Tattoo News Review
Photo by Alan Berner/Seattle Times
I'm gonna geek out on you a bit for today's tattoo news review. As a heavily tattooed lawyer, any time I see a news item that deals with issues like First Amendment or tattoo bans, I get giddy, as if Bradgelina came to my very own McDonald's drive thru. Well, this past week, there was plenty to squeal about.
Check the tattoo law headlines ...
Last week, a new policy went into effect for St Louis cops that bans visible tattoos. Those who did not comply were sent home. The St. Louis Police Officers' Association says it's unfair and will be meeting this week to discuss the new dress code. In general, it's a tough battle to fight.
In 2006, the Second Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in Inturri v. City of Hartford, upheld a similar ban for Hartford, CT cops, setting precedent that such dress codes do not violate the First Amendment. It said, "A police department has a reasonable interest in not offending or appearing unprofessional before the public it serves." Further, in a federal case in Texas, Riggs v. City of Fort Worth, the District Court said that "A police officer's uniform is not a forum for fostering public discourse or expressing one's personal beliefs."
The bottom line is that tattoo stereotypes still exist and if the public cannot trust the police, the bans fulfill a "legitimate purpose" as long as they are not applied in a discriminatory way. The best way to combat the bans is to fight the stereotypes.
Alas, after the weekend I had, I fulfilled every negative tattooed chick stereotype in the book. Do as I say, not as I do, my friends.
This guy also doesn't help our cause: Tattoo gives away nine-time drunken-driving suspect who tried to fool a cop with a bogus license but the officer remembered the tattoo from a previous arrest.
Tattoo bans in public schools like this latest one in western Kentucky, however, can be fought.
As I wrote in my 2005 Legal Link column entitled "Fighting Oppressive School Dress Codes," the 1969 landmark Supreme Court case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District gave students the right to freedom of speech. Read my article for points on how parents and students can exercise this right and fight against school body art bans.
In convention coverage ...
The Seattle Times reported on the Seattle Tattoo Expo, which took place this past weekend. The article features great photos by Alan Berner like the one above of Becky Long undergoing a 6-hour session at the show under the needles of Paul Zenk of Portland's Infinity Tattoo. Paul was one of the 285 tattoo artists working the Expo where an estimated 10,000 tattoo lovers attended.
The Times article also has a great quote from Body Graphics's Bill Funk on tattoo culture:
"What we see now is a complete reflection of society in general. There is no tattoo subculture. The lines have been blurred. If you have a love of the art, you're going to get a tattoo."
Seattle Pi also has an extensive slideshow of the Expo with photos like this one right by Daniel Berman. Check it. [Thanks, Bill!]
In tattoo business ventures ...
Call your stock broker! Tattoo removal company, Dr Tattoff is expanding and wants to go public next year. John Keefe, Dr. Tattoff's chief executive, estimates that tattoo removal could be a $10-billion-a-year industry. He wouldn't give figures for his own profits but did say that Tattoff is a multimillion-dollar business.
KansasCity.com explores how tattoo art has made its way onto gift registries but in the form of tableware, home decor, and bedding. At the end of the article, they list tattoo-inspired goods along with websites and prices (like the $65,000 price tag on Kiki Smith's "Tattoo Vase" for Steuben Glass).
In celebrity tattoo snooze ...
Posh's latest Hebrew tattoo gets pimped in Israeli press.
Lady Gaga waxes poetic over her new Rilke tattoo.
Ryan Gosling has a tattoo inspired by Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree." [Thanks, Scott!]
But I liked this bit: Mickey Rourke and Sylvester Stallone show off their very real tattoos in their upcoming film The Expendables. Mickey plays a tough tattoo artist, drawing inspiration I'm sure from his own artist Mark Mahoney of Shamrock Social Club. Also read more about Stallone's tattoo work here.
More Quick & Dirty Links ...