Tattoo Designs – Art Or Wasted Ink?

Tattoo Designs – Art Or Wasted Ink?

Let’s face it. People have opinions about tattoos. Discussion boards and forums go nuts with people passionately defending their side of the debate (to the point I had to set up a website about it!). One of the main questions in this war of words… should tattoos and tattoo designs be considered art?

After sifting through many responses, it seems all boil down to this:

Can the human body be a canvas for which a work of art may be painted on?

You might think, yes, of course. But why are people so strongly against it as an art form then? I see a lot of people look at modern art and say “I don’t get it” without getting passionate about the question. So what’s the difference when it comes to tattoos? Does the fact that the drawings are on a human body have anything to do with it? If the same tattoo designs that you see on our skin were painted on a canvas, would the onlooker have such strong feelings against it? No, probably not.

Why is this?

It might come down to a person’s beliefs, and what he or she regards as being right and wrong for the body. This would definitely impact things. Most people against tattoos don’t believe someone can look at destruction and self-degradation as being “art”. To take it to another level, it’s as if you looked at a city leveled by war and attacks, saw all of the death and destruction laying before you, and decided you would call it art. You may have the right to call it what you want, but there would be a pretty long line waiting to tell you otherwise.

So maybe it has nothing to do with the tattoo designs, then. Perhaps it all stems from whether or not you think tattoos are harmful towards the body. If it comes to this, the issue is never going to be settled, because people hold different views of what is best for the body. I mean, this subject touches religion as well as hygiene, and turns itself into a much longer article. So let’s dismiss this point from the discussion and go on…

Where do the lines fall when it comes to tattoos being art? Is getting a tattoo a form of self expression on a rare and perishable canvas? Should we respect it as “art” because it exemplifies a high degree of intention? Or should we be able to shake our heads at the works that, simply put, are ridiculous?

As we all know, art is always in the eyes of the beholder, but the ‘art of the times’ is different matter. It reflects the current artistic state of society, and it’s ever changing. It’s often pointed out how some art is ahead of it’s time, and how the public that isn’t ready to experience it yet. But, is that true for tattoos today? Are tattoo designs on the human body an art form that will come about in time? Or do we not want as a public to accept them? Are they just fads that will never really become art?

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