Dscribe’s Nathalie Silva talks tattoos with those who hate them, those who are covered in them, those who regret getting them and those to ink them.
Tattoos are part of mainstream society that creates a division between people who love them, and people who loathe them.
Reality TV shows like Miami Ink have popped up on media networks, popular social media pages have millions of dedicated followers to the tattoo culture and you would be hard pressed not to sneak a look at someone’s body art during a yoga class.
One in five Australians have some form of ink on their body, according to McCrindle Researchers, so you’d think, when it comes to tattoos, the negative and judgemental stigmas associated with them would no longer exist today.
But that is not the case.
There are a number of stereotypical diverse views of tattoos in society; a number of perspective employers still consider them taboo, some refuse to acknowledge it as body art and some individuals openly despise them.
Rachel Visser believes tattoos are ugly and rejects the theory they are a form of artistic expression, she considers them to be just a fad and should only be done for cultural purposes.
“Art is displayed on walls, not on bodies, and the permanency of them is a sticking point for me as I don’t understand why some people claim to have tattoos for sentimental values and choose to express it on their bodies,” she said.
Tattoos have existed since the beginning of human history. The word derives from the Tahitian ‘tatu’ which means ‘to mark something’ and date back to 3100 BC.
Findings have proved that tattoos always were practised and had an important role in ritual, tradition and cultures throughout history across the globe since Neolithic times.
Fast forward to 2017 and, despite the growing popularity and attraction of this form of personal expression, tattoo artist Frank Aqualina believes society still holds prejudices against tattoos.
“They are more acceptable than they used to be but the stigma will never disappear, especially with the older generation, and because they are permanent, the placing of them is very important so we won’t tattoo necks, hands or faces,” he told Dscribe.
McCrindle Researchers released a report last year that found Australians spend millions of dollars each year on ink.
For those who have tattoos, almost half (48%) only have one, followed by 30 per cent that have two to three tattoos, and a further 15 per cent have between four and nine, another seven per cent have 10 or more
Suffice to say, tattoos have become more accepted in society as a whole and many around the world have invested time and money on them.
Tyne McPherson has spent more than $20,000 on tattoos over 25-years and, despite the judgements from people, he has no regrets with any of his tattoos as each one has a sentimental meaning.
“I have portraits of my daughters and portrait of my father that I always carry with me because if we just have photos, they could be gone in a house fire but I know that with tattoos, I always carry them with me”, he said.
“I am definitely judged when I’m wearing shorts and T-shirts because people think you’re a hoodlum or a drug addict and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.
Mr Aqualina said laser removal was available for those who regret their tattoos, but he advised people to choose a style, print it out and view it daily for six months before permanently tattooing it onto their bodies.
Peggy Greenslade was out with friends one night and made the spontaneous decision to get a tattoo, which she now regrets.
“My tattoo on my outer right ankle holds no meaning and I never quite liked it so I would love to have it removed, it’s lost its colour and doesn’t look nice at my age”, she said.
Despite the popularity of tattoos, society’s diverse views on them will always exist and as the tattoo culture and industry evolves, the gap between those who love them and loathe them may get smaller and smaller.