattooist to do twice. I did ask how many times I can do it. He said, with a laugh, after five he gets antsy. But seriously make sure it is uber perfect because … people … it’s for life.

❦ Does it hurt? I have a pain threshold in the negative figures and for me, it did although it was bearable. Contractions during labour are still much worse. There was some burning and some sharp stinging but then you get used to it and at times it actually becomes quite therapeutic. My tattoo took 15 minutes and I did not move … I was very vocal but that settles me and it was quite entertaining for all … I did put on a little show. At the end of it, my tattoo artist was very happy with me and I got a gold star!!

❦ Follow the aftercare advice and all should be sweet and perfect.

I won’t go and get heaps of tattoos but I am thinking of just one more. This one has a lot of symbolism and meaning for me. I am just trying to think of the right place to put it. It’s a phrase in Italian and I feel it will connect to me and the life I live, the life I try to live – warts and all … Mia Bella Vita.

❁ Source: https://www.encyclopedia.com/sports-and-everyday-life/fashion-and-clothing/clothing-jewelry-and-personal-adornment/tattoo

❁ Source: Why so many women are getting tattoos

Source: The rise and rise of the tattoo

❁ Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-08/beneath-the-stereotypes-of-tattooed-women/9508574

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