Anthropology and tattoos


Recently I was reminded about my participation in a study about anthropology, tattoos and tattoo artists. It was an interesting study and I really wanted to contribute to the discussion with my experience as a tattoo artist. It is clear that tattoos, artists and anthropology have been considered and studied many times before throughout history, but mostly from a historic perspective in which the natives have been documented; what kind of tattoos they had and what they meant in a cultural context. But, as the student that contacted me said: not that many anthropological studies have been made about our modern, western tattoos today. It is clear that our contemporary tattoos have a symbolic value and a way of communicating to the surroundings about our social groups. But how exactly are trends emerging? How and why do we conform to them and how do we choose a certain aesthetic? It might of course be compared with the good old "liking and taste", but since tattoos are so much more intimate and permanent, it feels like they fill a more profound need of identifying and belonging. I hope to stumble across more studies of these subjects in the future.