home Features, Top Menu, Uncategorized The ancient art of tattooing | Ruth Ni Leannachain

The ancient art of tattooing | Ruth Ni Leannachain

Ruth Ní Leannacháin looks at the quality of tattoos in modern times

Tattoos are more popular now than they have ever been. Far from being an act of rebellion reserved for rock stars and bikers, they have become widely accepted as the norm. They were huge on the catwalk a few years ago with established brands like Chanel decorating their models with temporary body art, and even David Cameron’s wife, Samantha, has a dolphin etched onto her ankle. However, tattoos don’t come without their perils. With the growing popularity of this art form comes a lack of respect for its permanency and traditions.

Zayn Malik... Zap!
Zayn Malik… Zap!

Take One Directions’ Zayn Malik for example. Last week he was caught out cheating on his popstar girlfriend when the waitress he slept with took a snap of him sleeping. It was his distinct and large tattoos which blew his cover and stopped him from using the age old ‘lookalike’ excuse. However, that incident shouldn’t be Malik’s main tattoo concern, I’m sure his hideous ‘Zap’ tattoo is causing his girlfriend more distress than this cheating scandal. The cartoon doodle is the perfect example of a rushed, spur of the moment tattoo that looks would look more at home in an issue of a graphic novel than on an international popstar’s forearm.

Band mate Harry Styles isn’t much more sophisticated when it comes to his body art. Sporting miss-matched art along his arms and torso which include birds, a ship and various dates, his tattoos are the perfect example of a large amount of skin covered in a hurry and the result is messy and with no underlying theme or flow.

One Direction aren’t an isolated case either, celebrities are main culprits of bad tattoos, whether it’s Britney Spears’ Hebrew tattoo inspired by her love of Judaism (despite Judaism forbidding tattoos) or Cheryl Cole’s tribal monstrosity, celebrities seem to be drawn to tacky body art like the moth to the flame, something which not only gives this beautiful art form a bad name but encourages bad copy-cat art, which brings me to my main point.

Tattoos are an incredibly personal thing, and as cheesy as it may sound, the more a tattoo means to you, the less chance there is of you growing to hate it when you’re 50. Not only is it frustrating for the artist to be expected to copy another artists tattoo 100 times, it’s not as special. You have the chance to permanently etch something on your skin, so rather than a piece of art which has found its way onto the bodies of hundreds, why not pick something original? Don’t give tattoos a bad name.