The success of shows like LA Ink, Miami Ink and West Side Tattoo show just how popular the mainstream tattoo market really is. What started with one, surprisingly successful reality show has ended up spinning off into more shows, coupled with drama, and only half about the tattoos. What is still evident in these programs, all drama aside, is that people want tattoos that mean something to them, and go much deeper than the surface level of skin.
Star Studded Ink
Kat Von D would probably not be famous if not for her body art. Even as her guest appearance turned into her own show, the art would only play a small part in the scheme of things. This is just how it seems to be in Hollywood. Other stars have been demonized and idolized for their ink, including Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Eminem, 50 Cent, Pamela Anderson and hundreds more. Simply watch a basketball game in the NBA and you'll see full sleeves and massive tattoos spread all over the bodies of the players. One has to ask…is it the status of having a tattoo that makes a person get one, or is it the tattoo that gives the person added notoriety?
Exhibitionism is nothing new to the social elite of the world. Many of them were out to be famous from the get go. Adding a tattoo to their repertoire may have been another way to get noticed or set them apart from the others in their field. Some people though, don't need body art to be seen. Take Justin Timberlake for instance. He was massively famous before he started collecting his tats. Lenny Kravitz is another singer that added body art to his already successful music career. David Beckham wasn't able to score more goals because of his extensive ink, he did that naturally. Tattoo designs can even accentuate an actor or performer, and enhance their look. Take a look at The Rock. His bulging muscles and charisma took him from sports to stage wrestling and into acting, and the tattoo designs he chose made his muscles jump right out and grab you.
Bold But Not So Beautiful
There are, of course, those infamous tattoo ideas that could have been and should have been forgotten. Most notably was the tribal facial fu**up by Mike Tyson. He was a badass before, but looked like a dumbass afterwards. Even his sweet, good guy image he is portraying now can't hide the ridiculous choice of tattoo pattern he chose. Cher's choice of a butt tattoo was merely paint on a withering canvass. Britney's tattoo choices certainly did not help her retain her sanity during her meltdown. Same goes for her ex-hubby. Kevin Federline , try as he may, couldn't use his tattoos to boost his singing career or help him dance any better. Some times it just doesn't make sense to waste good ink.
Stay True to Your Self
It is easy to follow the crowds and want to emulate those people that we see as successful. It doesn't mean that we have to believe in everything they do and blindly act impulsively in the same way they have. Tattoos are awesome, and can really bring joy into your life. The experience of choosing a design, the excitement of showing up for your appointment, the chill felt when the buzzzzzing machine starts to fire up in the hands of your artist, the pain of getting exactly what you asked for, and the burning pleasure of looking at your freshly inked skin are all part of the kiss-ass process. Be true to yourself, and be smart. Get a tattoo because it is really what you want, what you feel in the pit of your stomach. Choose a design and artist that understands you and enjoy the hell out of getting your new tattoo!
Copyright © 2011 Carsten Maglekaer
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