The Art of the Tattoo
There has been a lot of debate over the years whether or not tattoos are art. While previously subjected to harsh social stigma (and often still a source of prejudice), the general view of the artistic value of tattoos has shifted over the years, with artists and collectors accepting this once subversive art form as something intrinsically meaningful.
Some of the same critics who eschewed tattoos as crass or vulgar have now gone so far as to identify them as “high art” worth money and a spot in a museum. From tribal tattoos to modern images, museums are including body art as examples of cultural expression. And why not? As Kosinski said, "The principle of true art is not to portray, but to evoke" (Franklin, The New Yorker, 3/27/17).
In 1995, the New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman declared that tattoos were most interesting to the art world because of their “outsider status,” comparing them to “self-taught art, prison art, and art of the insane.” (https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/12/tattoos-high-art/416769/). They’ve also been likened to street art and graffiti. However, some tattoo designers object to the label of tattoo as traditional “art,” since they require a living canvas to truly reach their aesthetic meaning.
But even when the images aren’t housed in the world of fine art or declared to be “of value,” doesn’t a tattoo still fit the criteria? Consider the dictionary definition. “Art. Noun. The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power" (OED, online).
In my opinion, tattoos are beautiful, whatever you classify them as: I have two myself, one for each of my sons. I got each of their names and a corresponding image tattooed on my shoulders shortly after their respective births: Dylan, “son of the sea,” is a seahorse on my left side; Tyler, named after Ty Murry (my favorite cowboy) is on the right with his horseshoe.
Just as artists pour themselves into their creations and step back to reflect upon the finished product—a work that may change in meaning based on time and perception—I am a mother, who stands in awe of my two amazing, complicated, dynamic sons. Motherhood is important to me, but it’s not the only way I define myself. I am an entrepreneur. A creator. A communicator. A hustler. I believe in hard work and loyalty, and I want those values reflected in my personal and professional endeavors. For that reason, I have chosen to add one more tattoo to the two works of art I already have, both of which reflect my love for my children. This one will represent my third amazing creation—this company. I am proud to have KATT Communications transformed into artwork and that my clients, coworkers, friends, and family will have the chance to choose the design. Tattoos are art. Art is communication. I want to express my love and appreciation for my industry and my company in a form of art that I adore…and I want the image to be chosen by you. Below are our top 10 entries. Check them out, because they were cleverly-conceived and thoughtfully suggested. Then we've narrowed it down to our top two, which are posted on our site for your consideration. Please vote on our Facebook page!