It’s becoming more and more popular for people to modify their bodies with tattoos and piercings. What’s your view on this?
I used to think them quite atrocious. To be honest, the very first tattoos were hardly works of art. I sincerely wondered why a person would want something that is nothing more than a haphazard scratch of poor quality ink etched into his or her own body for all their life.
Though in retrospect, understanding tattooing as I do now, I have come to respect these people. I may not think the art is good, or was entirely a good idea, but I can see the value in what was happening culturally. I think that this “scratcher” phase was a necessary step to pave the way, as they say, for tattoos as they are today. Indeed, for tattoos to become true works of art.
Liberation in any way is derived from the efforts of early pioneers. Nothing is really perfect initially, but a beginning step is simply what it is– it begins the overall process of evolution whereby something is perfected. Change of any sort must have a catalyst. So while early tattoos were of poor quality, and done in conditions far from sanitary, they represent a very fundamental shift in how people viewed their bodies, how people accepted social norms, and how people reclaimed their individualism from the collective.
Being from a time when social rules and regulations were essential indeed to life, I find all of this to be quite interesting. And by no small measure amusing.
Tattooing has since become, in my opinion, a true form of art. Art is more than paint on a canvas, or the designs of a fine sculpture cast from marble or metal. People can themselves become works of art, and quite unique in the art that they create of the body. I think that it is amazing the way that people modify the body in order to project an aesthetic all their own. People constantly push the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and appearance, and this is infinitely fascinating. Because, you see, I wonder just how people will look a hundred years from now as they pierce, mould, sculpt, colour, and manipulate.
Of course, my now positive view of tattooing has a lot to do with the evolution, as I mentioned above, of tattooing as a whole. For the most part, people demand that if they are going to have something on their skin permanently, they want it to be of a good quality. And so tattoo artists must be, in every sense of the word, true artists of their crafts. They create things that are full of life and colour, constantly innovating to make new styles. I have seen tattoos that looked as real as the world before me, and tattoos of impressive creativity such as those now that are being done in three dimensional colour. This is a far cry from the tattoos of old that barely had a single straight line.
I quite like to find a woman or man covered in tattoos and study each one. I have come to highly respect tattooing as an art form, and so I wish to study each and every canvas that I can to the fullest.