Walk Through the History of Tattoos in America
Walk Through the History of Tattoos in America
The Americas have a rich tradition of tattooing. Continue reading here to find out more about the history of tattoos in America.
Thinking about getting a tattoo? Do it! You’ll be joining the many that have come to understand the rich art that is tattooing.
Though, tattooing wasn’t always viewed that way.
Before you go jumping the gun, let’s take a look at the history of tattoos in America. You’ll be surprised to find how this art form has developed, and may even find inspiration for your next piece!
Let’s dive in.
Early History of Tattoos in America
Towards the end of the 19th century, tattoos were widely considered taboo in America. Socialite Ward McAllister had this to say about them: “It is certainly the most vulgar and barbarous habit the eccentric mind of fashion ever invented. It may do for an illiterate seaman, but hardly for an aristocrat.”
Though socialites like McAllister may have looked upon tattoos with disgust, there were many who valued tattoos for what they represented. Those in the military, especially, shared the understanding that tattoos were symbols of courage and patriotism.
Records of these 19th century-style tattoos were found in naval logs, letters, and diaries written by seaman. The designs of these traditional American tattoos developed from the artists who traded and improved upon each other’s styles. The tattoos evolved a series of stories and symbols that united soldiers and sailors across the World Wars.
The most well-known tattoo artist of the time was Martin Hildebrandt. In 1870, Hildebrandt opened a studio on Oak Street in New York City, considered the first tattooing establishment in America. He worked there for over 20 years, where he would soon see a shift in the country’s perception of tattoos with the rise of the traveling circus.
The Circus Sideshow
The traveling circus was the spectacle of the year for many small, rural towns across America. There, those who never left their homes and farms could experience such wonders and horrors that seemed out of this world.
One of these sideshow attractions was that of the fully tattooed person.
Frank and Emma DeBurdg were one of these exhibits. Along with the usual designs of patriotic insignias and religious symbols, the couple also displayed tattoos they shared to represent their relationship and bond.
Frank had tattooed on him a beautiful script with the words “For Get Me Not” inscribed above a pretty portrait of his wife, Emma. She, in return, had their names beautifully adorned and displayed prominently for all to see.
This display of affection for one another caught the attention of the public, appealing to their romantic senses. The DeBurdgs saw great success touring America and Europe, and with their exposure so did the art of tattooing gain appreciation with the public.
Traditional tattooing was a bit cumbersome for the artist.
Early tattoo artists used a needle attached to a wooden handle. They would dip this needle in ink and then manually stab the skin two to three times to imprint the ink onto a specific spot. The technique required great dexterity and mental fortitude.
Samuel O’Reilly revolutionized the practice almost overnight.
In addition to being a talented artist, O’Reilly was a skilled technician and mechanic. He theorized that if up and down motion of the needle could be automated, the artist could tattoo nearly as quickly as they could draw on paper.
In 1891, O’Reilly released his invention and offered it to the public along with enriched colored inks, tattoo designs, and other tools. Tattooing in the United States was turned on its head overnight. O’Reilly was swarmed with orders for his invention as more and more artists entered the field of tattooing.
Working class men in America commonly adorned tattoos primarily as symbols of masculinity and pride. Soldiers and sailors that served on foreign lands, however, brought home with them a different form of body ornamentation.
While on their travels, these soldiers and sailors experienced the practices and customs of the indigenous cultures of Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific. Their individual uses of tattoos were a bit different from that of typical American art.
This caused a revival of interest in tattoos in American societies across the country. That is to say, specifically, the rebel youth culture of the late twentieth century.
The Beatniks of the 1950s and the Hippies of the ’60s gained a great appreciation for Asian tattooing practices. They admired the personal expression of spiritual and mysticism found in these cultures.
Conversely, the youth of the Punk movement in the ’70s and ’80s used tattoos as symbols of rebellion. They found solace in tattoos as a representation for their feelings of imprisonment by society’s standards for class and decorum.
Modern Tattooing Practices
While tattooing was once a taboo topic in America, now it’s a rising career field for many fledgling artists.
More and more artists are being professionally trained in academies across the country. A study done in the late 1980s estimated that the number of trained artists per year has doubled in comparison to the number of artists that graduated in the ’70s. However, not as many galleries are being built to host the works of these young artists.
But there are plenty of people looking for tattoos.
As a result, these trained artists are bringing with them the plethora of skills and techniques they’ve learned from these art programs. They carry a sense of innovation and experimentation, already giving rise to new tattoo styles such as New Skool and Bio-Mechanical.
What was previously a disdained and marginalized artform, tattooing has been undergoing a process of cultural reform the past few decades. New meanings of tattoo are being developed by gallery exhibits and critics that reframe the practice for what it is: art.
Get Tattooed Today!
There you have it—the rich history of tattoos in America!
If you’re in the area, give us a shout and we can give you an in-depth look at our history with tattooing. Our artists are always happy to give a consultation on any tattoo or design!
Inking Your Love of Books: The Top Tattoo Ideas for Bookworms
Are you someone who always has their head in a book? If so, read on to learn about the top book tattoo ideas for bookworms.
Are you a literature lover in need of a new tattoo?
You’re not alone. 4 of 10 U.S. adults have at least one tattoo, visible or not.
Tattooed individuals are also unlikely to stop at just one inking. That first tattoo often inspires more, especially if you’ve found a tattoo artist who truly understands your creative expression.
The sky really is the limit when it comes to tattoo designs, though. If you’re a bookworm in need of some inspiration, keep reading (pun intended).
In this post, we discuss the top book tattoo ideas every word lover is likely to appreciate. Read on!
1. Fluttering Pages
Most bookworms adore the smell of the pages of a new novel plucked from a bookstore shelf. There’s nothing quite like the feel of fluttering pages, either, even if you have your Kindle on you at all times.
Express your profound love of the page by literally inking it into your skin. Your booklover’s tattoo may, for example, involve the image of an open book with fluttering pages.
The best designs we’ve seen portray some of these pages actually fluttering out of the book itself. Some of these loose sheaves turn into birds, taking flight out of the book and across your skin.
With the fluttering page design, simpler is better. We recommend leaving text out of this design, letting the image of fluttering, blank pages stand on its own.
2. Animals and Books
Do you crave curling up with a book next to your beloved feline?
Plenty of literature lovers would agree that animals and books pair extremely well together. Consider getting a tattoo that displays your adoration for both.
An iconic image in this regard is an animal perching on top of a stack of books. If you like owls, get a tattoo of a Great Snowy White with its claws digging into your favorite texts.
If you’re more into claws than feathers, dream up a design that shows a kitty leaning up against a tower of books. If you don’t like the idea of a stack of books, stick with just one text.
Other animals that make for an excellent design include birds, wolves, and jungle creatures.
3. The Magic in the Pages
Books can really be magical, inviting anyone to step into another world for a short spell. If you’ve caught the allure of reading, express this in a tattoo.
Your tattoo may show an open book whose pages are actually the cresting waves of an ocean, for example.
Or you may ask your tattoo artist to inscribe the image of a book surrounded by the cosmos, including stars and moons.
Love Harry Potter? Pair the image of a book with a wand, wizard’s staff, or ancient rune.
This is a great design for individuals who want a colored tattoo.
4. Literary Quotes
You likely can recall a few sentences from your favorite books. Why not make those sentences a part of you?
Inscribe a quote of the first line of your favorite novel on your forearm. Or ask your tattoo artist to ink a few words from your favorite poem in a circlet around your ankle.
If you’re having trouble coming up with some great literary quotes, check out this article for inspiration.
If you do choose to get a literary quote as a tattoo, think carefully about how you would like those words arranged. Sometimes it’s nice to inscribe quotes into tattooed banners or ribbons, for example.
Or perhaps you want to display a quote with the image of a book as its background.
Your tattoo artist can help you explore other ideas about using quotes, too.
5. Quills, Quills, Quills
Pay homage to the ancient past of books by getting a tattoo of a quill and/or ink bottle.
The image of a quill is easy to incorporate into almost any tattoo design, because it is so feathery, light, and tapered. This makes it ideal to use in larger-scale and smaller-scale designs.
In fact, if you are getting your first tattoo, you may be thinking of a smaller, more discreet design. A quill is perfectly suited to this, especially if you tattoo a tiny quill on your wrist.
If you’re musing about how best to show off your literary quote, why not get a tattoo of the image of a quill actually writing that quote on your skin?
6. The Art of Reading Itself
If quills aren’t your jam, you can always resort to a classic of book tattoos: the image of the reader. In this book tattoo design, we get an actual glimpse of someone in the act of reading.
This reader doesn’t necessarily have to be you.
You can get a tattoo that shows an animal reading a book, for example. Or you can merely suggest a reader with the image of a pair of hands gripping an open book.
Another tattoo design that celebrates the art of reading may show someone reading a book on a windowsill, gazing out at the stars.
7. A Sleeve of Books
If you’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo sleeve, consider one made entirely of inked pages or the titles of your favorite books.
You may also wish to inscribe an entire poem or favorite paragraph on an arm (or both).
Bookworms may also appreciate the idea of bookshelves wrapping around a forearm or tricep. If you want a subtler sleeve, return to the fluttering pages idea, and inscribe loose sheets of paper fluttering up and down your biceps.
Final Thoughts: The Best Book Tattoo Ideas
Tattoos give us all a creative opportunity to showcase our passions. If your passion involves books, why not permanently etch this love into your skin?
When it comes to book tattoo designs, most people opt for the image of a book itself. An open book with fluttering pages can do nicely here.
Or you may wish to combine the image of a book with other things, such as sprouting flowers, animals, or stars.
You can also always get a tattoo of your favorite quote from literature.
Hungry for more tattoo inspiration? Check out this post on tattoo trends you don’t want to miss!
Everything You Need to Know About Glow in the Dark Tattoos
Glow in the Dark Tattoos – Everything You Need to Know
Have you been considering whether or not to buy into the trend of glow in the dark tattoos? We break down everything you need to know, including the good, the bad, and the questionable.
Every year, there are new fads and trends which become popular for a few months throughout the year. These inevitably die off before the strike of midnight. The trends of 2018 got a little weird. Anyone remember the male rompers?
While some trends such as the one named above are more for entertainment, other fads take off among Pinterest users and health-obsessors alike, such as the keto diet.
The popularity and acceptance of tattoos have raised drastically over the years. In fact, four out of ten U.S. adults aged 18 to 69 have at least one tattoo. This leads to the 2018 trend of glow in the dark tattoos.
If you’re considering getting a glow in the dark tattoo, continue reading. We have the facts and answer popular questions we know we’re wondering about. Read on!
What are Glow in the Dark Tattoos?
There are two types of glow in the dark tats – which make new or old pieces almost-invisible to the naked eye. The ink jobs typically contain bright, fluorescent colors which are invisible in daylight.
The tattoo ink used is an ultraviolet (UV) ink. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t contain the chemical compound phosphorus – the stuff used in glow sticks. This new UV ink doesn’t glow in the dark but instead becomes visible under black lights.
There are two different types of UV ink used to create these neon tats. As mentioned earlier, they don’t have the capabilities to glow on their own unless put under a UV light or a blacklight.
Invisible UV Ink
Invisible UV ink isn’t visible to the naked eye. By itself, the skin may appear red or slightly raised until you put a black light over it. For a different look, you can get invisible UV ink under or over regular tattoos to give it a glowing effect.
This ink is made from fluorescent ink, but if made properly it doesn’t contain any phosphors or other toxic chemicals.
Colored UV Ink
The other type of UV ink is colored. These look like regular tattoos until you get under a UV light. The tattoo will start to glow, the colors turning to a more fluorescent palette.
To make these tattoos more striking and noticeable, people will often use them in combination with invisible UV ink.
We know some trends aren’t for everyone, but tattoo trends seem to have caught many people’s attention. Know the good and the bad about glow in the dark tattoos to make an informed decision about your newest ink addition.
Invisible UV inks are a good choice for those who have strict workplace guidelines on visible body art and piercings. Not only will these make you more professional in the workplace, but it makes a tattoo more impressive once it becomes visible with the pop of fluorescents and colors.
There are more than 45 million people who have tattoos in the United States. Due to this high statistic, it makes having a one-of-a-kind tattoo almost impossible. UV ink tattoos are rare and unique, helping you stand out or blend in.
Despite how beautiful and mesmerizing these inks are, they do have some drawbacks to consider before making your next appointment.
Another problem some tattoo enthusiasts have come across is a reputable tattoo shop which will do this kind of ink, or carries the right kind. The UV ink is harder to work with, and some artists are inexperienced with using this kind that they’ll overwork the area.
Though fading can happen in regular tattoos, especially after extreme sun exposure, fading is more likely to happen in UV tattoos. They have a short lifespan with regular touch-ups required at least every few years.
Due to how young glow in the dark tattoos are there are still many questions about them. While we’ll have to wait and see about the long-term effects, we do have some answers to the most asked questions below.
Are Glow in the Dark Tattoos safe?
We mentioned earlier the above tattoo inks don’t use phosphorus, but there are many side effects to consider. While some tattoos are rejected by the wearer’s skin, these glow in the dark tats are rejected more frequently than typical ink.
In some cases, the skin becomes so irritated and uncomfortable the tattoo has to be removed altogether.
As of now, UV ink seems to be safe minus the side effects and allergic reactions recorded in some cases.
How Long Do They Last?
Glow in the dark tattoos should have the same lifespan as a regular tattoo, but, they do fade over time. As mentioned earlier, because this is a new trend the full effects of the UV ink are still unknown.
Are They FDA Approved?
The FDA continually researches the effects of regular tattoos and it is important to note that they have not officially approved UV ink or any tattoo ink.
Glow in the Dark Tattoos
It’s hard to tell whether the glow in the dark tattoo trend will continue to grow in popularity or if it will fade as others have in the past.
Until then, it’s important to learn as much information as possible about them before deciding on a permanent addition, whether you use UV ink or not.
Make sure to consider all the pros and cons before making your decision, and if you notice a skin reaction like the ones stated above, contact your tattoo artist immediately. For more information on tattoos or to make a consultation at one of our locations, contact us!
15 Timeless Wrist Tattoos You’ll Want to Show Off
15 Timeless Wrist Tattoos You’ll Want to Show Off
If you’re browsing ideas for wrist tattoos but you want something you’ll love decades down the road, our list of timeless ideas will help spur your imagination and find the perfect match. Take a look!
Are you looking for a classic but unique tattoo idea for your wrist? The wrist is an awesome spot for tattoos.
It’s important to choose a tattoo that has meaning for you. Luckily, there are some classic tattoo ideas that have many different meanings.
Choosing an idea for your wrist is a big decision. While it’s not as exposed as your shoulder, wrist tattoos are conversation-starters. Keep reading for 15 awesome wrist tattoo ideas.
1. Minimalist Astronomy
Astronomy is very trendy in the tattoo world. Stars, planets, and moons all create a mythical and dreamy vibe. Some people choose to get the moon in a specific lunar phase that is important to them.
They’re also usually quite small tattoos with little elaboration. This makes them great options for first-time inkers. Since the wrist is a smaller area, minimalist tattoos are ideal.
2. A Portrait
Everyone experiences loss at some point in their life. For many of us, we want to commemorate that lost loved one with a tattoo.
Portraits make awesome tributes to a lost friend or family member. The wrist makes for a smaller portrait with less detail, but still characteristic. Make sure you hire an artist with experience in realism and portraits.
3. Handwritten Script
There’s something so special about having your grandparent’s handwriting tattooed. It’s like they wrote it permanently on you.
It’s also popular to have children write something for a tattoo. Wrists are the perfect spot for handwritten script because they’re compact. The writing won’t overwhelm the space, but you can still look down and see it every day.
4. Botany and Flowers
Men and women love getting botanical and floral tattoos. For some, the type of plant has meaning to them. For others, they like the adornment created by floral patterns.
The most common flowers tattooed are roses, dandelions, and lotuses.
The mandala is an ancient design in Hinduism and Buddhism. It represents cycles and the universe.
Even if you don’t follow a religion, mandalas make beautiful wrist tattoos. They adorn the wrist with a unique and exquisite pattern.
It’s quite common to get jewelry tattoos, especially for friendship bracelets. The artist can even make the bracelet look like its hanging on the wrist.
Many people choose to get jewelry tattooed on if they have strong metal allergies. Or, to remember a family heirloom.
Millennials love their travel-themed tattoos. They represent freedom, exploration, and discovery. Plus, they can be specific to where you’ve traveled or important places to you.
Some common travel themed tattoos are compasses, world maps, and anchors. Anchors are especially popular with people who find meaning in the sea.
8. Words to Live By
Quotes are super popular all over the world. Phrases and certain words capture us and provide meaning. Tattooing them on our body helps us to remember that meaning every day.
Many quotes are from classic novels and songs. Others are common words that hold immense meaning, like “love” or “hope”.
9. Blackout Bands
Blackout tattoos are all the rage. While some may think they lack creativity, blacking out a section of your body can be very creative. Its lack of detail provides meaning to the wearer.
The wrist is a great spot for blackout band tattoos. Although it may be a bit more painful than others, it looks super cool.
We all follow a direction in our lives, some forward and some to our roots. Arrows are excellent symbols to represent where we’re going.
Some get tattoos of arrows on their wrist to remember to keep moving forward. Or, to remember where they came from.
11. Family Coat of Arms
The family coat of arms is a common icon in many cultures. It’s usually passed down through generations and has a strong meaning. Tattooing the family shield on your body shows allegiance and loyalty.
The shield is a perfect shape for the wrist. Although the space is small, it’s a notable spot for a coat of arms.
12. Birds and Feathers
Birds can have varying meaning for tattoo enthusiasts. The species of bird also changes the meaning. And, for some people, bird tattoos look pretty and have no meaning.
Doves are the most popular bird to get tattooed. It represents love and faith. Cardinals and crows are also very popular. Feather tattoos are on the rise; they can represent the fragility of life.
13. Crosses and Religious Iconography
Religion is a huge part of human identity (if you subscribe to it). For many believers, getting a tattoo is a show of faith. It demonstrates your beliefs and reminds you of them each day.
Some people get crosses, saints, and other iconography. The meanings are as broad as the number of religions in the world.
14. Non-English Text
While English text is special, using the language of your background is even more. People who grow up speaking English can get a tattoo with their ancestors’ language.
Not only is the text itself symbolic, but the language chosen is symbolic. It represents your roots and heritage.
Is there a special place in the world where you experienced something magical? It could be where you got married, found enlightenment, or found freedom. Or, it could be your family home or the town you grew up in.
Coordinate tattoos are a way to remember that life-changing location and moment. The numbers of the coordinates won’t mean much to outsiders. But, people who know you and know the place will see the meaning in it.
Want More Ideas of Wrist Tattoos?
The wrist is a perfect spot to get a tattoo. While it’s not the biggest surface area, it isn’t the most painful spot either.
There are so many awesome and beautiful tattoos that fit perfectly on the wrist. From text to flowers to symbols, the options are endless.
You can learn more about tattoos on our blog and contact us if you have any questions. We have tattoo shops in Las Vegas, Henderson and Maui Good luck!
Biomechanical Tattoo Designs and Their History
Biomechanical Tattoo Designs and Their History
Popularized in the late 1970s, the biomechanical tattoo style may be a relatively new one. But it still has quite the interesting history to offer. Learn more here!
Have you seen an intricately detailed tattoo which resembles something along the lines of half forearm, half machine?
This is known as a biomechanical tattoo. It’s one of the most identifiable, statement-making tattoo styles on the market today. It’s also one of the newest tattoo styles with a very unique history and background influence.
If you’re keen to learn more about this influential tattoo style, read on! We’ll outline everything you need to know in this post.
A Brief History of the Biomechanical Tattoo
Also known as a biomech tattoo, this style of tattoo artistry was actually born in an era where tattoo traditionalism was at its peak.
As you can imagine, this controversial style which combines the human form and mechanics truly made itself known. The style itself was both pioneered and popularized by two well-known tattoo artists of their time: Guy Aitchison and Aaron Cain.
However, the true history of biomechanical tattoo designs is credited to H.R. Giger, the architect of this organic meets mechanic style.
Both Aitchison and Cain’s tattoo style brought with it bold color and an element of luminescence. Conversely, Giger’s original style was described as devoid of color and highly concentrated on his signature airbrushing technique.
Over the past few decades, since the biomechanical trend took off in 1979, both Aitchison and Cain’s original biomech style has fluctuated in popularity.
The Birth of the Biomechanical Aesthetic
The year was 1979. The sci-fi/horror film genre was about to be forever changed with the birth of the cult classic film, Alien.
The artistic genius behind the forms in this graphic film was H.R Giger, the artist credited with developing the biomechanical aesthetic.
Essentially, biomech combines a greasy, visceral form with hard, metal-like structures. Put simply, it’s a combination of both organic matter and mechanics. This artistic style still carries some serious weight throughout the film, music, and art industries today.
As a painter and artist, Giger worked to create a medium that combined human forms with alien shapes and viscera. His work became massively popularized in the 1980s, thanks to his association with outsider art groups in the horror film and punk music scenes.
His signature biomech style was then cultivated into what it is today. We now know it as biomechanical tattoo designs, along with many other artistic variations.
What’s the Meaning Behind Biomech Tattoos?
Most people prefer to view their love for biomechanical design as a love for all things sci-fi and horror related.
Art is always open to interpretation. Therefore there could be any number of reasons a person chooses a biomech tattoo sleeve. It’s been said that many people choose biomechanical design as a representation of something ”dark” or ”alien” living inside them.
This could refer to dealing with inner demons or a dark past. The wearer may even be harboring some sort of ”alien” alter-ego that not many people know about.
This tattoo style has also become popular simply because of its intricate aesthetic that many people want to replicate.
Key Characteristics of Biomechanical Tattoos
Most commonly, biomechanical tattoos will be represented by the following characteristics:
- Torn flesh or an open, gaping wound on the tattoo wearer.
- This open wound usually reveals mechanical joints, tubes, and wires which replace muscle and bone.
- The tattoo may represent something mechanical, technical, or alien in nature.
- Most tattoos are designed to depict a sinewy appearance using bold color.
This being said, there are two subsets of this tattoo style present today. One subset tends to focus on the mechanical, technical side of biomech design. The other focuses on the alien, organic, visceral aspect.
4 Quickfire Tattoo Facts
How good is your tattoo knowledge? If you’re looking to brush up on a few interesting facts, keep on reading.
1. Tattoo Identification
Tattoos were once used as a simple form of identification by Native Americans and sailors. Due to the fact that many Native Americans were illiterate, they used pictures and tattoos as a way of signing their names.
Likewise, sailors who failed to keep track of identity documents would rely on tattoos to confirm their identity.
In 1936, the social security number was invented. This saw hoards of people having these numbers tattooed on their skin as a form of identification.
2. Thomas Edison Invented the Electric Pen
The electric pen was an incredible invention in the world of tattoo artistry. It was invented by none other Thomas Edison.
The electric pen went on to streamline the tattoo industry, making it quicker, cheaper and more accessible to everyone. Originally, the electric pen was invented to reproduce handwritten manuscripts.
Soon it evolved into the artistic tool it is today.
3. Tattoos Used to Be a Symbol of High-Class America
In 1862, the Prince of Wales visited Jerusalem and got a tattoo. This spurred on a similar trend amongst other European royals.
By the 1890s, the trend had made its way across the ocean to the shores of America. Much of high society was keen to join the trend.
In 1900, up to 75% of New York’s high-class socialites sported a tattoo design. It was a true sign of upper-class indulgences at the time!
4. The Macy’s Logo Is a Tattoo Design
The highly successful department store logo is none other than a simple tattoo design. It’s taken from the hand of Mr. R.H Macy himself.
As a teenager, he had the five-pointed red star tattooed on his hand when aboard a whaling ship in 1837. The star was meant to represent the American flag.
Later, it went on to be used as the popularized logo we know today.
Looking to Get Inked?
Are you going to be in the Las Vegas area and looking to get inked? Make your way to Skin Factory Tattoo & Body Piercing for expert artists.
At Skin Factory, we take pride in offering a truly personalized service. Whether you’re looking for a biomechanical tattoo or something simpler, our artists can do it all.
For a high-quality tattoo experience at affordable rates, we are your Las Vegas go-to! Take a look out our Vegas artistry work here.