Guest Blog: Horiyoshi III on Why We Get Tattooed
Here's John Mack with another story about getting tattooed by Horiyoshi III over the course of nine years. Check out his previous posts: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.
The client before me inspected his freshly colored skin in the mirror while gingerly dabbing it with a tissue. He and Horiyoshi III were discussing the motivation for getting tattooed as I listened with interest. I understood the main idea, but I knew there was more. So the next chance I got, I asked him for clarification. Here is what he said:
We get tattooed for our own self satisfaction, but just like any social animal, people crave having an impact on others. When your tattoos are recognized by other people, you see their reaction, which in turn makes you feel good. If you lived alone on a deserted island where nobody else could see your tattoos, then they would be much less interesting.
This opportunity to ask a master at the top of his craft anything I want has been one of the supreme pleasures of my life.
Horiyoshi's practice is now limited to finishing existing clients' tattoos. As I have repeatedly witnessed, all new clients are politely referred elsewhere.