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Thursday, 02 July 2015

Tattoos aren’t art – they’re graffiti

THE Big Debate topic in Saturday’s Evening Mail was “Have tattoos lost their stigma?”.

Louise Allonby
Louise Allonby

Arguing in favour of them was a local tattooist who loved the “lowbrow art” aspect of tattoos but said that lowbrow association has now been lost, because people working in banks, solicitors’ practices and dental surgeries have tattoos.

The person arguing “against” took a somewhat neutral approach, but did provide an interesting history of tattoos in society.

I don’t do fence-sitting, so have decided to wade into the debate, squarely in the “against” camp, because tattoos really give me the needle.

They look universally dreadful and enhance nobody’s body, whether you’re Samantha Cameron with a discreet dolphin on your ankle, David Beckham (below) with a load of random writings on your arm, or an 18-stone chav with a tramp stamp the size of Askam just above your buttocks.

It’s the same with that other regrettable current trend: ear-stretching. I find the sight of people with vast holes in their ear-lobes quite repellent.

The thing I really don’t get about tattoos is the unforgiving permanence of them.

What possesses someone to wish to disfigure themselves forever? At an airport a few months ago, I saw a young woman. She was in her early 20s, blonde, slim and stunning – but blighted entirely, and for life, by the fact her right arm was completely covered by one huge, hideous, shoulder-to-wrist tattoo.

As for solicitors’ and dentists’ practices, I know a fair few dentists, doctors and solicitors. And I have never seen one with a tattoo – or, indeed, anyone working in such premises with tattoos on display, thank goodness.

Professional people and tattoos simply do not go together. If I went to see a GP only to find that he or she had an armful of tattoos I’d be legging it to the door before I’d even had time to lie about how many units of alcohol I consume each week.

Similarly, it would be fair to assume that Kate Middleton’s ambitions of marrying Prince William would have been thwarted if she had a barbed wire tattoo on her arm.

Tattoo lovers will say that “body art” is a way of proudly proclaiming one’s ‘individuality’. But tattoos are now far too banal and common (in every sense of the word) even to come close to being described as individual. I once read somewhere that tattoos are little more than the “cheap plumage of the attention-seeker”. How true.

I believe it is still legal to declare a dislike of tattoos – possibly because to label someone as a “tattooist” (as in a sexist or a chauvinist) would be somewhat confusing. It’s probably only a matter of time before that changes, however, so I’ll say it while I still can: tattoos are horrible. They aren’t body art – they’re body graffiti.

Have your say

I yet again fail to see the point of these ‘articles,’ they appear as nothing more than a soap box in which the ‘writer’ can attempt to proclaim their superiority over something trivial. Whilst it does have potential to be humours and light hearted, the structure feels full of holes and I’m not sure what I was supposed to get from reading it. Is she meant to represent a particular section of society? If so who? Are we supposed to warm to her as a person? If so I would recommend a light hearted approach which does not offend a large proportion of society. Are we ourselves supposed to relate and feel better that ‘we don’t have tramp stamps the size of Askam.’ Ergo we are better than those who do?


Posted by Rusty S on 12 February 2013 at 16:08

Tattoos are indeed hideous. But the bad ones aren't those on the toned bellies of the young and (otherwise) beautiful slim blonde creatures on their way on holiday....go and look at that same woman in 50 years' time when she is older, fatter and wrinklier and the cute dolphin has turned into a faded, mis-shapen blue whale.
Tattoss are never attractive on the young but should be made illegal on the old wrinklies...they put me off my all-inclusive buffet dinner

Posted by Sarah on 12 February 2013 at 13:17

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