For a few years, we have been observing that tattoos are appearing on the skin of more and more people. From the young rocker to the doctor, tattoos seem to leave behind its brutal and violent connotation for the benefit of the role of an entire art! Let’s prepare the dermograph and let’s explore together this so intriguing world!
An indelible story
Practiced for millennia, the tattoo is graphic art, whose matter is the human skin. Indeed, we found Egyptian mummies, 3000 years old, with sheep and bulls tattoos (that you can observe in the British Museum). Much more than those two mummies, we know nowadays that tattoos exist for a really long time in a huge variety of cultures, as various by their nature than geographically. From China, before our era to the Britons during the Roman time, passing by the distant Polynesian islands, the tattoo has grown everywhere on Earth!
Tattoos: a whole symbol
As it has been said previously, the tattoo gradually established itself as a social and multicultural tool very early. For a long time, the tattoo was a strong indicator of the social rank, because it’s indelible and visible. For example in Japan, for a long time, it was used as corporal punishment for criminals. Nowadays, it stays very connoted in the Country of the rising sun, because of its intimate story with the Yakuzas, the local underworld. In fact, those gangsters have been using this as a weapon to recognize one another and organize themselves. Because they need to be possibly hidden, Yakuza’s tattoos consist, most of the time, in big colorful frescoes named Irezumi in the back or on the whole body. Each drawing has his own signification: where a Koi will mean motivation and perseverance, a dragon will symbolize force and honor for example.
In a completely different way, in Polynesia, “the tattoo translates what is deepest in the human being”. Essentially in black, the Tatau (at the origin of the word tattoo) consisted of a real rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood. Through a multitude of specific patterns (turtles, shark teeth, marquise cross…), these tattoos represent the personality in the best way. It consists also in an important indicator of the social rank because the more someone will be tattooed, the more his social rank will be important.
The ink does not fade
In the 21st century, the tattoo is taking a different shape. Although the tattoos that we call “traditional” still exists, the tattoo is discovering itself in a much more popular form. Nowadays, in France for example, we count more than 18% of people with tattoos (over 18 years old). Why this keen interest? First of all, the evolution of the materials, as well as the different laws on the products (ink, needles…) and hygiene improves trust. Moreover, according to the evolution of society, and the presence of the tattoo in pop culture, it’s more and more accepted. We are attending an immense diversification of the styles. Considering that the tattoo is an art, and so the tattooists are artists, each of them is working, getting inspiration and developing his own style. Among the most popular styles currently, we can notice the “neo-trad”, which consist of an evolution of the “old-school”, well known for the sailors. The neo-trad is a very colorful style, where the modern technics allowed more detailed work, to add shading, for a more realistic rendering. We notice also more and more of ornamentals tattoos, as well as minimalists… In the end, it’s not possible to enumerate all the styles, each tattoo artist having his own. Finally, what is a tattoo artist? It seems a very wide question, so we asked a tattoo artist in Skopje to tell us more information about her job.
Could you introduce yourself briefly?
I am Annetta, I’m 27 years old, I’m Macedonian and a tattoo artist
For how long have you been a tattoo artist, and when did you open the shop 11:11?
I have been a tattoo artist for almost 2 years, and the shop is open since November 2019
How did you come to be a tattoo artist?
I’ve been studying at the University of Academic Fine-Art. For me, the skin is a new material, a new experiment. I didn’t know what to do with myself… So I bought the machine-gun and I started to tattoo. On myself of course.
How does it work to get a tattoo?
First of all, the client should come in person to the shop with design, some ideas, to discuss it. We discuss the design, the size, the place where they want to put it. After that, we make an appointment and let’s go! And if the client is underaged, the parents should come.
(Ed: we will also note that you can do another kind of tattoos: the “Flash”. It’s a drawing already done before by the artist, and if you love it, we can get it tattooed. It’s usually done on events like conventions for example. We name this a “Walk-in” )
You already talked about the design, how do you describe yours?
I mean it depends on the tattoo. On small tattoos, I can’t really express myself, the clients have a very specific idea. On bigger tattoos, I feel freer. But in general, I prefer black, strong black lines.
Did you notice an evolution in the world of tattoo in Macedonia fora few years? What kind of people is coming to get a tattoo?
First, yes I noticed that there are more and more shops! In every corner! Concerning the audience, I would say that it’s mostly from 18 to 30 years old. But my father is 50 and he is going to get a tattoo so the age doesn’t matter so much at the end.
Few words to conclude?
I’m working only with passion, and the tattoo is an art even if not so many people are aware of this in Macedonia. And I would say that everyone can become a tattoo artist. You just need to have a really clean drawing and to practice a lot! And then, of course, everyone should get a tattoo, it’s awesome!