I am a canvas of my experiences, my story is etched in lines and shading, and you can read it on my arms, my legs, my shoulders, and my stomach.
Even though tattoos are just ink markings made on the skin, they usually have a greater and deeper meaning behind them. A small tattoo in the shape of a boat or even a bulb at the back of one’s wrist or at the bottom of their spine tells an entire story in itself. It shows a chapter – small or big in the book of one’s life and may hold huge sentimental value. In this new age of growing technology where tattoos have now become acceptable forms of art, they are also used to symbolize greater public movements. Case in point being the Semi-Colon Tattoo Movement which was a movement dedicated to present hope and love to those who struggling with depression, suicide, addiction, and self-injury. Inking a semi colon on one’s body was a reminder of their struggle, victory, and survival against ending their life or suicide.
Drawn as a permanent reminder, the tattoo should be in the least, impressionable. So today at TYS, we bring to you five tattoo artists and cultures from across the globe whose tattoo art is worth looking at.
1. LOVE YOURSELF
Flavia Carvalho is a Brazilian tattoo artist who provides voluntary service for women left with scars from domestic violence and mastectomies. Providing these services free of cost, Carvalho wants women to feel better about their bodies and selves by reclaiming their scars as marks of transformation and strength.
It is wonderful to see how their relationship with their bodies changes after they get the tattoos.
She has named the project ‘A Pele da Flor’ (The Skin of the Flower), and tattoos symbols of beauty, sensitivity, and growth like blooming flowers and flying birds on the scars of the victims, turning feelings of shame into self-love.
Image Courtesy: Huffington Post
2. TATTOO TRANSFORMATION
In a series called ‘Ugly becomes beautiful’, photographer Eric Lafforgue captured the tattooed women of the Chin culture in north western Myanmar. A long time ago the royalty used to come to the villages to kidnap young women and to prevent this the men from the tribe tattooed their women to make them ugly and save them from a life of slavery. Over time, though, it became a declining practice and the tattoos became symbols of culture and beauty.
In his immersive images, Lafforgue provides a rare glimpse into a practice that, tested by modernity, transforms notions of “ugliness” into the diverse beauty of tradition and cultural meaning.
Image Courtesy: Beautiful Decay
3. COLOUR ME BRIGHT
Truly treating the body as a canvas, Czech artist Ondrej Konupik offers organic and original watercolor brush strokes and ink splatters on a tattoo. Providing each customer with a custom made tattoo, he inks them with impressive animals like lions, wolves, elephants among other simpler objects.
Taking care of only one customer a day, he has to feel a connection to the subject before starting the process of tattooing. He wants to know on a deep level the story behind the tattoo and then illustrate their wishes and desires from what they reveal.
It is my task in the design process to illustrate exactly what the client has long desired for their own original tattoo.
Image Courtesy: Ondrash
4. INKED WORK
Tattoo artist Oozy hails from South Korea and inks people with the tools of their professions. His detailed monochrome works frequently feature kitchen tools like knives, egg beaters for chefs; a needle and thread for a tailor or even an axe for a woodcutter. If a person spends all day working with those tools and loves their work, why not have them inked?
We must acknowledge Oozy’s unique and creative idea also bringing out the passion and drive behind a worker’s tools.
Image Courtesy: Facebook
5. MINIMAL TATTOO ART
American photographer Austin Tott in his series ‘Tiny Tattoos’ has captured a series of images that match miniature, hand-drawn body art to backgrounds from which they draw visual reference. Drawn in black ink on the wrist, these tiny tattoos of trees, bicycles and envelopes are then held up among various landscapes and sets drawing out a parallel between them.
Quotation marks are surrounded by stacks of books and a sail boat rests on the surface of a map–these minimalistic and symbolic tattoos form part of an dreamy photograph that completely captivates the viewer.
Image Courtesy: Tott
We hope that these tattoos etched forever on the bodies of these ink-loving humans were able to captivate and leave a similar lasting impression on your minds, satisfying that creative itch of yours!