Generation Tattoo



Sinizen, a reggae band, is featured on the cover of "Rock n Tattoo" magazine in April 2010. The link to the magazine and the band's website is at the bottom of this post.

Sinizen Grass Roots Culture.


Go to FREE DOWNLOAD of Sinizen’s new album (at left) by clicking on Grass Roots Culture.

When I was growing up, the only “person” I knew with a tattoo was Popeye the Sailor Man.  Now, I can’t go anywhere without seeing one or more tattoos on one or more people. 

It won’t be long until at least half of the population has a tattoo. The Pew Research Center reports that 36 percent of people age 18 to 25, and 40 percent of those age 26 to 40 have at least one tattoo.  Like in many trends, rock  and rap musicians led the way with tattoos.

One of the hazards of getting a tattoo is that you might change your mind.  Angelina Jolie has had a few tattoos removed or covered over. Here she's had the geographical coordinates from the locations where her children entered her life.  This tattoo imperfectly covers an old tattoo of Billy Bob's name and a dragon, which now looks like a bruise. There are probably a few more coordinates on her arm by now.

One of the hazards of getting a tattoo is that you might change your mind. Angelina Jolie has had a few tattoos removed or covered over. Here her children's geographical coordinates cover Billy Bob's name and a dragon, which is still partly visible.

Soon the public won’t see tattoos as shocking and cutting edge, but as mundane.  My father, an aviation engineer, said that when engineers start doing something “wild,” then it’s just about to go out of style. So let an engineer with a tattoo be your barometer for the end of the tattoo trend.  Clear skin will then be the rage for rebels.  (Well, maybe not.)  

Tattoo trends themselves go in and out of fashion.  Neck and hand tattoos are more popular, but the “tramp stamp,” the tattoo on a woman’s lower back, is becoming passe, the local newspaper recently reported. 

At my hair salon a while ago, a manicurist asked me about my daughter’s first solo trip to visit friends in California.  I told her: “She had a great time.  Best of all, no piercings and no tattoos.” 

Ryan is a member of the band Sinizen. He's also an artist. The link to his website on redbubble is in my blogroll at the right under Shameless Promotion.

I hadn’t gotten the word that this woman was now the proud new bearer of a “tramp stamp.” I just assumed she’d agree that “no tattoos” was a good thing.  I also didn’t know that my daughter had, in fact, gotten not just one but two tattoos in California.  Two tiny stars on one foot, one matching a star on her best friend’s ankle. Not only am I not on the cutting edge, I’m also out of the loop.

I don’t care. No tattoos for me, thanks.  I don’t like my freckles. Why would I want more marks?  And once it’s inked, it’s permanent! (Although tattoo removal is a growing industry!)  That first girlfriend you’d love to the end of time?  Now, you have to ink over her name with a giant dragon.  Did you and your BFF get matching roses on your shoulders?  Now, you find out she’s a skunk. About those Japanese characters that were supposed to say “Love and Peace”?  They actually say “I’m a stupid tourist.”  That dolphin on your belly?  Now it’s a whale.

With a dozen or so tattoos, Angelina Jolie is more inked than most people her age, but almost 40 percent of Americans ages 26 to 40 have at least one tattoo, according to Pew Research Center.

In our society, we may see tattoos as marks of rebellion or outsider status, but there was a surge of tattoos in the Victorian Era, led by two English princes, including George, who later became King George V.  Read about it in the Victorian Era. Tattoos hold different meanings in different societies. In some, tattoos are signs of status or membership in a group, club, clan or criminal syndicate. Some tattoos are meant to frighten or even to attract. 

“Hey, gorgeous, I’m crazy about those blue lines on your chin.”

Maori man.

Maori man.

Tattoos could be useful, too.  Tattooed sailors could be identified when they washed ashore. Tattoos also had more sinister uses when they marked prisoners.

Tattoo is a Polynesian word, and some of the most elaborate tattoos were created in New Zealand and Borneo.  In the early 19th century, a Maori named Hongi was introduced to King George IV, who admired his tattoos.

Whatever else you might think about tattoos, you might agree that many tattoos are incredibly beautiful as art.

Sinizen’s website.

Tattoo n Rock Magazine.

You can read about the history of tattoos at The Tattoo Museum.  An article about tattoos in the New York Times can be read here: Tattoos Gain Even More Visibility


Filed under Art, Entertainment, Family, History, Humor, Life, Personal, Random, Uncategorized

14 responses to “Generation Tattoo

  1. Carolina Maine

    AJ’s tattoos make her look awful. I’m not a fan of tattoos, but whatever makes someone happy in life…..


  2. Catherine Sherman

    I think AJ’s tattoos look awful, too. Her skin is too beautiful to spoil with marks, especially since she keeps changing her mind and tries to change them. She needs temporary tattoos.


  3. alwaysjan

    My teenaged son did all of his own tattoos. Since he’s right handed, they’re all on the left hand side of his body. At the age of 25, he’s finally decided they could get in the way of “job opportunities” (music to a mother’s ear) and is looking into having some of them removed. I always told him he could have get a “Mother” tattoo, but that’s the only one he DIDN’T get. I liked the episode of “The Simpsons” when Bart was pulled out of the tattoo parlor mid-tattoo and ended up with only “Moth.”


  4. Thank you for the link, and the interesting article of course!


  5. Popeye and Uncle Charlie were the only people I knew as a kid who had tatoos! We used to laugh that when they got old, their ships would sink. (they were both sailors)


  6. ES

    When my husband was diagnosed with cancer the first time, he was scheduled for radiation. The radiologist told him that in years past the linear markings to pinpoint the areas for treatment were tattooed on the body. By the 80’s, they used black markers. My husband is very thankful that a permanent reminder of his disease is not tattooed on his body.


  7. nice article ……..!


  8. They are remaking the Illustrated Man, did you ever see that Movie or read Ray Bradbury’s book?
    The Cherokee used to tattoo all over their bodies – my Grandmother said that “it was so that at a glance you knew what clan you were and that it saved a lot of time when you thought someone of your own clan was good looking (a big no). It also noted Achievement but the gals used to wear grass skirts and go topless too. I too have thought about getting a tattoo but then you’re stuck. I like those lick on ones that you can change. But if I am ever in a battle and kill a ton of dudes trying to ransack my village I will most likely get a deer head or a flower 😉

    I remember “The Illustrated Man” movie! I’d love to see it again and a re-make, too. Ray Bradbury wrote some great stories. I’m going to write a little about Maori tattoos. I really liked the ones the women wear on their chins. I’d like to get a temporary one.

    That’s cool that the Cherokees could do a quick scan and rule out potential mates because they were relatives. Cathy


  9. Maori face tattoos are called Mokos…..

    Thanks! I’m fascinated by them. I’m going to write another post on tattoos. Cathy


  10. Yeah, I also like tattoo, but it’s better if i can change it.


  11. ksb

    Got my first small tasteful tattoo at 46! After 26 years of oppressive marriage I was free for the first time since 18. I guess I had my rebellion a little late in life. My tat is a small seagull on my shoulder. To me it represented freedom to finally make my own decisions. Probably will not get another ink job…it hurts!!!!!!


  12. Carolina Maine

    I don’t know-sometimes I want a tattoo–and sometimes I don’t. I don’t want the ugly Jolie kind-hers look scribbled on for some reason-odd for someone with her money.

    I have thought about a flesh tone tattoo–white-it won’t stand out much.

    Kal says NO Way!


    • meredith

      Jolie’s tattoo looks ‘scribbled on’ because it was done in a traditional hand-tapping technique. It’s a Buddhist Pali prayer in Khmer that she got in Cambodia (I believe it was done by Buddhist monk) — it’s a protection blessing for her son, Maddox, who is Cambodian.


  13. Ha! My friend Amelia Klem Osterud wrote a beautiful book on the history of Tattoos on women called “The Tattooed Lady”.
    Ink has a fascinating history as performace art, talisman and a vehical for rebellion. Long ago when I was young the thought of piercings even your ears was abhorant to manym only fit for whores or actresses and that too seems to have turned into an industry with people piercing whatever they can for any old reason at all. I am actually going to get a tattoo this year, its time for a little rebellion and I chose an antique china pattern of two blue birds on a cherry tree. I have plans to whore myself out to Twitter carnival style during my book release in 2012. Or mabey I will just enjoy the fact that I will have identifying marks and the authorities will not have to look up my dental records after I go on that biker gang crime spree with other middle aged moms that have had enough of corporation rape and pillage. I could just as easily though just get a corporate logo inked or a bar code and give in. I love a little rebellion even if its really at the end modification or mutilation on a small scale. I did after all get my ears pierced.


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