"Marked" airs Tonight on History Channel
03:55 PM
mario tattoos jim jones.jpg Mario Barth tattoos rapper Jim Jones
Tonight at 9PM Eastern time, the History Channel will premier a new six-part tattoo series called Marked, which "will explore the world of tattoos belonging to the intense modern day tribes that operate at the edges of society, including 1% motorcycle clubs, hardcore prisons, urban gangs and street culture."

Stop that!

I saw your eyes rolling over yet another tattoo show, but I'm actually gonna sit down and watch this one because it's produced by veteran tattooist Mario Barth and director Billy Burke, who's first collaboration Under The Skin -- a film on underground Japanese tattooing and surrounding rituals -- won numerous awards for Best Documentary. A clip from the documentary is below. [You can order the DVD online here.]

Like Under the Skin, tattoo's fringe culture is explored, including initiation rights, the meaning behind tattoo symbols, technique and history. It seems like it will take Gangland, another History channel show, further by delving into the tattoo culture of gangs. I'm
particularly interested in how certain groups use tattooing as bonding, marks of hierarchy as well as belonging, and personal story telling, so it looks like a TV night for Brian and I this eve. 

If you watch it tonight as well, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section.

For more on Mario, check his blog, where he recently posted pics of Jim Jones' backpiece that he's working on.


Pretty much the same as Gangland, etc.. I made it 40 mins. through. Not bad, but it seems like nobody wants to do a show that does more than scratch the surface. Instead of kicking in the uh, sweet alt rock soundtrack when the inmates describe their crimes, why not get a discussion going about the actual tattoos, the motivations, hierarchies, etc.. blah blah blah. All comes back to blurring that line between informing and glorifying. I'll give it another go probably, but if it's the same stuff, probably won't stick with it. $0.02, for what it's worth.

they briefly touched on the meanings of the tattoos with one or two prisoners (beyond gang affiliation), but otherwise it seemed like the same old stuff. hopefully, future episodes will go beyond what's already been covered numerous times. the problem with exploring (exploiting) the 'fringe society' of the heavily tattooed is that it sends the message that all heavily tattooed people are anti-social rebels, freaks or gangstas. a nice balance between regular folk and 'modern tribes' would show that tattoos are really cross-cultural.

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