Yesterday, Father Panik gave us his own (special brand of) review of the Star of Texas tattoo convention in Austin, but he wasn't the only one offering reportage of the event. Austin 360 gave a play-by-play (and a small lame sideshow), while TV stations KRQE and Fox Austin posted short videos online of the show. I dig these photos and quick videos because they offer a look at the scene, which helps decide what will be on my convention schedule next year.
The Bangkok International Tattoo Convention also got some nice coverage. Reuters took beautiful photos from the show including the one above, and CNN has a few nice shots as well. Sky News joined in with a video from the floor.
With thousands attending these conventions worldwide -- and the media chasing after us -- you'd think that the debate whether "tattoos have gone mainstream" was thoroughly squashed, but a new study says otherwise.
Texas Tech University's "Body Art Team" [real name] has found "The more body art you have, the more likely you are to be involved in deviance," according to the Chicago Tribune. The swat Body Art Team surveyed 1,753 students at four colleges and reported that the heavily tattooed and pierced drank more, did drugs more, had sex more and cheated in class more. [They add, "For low-level body art, these kids are not any different from anybody else."]
NBC news in Dallas also reported on the study and gave this reasoning behind the results:
To see what tattooed people think about the study, NBC went to a local studio and talked to artists and clients -- who, as expected, laughed at it. Watch their video report below:
The study is somewhat silly in its over-generalization and limited study group: How many of us drank, smoked and fucked more in college? A lot.
But yes, we've seen more young people heavily tattooed and modified in more extreme ways than just a decade ago. I wonder, though, if it's because of a need to rebel or simply because there is greater access to tattoos and mod procedures. Feel free to weigh in in the comments section.
If anyone is pissed off about the popularity of tattoos, it's Helen Mirren, who got her hand tattoo while drunk and lookin' to be baaaad.
Tattoos are not popular enough for Armani, however. They airbrushed those of Megan Fox in their latest undie ad.
Even less scientific than the deviant study: "How tattoos can reveal your lover's personality."
The Marine Corps are also concerned about heavily tattooed (deviant?) soldiers saying that "tattoos of an
excessive nature do not represent our traditional values." Values like Shock & Awe? A new Marine Corps reg tightens and clarifies tattoo policies for active-duty troops; most notably, it "prohibits enlisted Marines with sleeve tattoos from becoming
commissioned officers, even if the tattoos, which were banned in 2007,
had been grandfathered in according to protocol." I know this is wacky but I have no problem with our military lookin'
Real deviants will soon be less likely to get tattooed with new technology that matches tattoos to criminal records. The newest development called "Tattoo ID" helps law enforcement match up tattoos to suspects and victims. For example, the Boston Herald says that "a security camera image of a suspect's tattoo could be checked against an image databank to come up with a short list of suspects." Problem here is that we assume most criminals have artistic acumen for fine art custom tattoos. What about those who picked off some flash from a tattoo shop wall along with tons of other clients? Internet-industry journal IEEE Spectrum asks, "Is a tattoo ... enough of a unique identifier to put someone under suspicion?" A valid question to explore before innocent tattooed people are accused.
In more on the tattoo law front ...
A new tattoo bill in Florida will prohinit those 16 and under from getting tattooed even with parental permission. [Teenagers 16 or 17 years old would still need a parent to sign for them.] The bill also requires every tattoo artist in Panama City to register with the Florida Department of Health.
In South Carolina, however, tattoo rules are being eased. The state's tough tattoo law requires parental consent for tattoos on those aged under 20 years of age, but that restriction will be lifted if a state House bill passes and the Governor signs off on it. An impetus for the change is soldiers under 20 returning to South Carolina after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan who want to get tattooed but can't -- they're allowed to be shot at but not tattooed.
On the pop culture tip ...
Check this black light Lost tattoo. The story behind it is pretty cool:
"In the late summer of '08, I took my Lost love to the next level by getting a Dharma tattoo inked onto my ankle. Since my good pal had recently started working at small parlor nearby, we decided to collaborate. I had been wanting to experiment with iridescent ink. My pal had never worked with the stuff, so we struck a deal: I would be his guinea pig if he would spring for the ink.
If you've never heard of it, iridescent ink is a dye that glows under a black light. The tough thing about tattooing with it is that you have to illuminate the surface of the skin just to see what you're doing.
Dharma logo seemed perfect for this technique, with a thick,
recognizable shape....We decided to use the Looking Glass Station's
logo -- a white rabbit inside of the Dharma shape -- a reference to Alice in Wonderland, and the (site) of my favorite Lost episode, the Season 3 finale."
In clear tattoo view, a Baton Rouge man tempts fate with a "Saints Superbowl Champion" tattoo even before this past Sunday's game. Thankfully, they at least made it to the Super Bowl.
Best Headline (and Jersey Shore reference): "This Is Why Cadillac Has an Image Problem.
Worst press release ever. "Tattoo body art is not only a kind of body art but a great way of advertising your business and products as tattoo advertising has many merits compared to other ways of advertising."
And More Quick & Dirty Links ...
Photo by Charlie Brewer for News.com.au.
Photos of "Painted Ladies" dominated this past week's tattoo news with galleries from the Miss Tattoo Asia Pageant at the Singapore Tattoo Convention to Miss Tattoo Australia -- including the photo above of the Matt Shamah backpiece on the winner May Cheung.
In addition to the Miss Tattoo Australia photo gallery, the Courier Mail has an article on the "fast-growing female tattoo culture" in Australia. The article also mentions the Surf 'n' Ink tattoo convention on the Gold Coast taking place this weekend.
For more Miss Tattoo Asia photos, check Klik TV. Klik also shot plenty of tattoo photos from the Singapore Tattoo Convention that were not only of half-naked women (like the one shown right) -- best viewed on their Flickr page. They posted additional photos on their site in contest format where you can vote for your favorite tattooed person.
Also, on Flickr, check photo sets from photographer Naveen Prabhakar, Anvil Den, Apocalypse22001 and DumbKuKu.
[The Convention's Facebook pages, here and here, are being updated regularly with photos from attendees.]
The Sydney Morning Herald has a well reported short video on the Singapore Tattoo Convention. The paper's article on literary tattoos, however, is too snarky even for me.
Getting back to the fore-mothers of today's painted ladies...
Read this article on Sarawak women whose tattoos once marked status and beauty, but today, are rarely seen except on the elderly. Reviving Filipino tattoo traditions are the Tatak Ng Apat Na Alon Tribe. Last year, members traveled to the Kalinga mountains for the Kalinga Batok (tattoo festival) and had a chance to tattoo and be tattooed by local elders, including 89-year-old tattooist Whang Od. Read more (and see photos) about that festival in this great article by Lars Krutak. [The Revival chapter in my Black Tattoo Art book also features the Tribe and traditional Filipino tattooing.]
Tattoos for beauty and status can be found in Chanel's upcoming line of trompe-l'œil temporary tattoos shown during their Spring-Summer 2010 fashion show. The transfer will go for about $75 US (50 Euros) at Chanel stores and high-end boutiques beginning March 1st. Fashion divas Susanh Breslin and Samantha of the fabulous Haute Macabre sent me the Chanel links, and we all agreed to reserve judgment until we saw them in person, but as I told Sam, I think transfer tattoos are perfect for people who really shouldn't get tattoos (like the guy at the gym with the armband that only goes half-way around his bicep who thinks we both have something in common). At $75 a pop though, it's still a commitment, financially.
For more faux tattoos in fashion and home decor, check NBC San Diego's Imitation Ink gallery.
I've given you the pretty links, now time for the quick-n-dirty: