Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tattoos - Taboo And Evolution

Tattoos - Taboo and Evolution

Tattoos are as varied as the people who wear them - private and deeply personal or a public declaration to everyone we encounter. More and more, tattoos are aaccepted as artforms, appreciated for their beauty and as a form of creative expression for the artist and the wearer.

"Ink" has been part of human culture for thousands of years. Tattoos commemorate rites of passage, mark the achievement of milestones, indicate membership in a group, express individuality and values, and decorate the body. Today, tattoos are also used as permanent cosmetics and for medical markings.

Body art isn’t good or bad, right or wrong. But there are some logistical challenges associated with tattoos and some cool "no commitment" options. Some are familiar and some are more unexpected.

Cosmetic Tattoos
Makeup styles keep changing, but the tattoos don’t (well, not that way anyway). Since "permanent makeup" or cosmetic tattoos are permanent, we loose the ability to keep up with trends and can appear out-dated and old-fashioned as makeup styles change and evolve over our lifetime. Exaggerated cat-eyes, white eyeliner on the top lid, and harsh black liner on the bottom lid were once the height of fashion and have since faded into history.

As we age, our skin sags and moves. Permanent eyeliner, eyebrows, and lipliner can move to locations we didn’t expect – they can sag and droop or even worse, move to totally unexpected places after "a little work" on the forehead, eye area, or lips.

Like all tattoos, permanent makeup will fade to olive greens and blues over time. These tattoos require constant touch-ups to correct the color or you’ll have to cover or just tolerate the unusual colors when they develop.

Physical Changes
Tattoos on the torso, upper arms, and upper legs can stretch and deform during pregnancy or significant fluctuations in body weight and skin tightness.

Business Environments
Traditional tattoos that are visible on the extremities, face, or neck are not typically accepted in formal business environments. If our tattoos can be seen in these environments, we may not be viewed as professional, trustworthy, hard-working, or reliable. In these environments, visible body art can be a career killer.

Personal Evolution
Tattoos are permanent. As we develop and evolve overtime, the tattoos we chose 10 or 20 years ago may not resonate with or be practical for the latest version of ourselves. Our choices are to tolerate, cover, remove, or change our tattoos in some way to make them work for us as we grow and change.

The Next Generation Of Tattoos

Our fascination with and appreciation of tattoos has inspired a whole industry of temporary tattoos and tattoo-inspired accessories and apparel. If you love and appreciate tattoos, but aren’t ready for a permanent commitment, check out these cool options!

Faux Tattoos – They Look Like The Real Thing

Artist to the stars, Christien Tinsley, has created a line of reusable tattoos. Full torsos and "sleeves" are printed on transparent nylon mesh fabric so you can just slip them on and off at your pleasure. You get the look of full body art without the commitment. Get "tattooed up" for the evening or weekend and then you’re back to the Boy Scout look for the office during the day. Click this link to see how they work. Here are some more options

Tinsley has also created realistic temporary tattoos for special events or weekends. They are more sophisticated than the Cracker Jack Box version, but they work the same way. These individual tattoos come in different styles (tribal, vintage, military, etc.) and sizes and can last up to a week. Check them out at Here are application instructions

If you want a unique or one-of-a kind tattoo, most tattoo shops also apply temporary tattoos. Mehndi tattoos, Indian body art made with henna, are also an option. Henna designs last one to four weeks. All the art without the pain!

Tattoo Inspired Jewelry
Jewelry can give the impression of a tattoo either literally or figuratively. Look for pendants or bands (cuffs, collars, anklets, rings) with intricate metal work, laser-cut filigree, or colorful enamel. Here are some examples.

Tattoo Art Apparel and Accessories
If you love tattoo art, but are looking for a more sophisticated way to wear it, try some of the tattoo-inspired clothing and accessories. Here are some examples. For more, put "ed hardy ____ (shoes, handbags, scarves, bikins, etc.)" in your search engine and look out for the flood of options.

Don’t let anyone convince you that your love of tattoos or any trend is an image liability. It’s always possible to make what you love work for your image. Send us your burning image question. It might just inspire our next article!
© Sarah Shah, Imagine Unlimited 2008, All Rights Reserved