Exploring the Bold Elegance and History of Blackwork Tattoos
Blackwork tattoos have been around for centuries and have a simple, bold elegance. Learn about the origins of the style and get inspired for your next tattoo.
Exploring the Elegance and History of Blackwork Tattoos
Roughly 15% of people in the United States have a tattoo. Tattoos have been around for thousands of years. One of the first civilizations to practice tattooing was the Polynesians. Though most cultures have their own traditions and styles of tattooing, only some have seen a revival in the modern day.
Polynesian tattooing is one such tradition that has found new life in an art style known as Blackwork tattoos. But what is Blackwork, and where does it come from? The answer to those questions awaits you below.
What are Blackwork tattoos?
This isn’t an easy question to answer. The simplest definition is that it’s a style of tattooing that uses large amounts of black ink–hence the name–to create the image of the tattoo.
Oftentimes, Blackwork tattooing incorporates themes and symbols from tribal and geometric designs. It’s also known to have thick lines and uses no color.
Technical definitions aside, describing Blackwork tattoos as ‘a style that uses a lot of black’ is like describing impressionist paintings as ‘made entirely with dots.’ Sure, it’s true, but it only tells us how it’s made, not why it’s done, what it’s about and what inspired it.
Blackwork tattoo artists
This is especially true with Blackwork tattoos because the style as a whole has great range. While some may use it specifically for tribal designs, and others for geometric designs, some artists do both themes and more.
Some artists infuse them with futuristic designs to create an amazing image and a fitting metaphor for the timeless conflict of past versus future, tradition versus change, and where we come from versus where we hope to end up.
History and tradition are important topics when it comes to art. Our perception is heavily based on who we are and what we’ve experienced.
For instance, think of the famous piece American Gothic. Looking at it may bring a lot of different thoughts.
History and tradition
Some viewers might experience national pride. Others may gain a renewed strength against the struggles in their own lives, while others might yearn for a simpler life.
However, knowing that someone created the piece during the Great Depression may change your perspective. Perhaps you don’t see the painting as an image of pride anymore, or strength or simplicity. Perhaps those original feelings are even stronger now.
If things have changed, maybe it’s now an image of fear or hope. The painting seems to say ‘this is all we have and all we know, and we can only hope it’ll be here tomorrow.’
With the relationship between art and perspective in mind, let’s look at the history of Blackwork tattoos.
History of Blackwork
Blackwork traces its origins to the Ancient Polynesians, who used tattoos to identify themselves. Polynesians had tattoos for everything from age, to gender, to the status of the family.
The Polynesians weren’t the first culture to use tattoos for identification. Maori’s are famous for their tattoos. The more tattoos one had, the better warrior they were. Much like the Maori, the Ancient Celts wore their tattoos proudly, and today Celtic symbols are among the most common in tattooing, including Blackwork.
In the latter half of the 18th century, Polynesian tattooing found its way west with the help of the famous Captain Cook.
While in Tahiti
Cook took a liking to the Polynesians’ style of tattooing. When he returned to England, word of the tattoos went with him, and soon tribal tattoos became common among blue-collar Europeans.
It took a while for the practice to become acceptable at other levels of society, but they did catch on. This development is somewhat recent. Ask your parents or grandparents. Chances are, they still remember when soldiers and bikers were the only ones with tattoos.
Originally, tattoo artists inserted ink under the skin with a sharpened instrument. They used a blunt object to tap the back of the sharp instrument, thus depositing the ink under the skin.
This is the process modern tattooing is based on. Even so, some tattoo artists still insist on the traditional method.
Among this latter group are many of the peoples whose traditions inspired modern tattoos, practicing their traditions in the same way they have always done. We should preserve traditions, even with the passing of time.
With the advancement of technology and the changing of attitudes over time, tattoos are more prevalent, and today a large percentage of people have them.
As the popularity of tattoos increased, so did the creativity put into them. What was once a style exclusively based on Polynesian and other tribal designs has now evolved into a genre all its own
Tattoo it Black
The word ‘tattoo’ comes from a Tahitian word, and, in a way, it is the perfect metaphor for the artwork it describes. Many cultures use tattoos for different purposes.
The Romans used them to identify servants and slaves. Egyptian women used them for healing and to symbolize their status as a priestess. Polynesians had tattoos to represent everything about themselves, from who they were to who they loved.
In these past few hundred years, tattoos have spread across the world. Styles are often preserved, altered, and re-purposed. Blackwork tattoos have gone from traditional to a beautiful hybrid of tradition and the present.
Black Ink Tattoos
In its signature black ink, you can find structure and freedom, familiarity and mystery.
Through the years, tattoos, and even the word ‘tattoo” has not changed completely. Through it all, there has been one constant, started in Polynesia and kept around the world: tattoos are about identity.
They tell the world who we are and what’s important to us. They are a reminder amidst all the confusion, something permanent in an ever-changing world.
If you want to learn more about tattoos or where you can get one, please contact us. We have locations in Las Vegas, Henderson, Nevada and Maui, Hawaii.
Tribal Tattoos: Why Are They So Popular?
Tribal Tattoos: Why Are They So Popular?
From ancient times to the modern era, tribal tattoos have remained popular throughout the years. Learn more about why this popular style has stuck around.
Did you know that over 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo?
Some get tattoos as a means of self-expression. For others, tattoos make them feel sexy, rebellious, or daring.
While we can’t say for certain which tattoos are the most common, tribal tattoos definitely rank high on the popularity list.
What makes the tribal tattoo design so popular? How did they get started? What meaning did they have in the past–and what meaning do they hold today?
In this post, we’ll delve into the fascinating history of tribal tattoos. Read on to learn more!
The History of Tribal Tattoos
Long before Samuel O’Reilly invented the tattoo gun in 1891, cultures around the world had embraced the art of the tribal tattoo.
Consider a few examples.
Historians have found tattoos on mummies in northern Africa that date back to around 2000 BC. In ancient Egypt, it was common practice for the High Priestesses to decorate their bodies with tattoos, especially on their arms.
Other mummies have been found with tattoos that are thought to relate to fertility, rejuvenation, and sun worship. It was also believed that tattoos could ward off evil spirits and cure certain diseases.
Almost everyone in ancient Polynesian cultures–male and female–was tattooed. Tattoos were used to identify tribe, rank, genealogy, and sexual maturity. Tattoos were also closely linked with warfare and religious rituals.
Tribal tattoos were part of life in many different Polynesian cultures, including Samoa, Tonga, Hawaii, and New Zealand. In fact, the word “tattoo” first entered Europe after explorer James Cook returned from his voyage through Tahiti and New Zealand in 1771.
Britain may not immediately come to mind when you imagine a tribal tattoo. But the elaborate Celtic knots and crosses date way back to before Christianity ever reached its shores.
The “Picts” were an ancient people whose name literally meant “painted people.” Aside from crosses and knots, common Celtic designs include birds, trees, and other aspects of nature.
In ancient Aztec society, tattoos were used as symbols of social status and war achievements. Warriors often had tattoos of deities, which were believed to give them divine protection during battle.
Ghosts, demons, and wild animals are other popular tribal tattoo designs throughout central America. The Mayan calendar, which predicted the end of the world would come in 2012, is another popular design.
In Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia, you’ll see monks and tourists alike sporting sacred “Sak Yant” tattoos. These eye-catching designs incorporate geometric patterns, animal images, ancient Buddhist prayers, and magical Khmer scripts.
The practice goes back thousands of years to when it was believed these tattoos would protect warriors in battle. The tattoos were created using bamboo–a practice still common in that part of the world today.
Modern Tribal Tattoo Designs & Meanings
As you can see, the art of the tribal tattoo transcends time, culture, and continents. They were used for centuries to identify, protect, and empower those who wore them.
Of course, most of us today don’t believe that tattoos offer magical powers or protection from evil. Most people select tribal tattoos for their aesthetic beauty or to celebrate their cultural heritage.
Still, if you’re considering a tribal tattoo for yourself, it’s interesting to know the origin of the design.
For example, some of the most popular tribal tattoo designs are Samoan in origin. These abstract or geometric designs are generally black and may include animals, sun rays, or ocean swirls.
Tribal tattoo designs on the face are typically Maori. Originating in New Zealand, these striking tattoos are synonymous with rank, prestige, and social status.
Other popular tribal tattoo designs and patterns include:
- Abstract patterns
- Geometric designs
- Vertical masks
- Phoenix bird
There’s virtually no limit to the design you can create for a tribal tattoo. That’s why it’s essential to find a talented tattoo artist who can create the perfect tattoo for your vision.
Considerations for Your Tribal Tattoo
Before you make any final decisions about your tribal tattoo, here are a few important factors to consider:
Tribal tattoos can be soft, swirling, and looping. They can also be bold and jagged with hard edges.
Which style feels right for you? You might also consider a blend of the two for a more unique look to your tattoo.
Many people associate tribal tattoos with solid black, which they certainly can be.
But have you considered any shading or shadows? What about one or more colors to accent the main parts of your design?
You can also go with full, bold colors to really make your tribal tattoo stand out. There’s no right or wrong answer–it’s whatever what you want it to be.
A final consideration is where you’re going to place your new tattoo on your body. The upper arm or lower leg are popular choices for tribal tattoos, but they’re not the only ones.
Men might consider a tattoo that stretches across their upper back or creates a sleeve on their forearm. Women can get creative with placement on their lower back, foot, or hand.
Ready for Your Next Tattoo?
Now that you know more about tribal tattoos, how are you feeling? Are you ready to create a tribal design that’s perfect for you?
We invite you to contact us to discuss your ideas with one of our professional tattoo artists. Whether you’re in Las Vegas, Henderson, or Maui, we’ve got you covered.
Wondering what we’re all about? Check out our testimonials page to see what our satisfied customers have to say about our work.
Stop by our Maui Tattoo Shop, Las Vegas Tattoo Shop or Henderson Tattoo Shop
10 Popular Tattoo Designs For Men in 2018
10 Popular Tattoo Designs For Men in 2018
What are the latest tattoo trends for men this year? Check out these tattoo designs for men to help inspire you for your next tattoo.
More people at your job might be hiding tattoos than you think.
In fact, more than 45 million Americans today are inked, including more than 1 in 3 people between the ages of 18 and 25.
So whether you’re thinking about getting your first tattoo or adding one more on to the list, there new styles and designs in 2018 to help inspire you to find your perfect match.
Ready to branch off from the old school traditional or neo-traditional designs? Take a look at 10 of the most popular tattoo designs for men in 2018 below.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Tribal tattoos may feel like a cliche of the past, but a modern take on this seemingly dated design has helped elevate them to a trending status in 2018.
If tribal tattoos give you a strong ’90s vibe, you’re not alone. Still, you need to go even further back in time to find their true origin. Thousands of years old, the new take on these tribal tats leaves thick lines and spaces behind for the thinner, more precise ink with less space between each marking.
Of course, if traditional tribal is more your speed, injecting your personality into any design can help it feel fresh and new – even if it dates back to prehistoric times.
A tattoo doesn’t have to have lots of line work or colors to pack a punch.
Minimalist tattoo designs for men can include simple shapes and lines combined to create new styles for this permanent body art. Used to create arrow designs, animals, or even plants, you can use the minimalist tattoo style to design nearly anything.
Keep it simple with a black and white aesthetic or add subtle pops of color to make the design pop.
Pop Culture References
Big Superman fan? Wakanda forever?
Superheroes are a good place to start if you’re thinking about having your favorite pop culture references inked forever, but they aren’t the only options.
If you’ve got a favorite video game character, musical artist, or film franchise, there are plenty of styles and options for tattoo styles that really pack a punch. There’s no rule on sizing either. These masterpiece ideas can be small enough for your fingers or take the shape of full-size chest or back pieces.
Nothing is more personal than the art you decide to have inked onto your body, but not every piece has to be a picture or image to be right for you.
In reality, your favorite words or quote can be the perfect inspiration for men’s tattoo designs.
Words alone may feel simple but with fonts, color, and sizing to consider, there are plenty of ways to personalize this particular style. More than being a tattoo for the world to see, quote tattoos can have special meanings only you recognize making them even more powerful for some people.
Circles, triangles, and squares, oh my.
These may be some of the most basic shape designs in history, but with a little artistic flair they can be turned into almost anything.
Geometric tattoo designs for men are among the most popular styles in 2018 in part because of their versatility. Looking for a unique way to have a beloved pet tattooed on your arm or an intrinsic mandala that covers your entire shoulder? Geometric could be the way to go.
When you were young someone probably taught you not to color outside the lines. Watercolor tattoos aren’t here to abide by those rules.
Designed to look like freehanded strokes of color splashed across your skin, watercolor tattoos are as versatile as they are fluid. Just the color alone, or color added to another design, watercolor tattoos can add depth and dimension to anyone’s tattoo style.
On the surface, big tattoos always seem like the ones that get all of the attention, but in 2018 small tattoos can have just as much impact (or more).
No matter what your style or design choices are, small tattoos can help add a sense of sophistication to your skin art. They can be simple designs, or intrinsic pieces of art. The only rule of thumb with this design choice is that they have to be small – the rest is up to you!
Photo-realistic tattoos are an old-school design style, but the elevated skill of many of today’s tattoo artists has helped to breathe new life into this 2018 trend type.
There’s plenty of inspiration you can draw off of for these realistic tattoo designs for men including family members, loved ones, historical figures, and scenic landscapes.
Deep shading and fine line work help make photo-realistic tattoos look even more true to life for whatever image, person, or place you want to represent.
Similar in some ways to minimalist tattoo designs, linework tattoos create depth and dimension out of simple black lines.
These can include animals, tribal designs, and even faces.
Unlike minimalist designs, linework tattoos manage to create the element of shading and realism out of clusters of these simple lines. In 2018, you can create large portraits or small, intricate creates out of these linework masterpieces.
Mix and Match Styles
Perhaps the biggest trend of 2018 is that your tattoo really doesn’t have to adhere to one particular style anymore.
Want to create the portrait of a lion that’s half photo-realism, half geometric? You can do that. Want a minimalist tree design with accents of watercolor to create the branches and leaves? You can do that too.
Today, there are no limits to what you can create or how your tattoo artist can hybridize these styles to make them distinctly you.
Thinking about getting inked with one of these trendy designs?
Even if you don’t want to fully commit to just one tattoo style, there are plenty of popular ideas you can draw from to create something unique to you and your personality. What matters most is that your tattoo represents you and the things you love – anything else is just lines and color.
Ready to take the plunge? Contract our artists today or swing by our tattoo shops in Las Vegas, Henderson, or Maui to get started!
Tattoo Innovations – From Medical Alerts to Bioelectric
Medical Alert Tattoo
Tattoo Innovations – Medical Alert Tattoos and More
What’s the future of tattoos? There are innovative ways tattoos are being used, including medical alert tattoo and smart tattoos that monitor health.
Tattoos have come a long way since Sailor Jerry was inking pinup girls, hearts, dice, and anchors on servicemen who were enjoying shore leave. Today, over half of American women (58%) have a tattoo. Tattoo enthusiasts spend over $3 billion each year in the U.S. on new, colorful designs to decorate their skin.
The popularity of tattoos shows no sign of lessening. In fact, developments in the industry mean that we could be seeing some incredible innovations. Read on to find out about the future of ink!
Even if you don’t use one yourself, you’re probably aware of the popularity of “wearables.” Wearables are clothing, watches, jewelry, and other accessories that track data about the wearer’s health. Wearables can monitor and record one’s heart rate, blood pressure, calories expended, and more.
As with any technology, however, smart watches and wristbands have their drawbacks. They’re battery-powered, so they need to be recharged often. They must also get fitted with a new battery when the old one wears out.
They can also be temperamental and inconsistent. As “smart” as they are, they do not seamlessly integrate with the wearer’s body.
Researchers from Harvard University and MIT are working on a solution in the form of tattoo ink. Biosensitive inks react to the body’s interstitial fluid, which surrounds cells within the bloodstream. Depending on the conditions of this fluid, the tattoo will actually change color.
A green ink becomes darker as the body’s level of sodium rises, indicating dehydration. Another ink changes from green to brown as glucose concentration increases. This could someday be a boon to diabetics.
These inks aren’t yet ready to be shipped to tattoo artists near you, however. They have gone through testing on pig skin, but require more research before they can be tried on human patients.
Medical Alert Tattoos
Most people who opt to get tattoos choose their designs based on aesthetic appeal. Medical alert tattoos perform another role: they can be useful in the event of an accident or other dangerous situation.
Patients with Type 1 Diabetes, asthma, or life-threatening food allergies are increasingly turning to tattoos to communicate their medical issues. Medical alert tattoos eliminate the patient’s need to wear a clunky, unattractive bracelet or necklace. They are easier to spot than a wallet card and guaranteed to be with the patient at all times.
Unfortunately, medical alert tattoos aren’t regulated or standardized. Emergency responders aren’t trained to look for these tattoos. There is no agreed-upon standard for size, design, or location on the body.
If you are considering a medical alert tattoo, choose one that incorporates the recognizable medical alert symbol. It should also use clear lettering to indicate your disease or condition. It’s also smart to wear your bracelet or continue to carry your wallet card, just in case.
As far as placement, the best site is on your left wrist or forearm. This is where medical alert bracelets are generally worn — and where emergency responders will look first.
Haptic Feedback Tattoos
Do you feel naked when you don’t have your smartphone on you? Guess what — cellphone maker Nokia is developing technology that will take the notion of connectivity one step further.
Haptic feedback technology tattoos have the ability to link to your smartphone. When the phone rings, the tattoo responds and creates a physical sensation. Imagine if every time you get a phone call, a spot on your arm tingles.
Just like your phone, a haptic tattoo would also indicate an incoming text, social media notification, or email. To dismiss the notification, you simply scratch your skin as though scratching an itch.
Haptic feedback tattoos are still in the development phase. In other words, it’s too soon to get excited about (or terrified by) this technology.
Glow in the Dark Tattoos
Do you work for a conservative company, but spend a lot of nights in clubs or at raves? A glow in the dark tattoo might be a good choice for you. These use UV (ultraviolet) ink that can only be seen under black light.
Glow in the dark tattoos aren’t entirely invisible in the daytime. A sharp-eyed observer will see the scar. The color, however, isn’t visible in daylight or traditional lighting. It only becomes apparent in black light.
Vegetable-Based Temporary Tattoos
Have you ever had a lover’s name tattooed on your bicep, only to regret it when the inevitable breakup occurs? Tattoo removal is incredibly expensive, painful, and time-consuming. Thanks to researchers, truly temporary tattoos (that don’t come out of a gumball machine!) could well be an option very soon.
So-called combustible tattoos utilize a vegetable-based ink. The ink is stored in microcapsules and can be easily and painlessly removed by a laser. This ink, if commercially available, would make it easier for the commitment-phobic to get a tattoo.
Ready to Get Your Own Medical Alert Tattoo?
Technology is taking the ancient art form of tattooing in some remarkable new directions. It’s pretty incredible to think that our descendants might be storing their medical information, communicating with others, or even viewing films right there on their skin.
Even though most of the tattoo tech discussed in this article isn’t yet available, there are still many different options for getting a tattoo today. Whether you want an old-school skull, a realistic portrait, a Japanese design, or something cutting edge like a trash polka tattoo, we can turn your inky dreams into reality. Contact Skin Factory Tattoo today!
Or, if you’re looking for further information and tattoo inspiration please feel free to browse our blog.
Stop by our Maui Tattoo Shop, Las Vegas Tattoo Shop or Henderson Tattoo Shop
15 Beautiful Ideas for Realism Tattoos
15 Beautiful Ideas for Realism Tattoos. If you enjoy the look of realism tattoos, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 beautiful ideas that really bring the style to life!
Whether or not you have gotten a tattoo before, chances are that you have at least thought about it. Though the practice has been around for millenniums, the art form has really taken off in the modern day.
Recently, tattoos have even begun to be more accepted in the workplace.
Perhaps you have considered getting one, but you want the tattoo to look pretty much exactly like the image after which it is fashioned. This is called the style of realism tattoos, and there are many truly elegant options for you to consider.
Listed below are fifteen beautiful ideas for you.
Family Members or Loved Ones
One of the many reasons someone like yourself might consider getting a realistic-looking tattoo is because of its meaning. You are not alone – 43% of tattooed people think that having a personal significance is important.
So, what (or who) means a lot to you? A photo-realistic tattoo is great for people that you care about in your life. Have them permanently remembered in this style of tattoo to truly capture their essence forever.
Favorite Pets or Animals
Another common meaningful idea for realism tattoos involves your cherished pets. Realism is a great way to capture any kind of animal, so why wouldn’t you consider getting a tattoo of your fur-baby?
Significant Historical Figures
A realistic image of a human’s face or physique is particularly difficult to draw, and it’s even more difficult to tattoo. Nevertheless, it’s common to prefer tattoos of people in the style of realism to other popular tattoo styles.
If you find a tattoo artist that you can trust with such details, a realistic portrait of your favorite historical figure could end up being a very beautiful piece.
Though realism isn’t the oldest style of tattoo, there are still certain images and items that are considered to be traditional. If you want to blend the modern style with a classic object, think about navigational tools.
It’s easy to think of old-fashioned sailors with tattoos, so imagine how vintage you would feel with a tattoo of their traditional tools. These items would include compasses, maps, or even telescopes. Many people associate these navigational tools with the “journey of life,” so the meaning for one can be as layered as you want it to be.
Another traditional tattoo to consider is a watch or a clock. Timepieces are also part of navigation, but there is more of an element of family ties with this one.
Think about how watches are passed down through the generations. Maybe you have one within your family – this would be perfect as a meaningful, realistic tattoo.
Many people capture their favorite modern celebrities in the style of realism tattoos. These could be artists, actors, or even sports athletes.
Flowers or Plants
A more natural approach to realism tattoos is to consider your favorite plant or flower. This is more of a feminine approach to a tattoo, but it would truly make a beautiful image.
A Close-Up Photo of an Eye
There is a trend that is becoming more popular within every style of tattoo. People seem to like the idea of having an enlarged eye tattooed on them.
You can get as creative as you want with this idea. There could be color, tears, or even light glinting off of the eye, and a proper realism tattoo artist would do a great job of perfectly capturing the details.
Jewels and Jewelry
Realism tattoos do well for images that play with and capture light. Think about the glint of light off of a shining jewel, and you have yet another great idea for your realism tattoo.
Pieces of Art
Tattooing is an art form which has the power to capture other art forms. If you have a favorite sculpture or painting, odds are that it would be both a meaningful, relevant, and detailed tattoo.
Talk to your tattoo artist to see if he or she is familiar with the piece before getting started on it.
For a larger piece, consider one of your favorite natural landscapes. Snowy mountains, calm beaches, or flowered meadows are all great ideas for realism tattoos.
Though they would be ornate and detailed, the simplicity of the concept would be very pleasing to the eye.
Movie or Television Scenes
Another larger idea for realism tattoos has to do with the modern art form of film. It’s okay if you’re really into a certain television series or movie because there is a way to make that a permanent part of your physique!
If you are a musician of some sort, you probably have a very strong connection to your preferred instrument. To eternalize the importance it has had within your personal (and maybe professional) life, think about getting a photo-realistic tattoo of it.
Realism Tattoos of Your Internal Organs
This might sound a little too much gore for you, but realism tattoos of internal organs are actually starting to be fairly popular. These images sometimes appear as though the skin has been peeled back to reveal an internal organ such as the heart or a section of lung.
Sometimes, it’s the bones, tendons, and tissues underneath that appear to be “revealed.”
The last idea for realism tattoos is also another art form. Architecture has a historical and cultural importance throughout time.
If there is a certain building that you think is worth to tattoo on your body, by all means, go for it! You deserve to have whatever image you want tattooed, so don’t hold back with your creativity in this department.
We know how important it is to get your tattoo just how you want it. If you want a realism tattoo or any other style of tattoo, we can assure you that the professional artists we employ will be able to exactly meet your expectations.
We encourage you to reach out to us today if you are interested in getting a tattoo. You can contact us here.