After thinking so much about the impact and importance of street art, my thoughts followed through to another type of unconventional art. Tattoos span generations and cultures. Historically, they've sometimes been used to highlight togetherness, in the instance of tribal tattoos, and I love the way they've evolved to become a way to tell a personal story. As I look ahead to the New Year, my thoughts linger on the artistic aspects of body art.
Body art and storytelling
The limited aspect of tattoos makes them even more meaningful in some ways, because it's up to us to listen to a tattoo's story when we see it. When I meet someone with a beautiful piece of art on their body, I make a point to ask if they would like to share the story of their tattoo. Tattoo artists are indeed artists, sometimes even visionaries. But the canvas for that art, the skin of an individual, brings that art to life, because the tattoo tells a piece of their story.
Some of the stories I've heard take my breath away. I've heard stories of tattoos that symbolize grief or loss and stories of tattoos symbolizing a celebration or new beginning. Some people choose a design that reminds them of a quality they want to emphasize, like strength or resilience. I've seen a few tattoos lately of simple script words, done in the handwriting of a loved one, and those have really had an impact in how I think about grief and permeance.
The amazing thing about body art is that those stories hide in designs and symbols you might not easily recognize. The artist takes a client's hopes and visions and translates them into a piece of beautiful art. The next time you admire someone's tattoo, let them know you'd love to hear about it! You might be surprised by what you learn.
As I write this I am in Bali. I have been spending time in Ubud soaking up the amazing yoga classes. I noticed in my classes most yogis have a tattoo or many. Not too mention the plethora of tattoo shops in the town of Ubud.
Deciding on my first piece of body art
I have wanted a tattoo my whole life. Even as a child, I remember being fascinated by body art. Over the years, I've personally drawn several versions of what I might eventually commission, and I've forever admired other's art work. In 2019, I finally got my first tattoo. I chose a feather design placed on my rib.
Deciding to finally get a tattoo held a great life lesson for me. Sometimes, you just need to take the plunge as nothing will ever be perfect. My friend chose to get a tattoo while she was grieving the loss of her sister. I joined her as a source of support. While there, I decided to participate as well.
Choosing a meaningful tattoo
I chose a symbol that means so much to me — a feather in rainbow colors. A feather has become a good luck symbol in my life and a symbol in Jada Jo Jewelry. The rainbow of colors pay tribute to a physical rainbow — a symbol I have shared with my sister over the past year.
I don’t think a tattoo has to be correlated with a date, like an event or the beginning of a new year. The most important part of the decision hinges on when one feels inspired to carry something with them for the rest of their life through an artistic expression in body art.
Do you have a tattoo? And if so, what does it mean to you?