I want a portrait of my homeboy RIP on my arm. I want my baby’s mama’s name on my neck. Can you PLEASE cover this up? I want a pair of lips with an arrow pointing down to my %#$@.
This is the everyday lingo in Tattoo parlors around the world.
In the Western Civilization, the art of tattooing one’s body was once basically taboo, and was limited amongst military personnel. Primarily it was the branch of the navy, sailors began reintroducing tattooing in the 1600-1700’s. This was during the time of dot-to-dot tattooing, which was mastered by the Mayans, Incans, Eskimos, and Aztecs for their religious rituals.
Today, tattooing has become a popular endeavor, in high demand, and VERY profitable occupation.
Tattoo Artists utilize updated versions of the electric tattooing machines that were introduced in the 1800’s to illustrate the visuals of our imaginations, our personal statements and way of life.
On our bodies, from head to toe, we choose to express our inner soul to our outer being. Egocentrically, we exploit our beliefs, our hoods, our sexuality, and our cultures. In a sense, our tattoos speak freely for us in lieu of our voices.
The rapidly growing, and newly termed… “Prison Population,” where men and women across our Nation are only being ‘warehoused’ instead of rehabilitated, enables much static time. Convicts/inmates pass much of their time by placing graffiti all over their bodies. Many emerge from prison with illustrations that speak of their entire lives.
Tattoos in the Hip Hop culture
However, the Hip-Hop culture has taken the art of tattooing to the next level. Both males and females from every ethnicity; rappers, athletes, singers, executives, etc., have provided the promotion, which has enabled Tattoo Artists to rejoined the ranks of ‘fine artists.’
Seeing our favorite celebrity (i.e., Dennis Rodman, Beyonce, C-Bo, Nelly, Charli Baltimore, Shaq, Jessica Alba, Aaliyah, Usher, Pink, Booker T, Foxy Brown, Busta Rhymes, Janet Jackson, Nicole Richie, Christina Aguilera, Ja Rule, etc.,) exposing their tattooed artwork has been the only confirmation needed for the average you and I alike, to find it to be incumbent upon ourselves, to provide any/all onlookers a visual of our tattooed images.
Tupac Amur Shakur was the first rapper to expose a BIG bold tattoo across his upper stomach… “THUG LIFE,” which Tupac repeated said was an acronym for… “THE HURT U GIVE LITTLE INFANTS F# EVERYBODY.” This was the beginning of bold tattoos across our stomachs and backs.
Allen Iverson, an NBA Superstar, has practically sleeves of tattoos on both arms. Even Li’l Bow Wow has grown up and adopted this trend on his arms. 50 Cent took it a step further and had artwork drawn across his entire back.
Let’s not forget about the ladies of hip-hop; my favorite, the subtle tiger-paws that enhance the cleavage area of Rapper Eve’s breast. Most of our favorite female celebrities find it to sexy to don those cute little tattoos right above there asses, which us fellow LOVE so much. Don’t we guys? What about the tattoo on Halle Barry’s ass that we all saw in Monster’s Ball?
However, the evolution of tattoos has a profound lifecycle.
Tattooing, along with body piercing were in existence well before the beginning of our recorded history. The first actual evident of deliberate tattooing was discovered by explorers in the Italian Alps. The tattoos on the lower back wrist, ankles and right knee of a frozen corpse were tattoos of small dots, crosses and lines and said to have been between 4,600 and 5,300 years old.
Although, this is fragmentary evidence, experts claim that the first evidence of body modification recorded into our history comes from an era of somewhere around 12,000 BC. The first tattoos are believed to be the results of accidents with sharp pigment loaded items, and became visual after the recovery from a bad wound.
I, surely cherish my tattooed left shoulder, which sincerely expresses my personal view… “MY WORLD, MY WAY.” Indicates my name… “INTERNATIONAL BLEU (around a world).” And, exposes my profession… “I.C.C. triple Ps (splitting the world in half).” Yes, I love it too!