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Tattoos as Art

From traditional Folklife tattooing to the evolving methods and styles of tattooing (watercolor, biomechanical, pixels, dot work), tattoos are the unsung contributions to the world of art.

In 2013, Buzzfeed compiled a listicle of 13 brilliant tattooists who are contributing to the new artistic stylings: (link)

The Smithsonian Center of Folklife and Cultural Heritage held a 2012 exhibit on tattoos, and the New York Times profiled a 2013 Highbrow Ink exhibit regarding the artistry of tattoos.

In what ways do tattoos conform to artistic norms and practices, and in what ways are they still regarded as culturally inferior expressions of art? Examine the bias (and growing acceptance) to tattoo culture, and draw parallels to how similar bias existed regarding modern art, living art, and various other forms artistic expression throughout history.

  • As someone with numerous tattoos--many of which, if not all, are inspired by literary and poetic works--I love this topic! There is always a debate regarding whether or not tattoo artists can truly be considered artists. This is asinine, especially due to the amount of time and skill implemented in the sketches for tattoos. Great inclusion of the exhibit featured at the Smithsonian! I know a few people who went and said it was amazing. I do hope this topic gets picked up...great conversation piece! – danielle577 4 years ago
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  • There's currently an exhibit on until September at the ROM in Toronto called "Tattoos. Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art.", which explores the history of tattoos (and highlights how so many traditions were destroyed by colonialism...). It was fascinating, and I would highly recommend checking it out for sources. – tmorand 4 years ago
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  • Interesting art form that combines the traditional and the avant-garde! – jcsart 4 years ago
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