TATTOOS WERE LINKED TO A DISRUPTION OF DISCIPLINE AND GOOD BEHAVIOR
PEOPLE GOT TATTOOS ON DEPLOYMENT, SOME BY OTHER PEOPLE ON THE SAME TOUR
TATTOOING WAS IN THE BRITISH NAVY IN THE 1700s Skovlund, Jr. Marty. "Tattoos and the Warrior Tradition." The Havok Journal.
WAR TATTOOS DATE BACK TO KALINGA WARRIORS, DAYAK WARRIORS, AND OTHER CULTURES > GET TATTOOS WHEN THEY BEHEADED AN ENEMY DURING BATTLE
MORE COMMON UNDERSTAND OF TATTOO CULTURE, WAS THOSE WHO FOUGHT IN WWI / WWII AND VIET NAM > A LOT OF PEOPLE HAD TIME OFF WOULD GET TATTOOS IN ASIANS COUNTRIES/CITIES
IN SOME ANCIENT CULTURES, TATTOOS REPRESENTED RELIGION. SOMETIMES IT WOULD EWEV REPRESENT SOCIAL STATUS, (LIKE IN THE MILITARY). IT CAN ALSO BE A SIGN OF WEALTH "Tattoos - Sailor Jerry." Sailor Jerry.
IN HAWAII, TATTOOS WERE USED TO SAFEGUARD HEALTH
SAILORS WERE SOME OF THE FIRST PEOPLE TO HAVE AMERICAN TRADITIONAL TATTOOS IN THE LATE 1700s >ACCORDING TO RECORDS, IT WAS THE MEN OF CAPTAIN JAMES COOK’S CREW. THEY WERE THE FIRST TO GET TATTOOS AS MEMENTOS FOR THEIR JOURNEY
TATTOOS WERE FOR PEOPLE WHO STEPPED OUTSIDE OF SOCIAL NORMS (FREAKS/ WEIRDOS / CIRCUS PEOPLE) >THE ONLY PEOPLE OF BOTH SOCIAL STATUS AND TATTOOS WERE THOSE MEN IN THE MILITARY WHO HAD TATTOOS FOR THEIR UNIT "Captain James Cook and His Contribution to Tattooing." Tattoo.com.
SAILOR JERRY STARTED TATTOOING IN CHICAGO IN THE 1920s
WITHOUT HIS TATTOOING STYLE, AMERICAN TRADITIONAL TATTOOS WOULD NOT BE WHAT THEY ARE TODAY
SAILOR JERRY LIVED IN HAWAII TO TATTOO AND IT WASN’T THE BUSIEST OF PLACES IN THE WORLD, UNTIL WWI BEGAN. >AFTER JAPAN HAD BOMBED US EVERYONE FLOODED TO DEFEND HAWAII AND THEIR COUNTRY AND IN THE PROCESS BEGAN TO GET TATTOOS
"Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry:The Life of Norman K. Collins." YouTube.
The word ‘tattoo’ is derived from the Polynesian/Tahitian word ‘tatau’, which means ‘to mark’. Tattoos are a deep rooted part of a lot of cultures. These tattoos and marks could represent something as large as religion, or as simple as beauty standards. By touching up on the origin, artists, and process, it will be easy to see how American tattooing came to be and where it is heading. It took longer than most parts of the world, but Britain would soon start the beginning of a western tattoo culture. In the 1700’s, British sailors in the navy would get tattoos to honor their journey. James Cook was a captain in the navy during this time. Before James Cook, tattooing was non-existent in the western world. This was because Pope Hadrian had banned it during the 700s. The Pope found it went against God and would prevent your body from being holy in the afterlife. Like the western world, Asia also sees tattoos as unholy and marked anyone a criminal who had any sort of tattoos on them. Captain James Cook wasn’t the first to use the word, but he was the first to document the terminology of it during his journeys with his crew (Captain James Para 3). Even though it seemed like tattooing would never make it back to Britain, James Cook would soon change that. Cook and his crew were dumbfounded by the people of Tahiti because of the tattoos that covered them head to toe. Before its now modern term, ‘tattoo’, was a reference to the knocking on taverns. This rhythmic sound would call the sailors back to ship (Captain James Para 6). Although this definition of tattoo was already well known, especially in the military, Cook decided to change it. The tapping of needles into the skin resembled the knocking on taverns and Cook saw it fit for its new meaning. Cook began writing the word tattoo in his journal in 1769, but it wasn’t added to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary until 1777 (Captain James Para 7). Soon after the first trip, sailors started to come home with their own markings. This is why James Cook was such a vital part to the modern tattooing we know today. Without his trips and his work to unban tattooing practices in the western world, who knows where we would be today in American tattooing culture? So, when did western tattooing start to change? What Cook started in terms of tattooing is not the same style we are looking at now. Instead we have a tattoo style called ‘American Traditional’. This style has many sub-styles within it that can vary from artist to artist. American traditional tattooing is one of the most common forms of tattooing. The godfather of American traditional tattoo is an artist called Sailor Jerry. (Sailor Jerry para 4). Sailor Jerry started tattooing in Chicago in the late 1920s. After learning for a couple years, he moved to hawaii where he then set up camp and stay for a while. All of Hawaii had a population of less than 100,000 before WWI, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, thousands of soldiers flooded to hawaii to defend their country (Hori Smoku). What that also brought was down time for when military men weren’t fighting. During that time, the men would spend all day at bars, burlesque clubs, and tattoo parlors. This then formed the start of American traditional tattoos and the start to change in tattoo culture (Hori Smoku). Sailor Jerry was one of the only tattoo artist in Hawaii at the time, so obviously, his work grew and changed over time because he gained so much experienced. When you are only one tattooing and tattoo demand is high, you are going to be working a lot and growing as an artist. Sailor Jerry died in 1973, but Sailor Jerry’s tattoos will always be looked upon for reference and inspiration. Now, moving onto a more modern tattoo artist. Oliver Peck started tattooing when he was 19 and soon worked his way up to being one of the biggest names in American traditional tattooing (Oliver Peck para 2). He now owns 2 of his own tattoo shops and is a judge on the hit show ‘Ink Master’. Oliver Peck’s tattoos are still the same traditional designs that artist, like Sailor Jerry, have been tattooing for years. These designs included anchors, eagles, sparrows, roses, skulls, daggers, and pin up girls. So, how have these designs changed in application? Well for starters, the stencils Sailor Jerry used are not the same ones Oliver peck and other modern artist are using. In the 1920s, tattoos would be stenciled onto the skin by taking wire and bending them around the tattoo design, then after dipping them lightly with an ink, they would apply it to the skin (How Tattoo). This was not as helpful as tattoo stencils now, but it gave the artist a light outline to work with. Now tattoo artists have a special copier that will apply the purplish ink to a piece of paper that can then be applied to the skin. This method is much better, especially for American traditional designs, because they rely so heavily on strong linework. This is just one of them many ways tattooing has been impacted over time. With tools to make application simpler artist were then able to experiment more in the ways of style and color. By taking a look at where tattoos came from and how they are now apart every day society, it is possible to theorize where tattoo culture is heading. Recently, a company called Ephemeral started designing a tattoo ink that will slowly fade over a year (Ephemeral). This could be a changing point in tattooing. A lot of people avoid getting tattoos because of the commitment issue, also, a lot of tattoo artist avoid experiment and trying new things for the same reason. If this new year long ink were to hit the market, it could open up an entire new audience with new ideas. This could mean new styles, different techniques, and new colors that may not have been able to show up before (like white ink). It is now just a waiting game until the developers of the ink allow it to be sold to tattoo parlors around the country. Tattoos can tell a story, they can hold value to things that are unable to be said, or they could just be something really cool to have. No matter what way you look at it, it is important to know where those markings came from. Dating back to the 1920’s with James Cook and his crew, to the near future with temporary tattooing ink, tattoos will always be growing and changing.
By creating 6 total tattoo flashes that are inspired by 3 different artists, it is easy to see the difference in style through the years. The first two flashes are a recreation of Sailor Jerry's most popular tattoos. Sailor Jerry is one of the first American Traditional artist, based in Hawaii. The second row is a now famous tattoo artist by the name of Myra Oh. Myra Oh is considered a traditional tattoo artist, but you can see the obvious differences in color, lines, and designs compared to Jerry. The last row is the direction traditional tattoos are heading, these are being created by Han Shinko. Han is a black and white traditional artist, mastering in line work.
Below are the original tattoos my recreations are based off of:
"Captain James Cook and His Contribution to Tattooing." Tattoo.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 08 Sept. 2016. "Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry:The Life of Norman K. Collins." YouTube. YouTube, 2014. Web. 08 Sept. 2016. Skovlund, Jr. Marty. "Tattoos and the Warrior Tradition." The Havok Journal. N.p., 2014. Web. 08 Sept. 2016. "Tattoos - Sailor Jerry." Sailor Jerry. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2016. RichestNews. "Oliver Peck Net Worth." Celebrity Net Worth. N.p., 2016. Web. 13 Sep. 2016. "Tattoo." How Tattoo Is Made. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2016 "Startup Company Developing Ink That Fades in a Year." ABC13 Houston. N.p., 2016. Web. 20 Sept. 2016. "Ephemeral." Ephemeral. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.