The Timeless Allure of Vintage Tattoos
Tattooing have been around for over a hundred years. It has evolved from the once crude, one-coloured inks to the dynamic and creative body art that is very popular today. The trend for tattoo styles has come full circle. Now that tattoos are perfectly acceptable and has achieved the mainstream, vintage tattoos are coming back with a vengeance.
Once a taboo to the mainstream and polite society, tattooing as a form of body art started amongst the peripheral society. Sailors, soldiers, gypsies, and other citizens of the coarser kind. Men with tattoos are summarily classified as rough, tough, or member of the undesirable society. Women with tattoos get a worse branding – prostitutes, and anything similar.
It’s no wonder tattoos are often placed where it is easy to hide – backs, legs, shoulders, or the stomach area. But the bad rap didn’t stop people from getting their special mark. Tattooing has evolved to an art form that it is today.
As the general society have totally accepted and welcomed tattoos, designs and tattooing technology have also improved. Special inks developed, needles and other equipment enhanced, and artists become more specialised and experienced, and designs improved. From the one-coloured drawings few decades ago, to the multi-coloured creations, realistic portraits, and 3D designs of today!
And then suddenly, people are craving for the basic, old-school, and vintage tattoos. Why?
Tattooing have reached a summit. The techniques and technology are so advanced. Designs are wondrous and totally customisable. The negativity once connected to tattoos is gone and forgotten. Why the sudden nostalgia for the designs that associate with the darker days of disapproval?
Maybe, it is the powerful presence of the simple designs. At a time when complex tattoos with intricate lines and curves, delicate shadings, and with all the colours are all too familiar, the bold solid lines and colours of a vintage tattoo will stand out.
Or maybe it is the nostalgia for something grand – a lost age of might and power, something that is never to come back. A time when flashing a tattoo is akin to revealing a different and mightier persona. So unlike today when everyone gushes over your ink and then proceeds to discuss its points, and maybe compare it with their own. Don’t we all want to go back to a time when you’re the only one who’s inked? Imagine the prestige!
That’s it, the prestige of having a tattoo, lost. While no one will likely freak out over your rather cute anklet tattoo, no one will also make you an exception because of your ink. While our ancestors were highly regarded, avoided, or revered because of their inks, we are just normal people who just happen to be a little quirkier, a little artsy, or bolder than the rest. No big deal.
Will a vintage tattoo give us a better image? Maybe. Maybe not. What is certain is that the men and women who once wore those designs were the true embodiment of their inks. They were courageous, bold, rough, and were proud of it. This is the time magic of vintage tattoos.
Tattoos are nothing but an extension of our personality. It is an art form, with our body as canvas, and our outlook as design. How we show the world who we are as a person does not rely on what type of tattoos we have. Just as the tattooed men and women of olden days have personified their tattoos, let us not fail to embody the significance of the inks we chose.