So you’ve finally decided to join the counter-culture and get yourself a wicked-looking tat on the likes of Angelina Jolie, Justin Timberlake, Sean Connery, Michael Jordon, or our own Desi handsome hunks, Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt? Read on!
Some years back, the magic of signature henna treatments along with seductive body marking /body piercing used to be adored by brides at celebrity weddings. However, of late, the elite/upmarket Indian males are getting branded by tattoos/scarifications/body piercing on each and every part of their bodies, from the face to the genitalia. Such practices, which today are the latest fashion fads of the gen-Y, were an integral part of a deeply symbolic, centuries-old tradition around the world among tribal communities. Interest in tattooing and body piercing has surged during the past ten years, spawning a new aesthetic of personal appearance for umpteen young people.
Blame it on the movies, the showbiz world, the photographic shoots, or the global fashion/ramp shows, body marking with tattoos are “in”. Indeed, a lot of it has already been featured in the media. Everybody seems to be talking about how celebrity henna/tattooing/body piercing artists are touring the globe and making their marks in the movies and popular culture and how they are creating stunning body tattoo designs with a unique smoothness and texture to adorn male skins.
Starting from skulls and crossbones to more effeminate dolphins and intricate geometrical patterns, men are getting all at upmarket tattoo parlors as well as at expensive sessions with celebrity tattoo artists in India and abroad. Gone are the days when body marking with tattoos was considered a pseudo-art for freaks and soldiers. In recent years tattooing has emerged to the forefront of popular consciousness. Today a tattoo ‘flash’ is a folder of tattoo-artwork by tattoo artists, with styles ranging from the traditional and vernacular to the sacred and innovative.
In India, this explosion of body art may not have reached such heights of craze like in America, where it has been found to be an ever-growing obsession with kids and teens, fashion-freak males and even baby boomers. (Researches have revealed that in three percent of American households today, at least one of their members has one or more tattoos, which means at least twelve million Americans have one tattoo). Nevertheless, body markings with Disney, Spiderman, Princess, Celtic Arm bands, Mascots and more have been common practices among teenager guys, college-goers as well as with the fashion-conscious “metro-man” aspiring for a cult stature among peers and pals.
In the ancient, Celtic times, Polynesian culture, tattooing used to signify one’s ancestors, family, or something else equally as personal. On the hand, today’s tattoo artists reflect the depth and potential of body marking, keeping in tandem with contemporary imagination. While in the pre-historic times, Neolithic times and so on, body marking with tattoos was considered only among the royals to signify vigor and virility, today’s tattoo artists can create the stunning magic of tattooing on anyone by injecting specially created color pigments into the skin. For this, they use a solid, round-tip needle attached to a motorized instrument that holds up to 14 needles attached to the pigments.
Ignoring the potential complications of such body marking (starting from gangrene, syphilis and hepatitis B to HIV), men in increasing numbers are flocking to amateur artists, do-it-yourselfers, and informal tattooers, (known as “scratchers”) to have their arms, backs, chests or legs tattooed. However, while you gravitate towards body marking with tattoos, body piercing and scarifications, considering these hip and cool, make sure to have these done by professionals who follow health and safety guidelines that prevent the spread of these diseases. Professional tattoo artists charge more because they use electrically powered, vertical, vibrating instruments to inject the tattoo pigment, while maintaining safety and sterility precautions. So, whether you are serious about the resurrection of such ritualistic body marking that spans a broad spectrum of our history, or you just want to do it for the heck of it, the bottomline is: Do it safely!
Lopa Bhattacharya is a content writer/developer for overseas/Indian corporate website projects, CD-Rom presentations, brochures, flyers and other communication materials. Have worked on SEO copywriting projects on varied themes ranging from travel, hotel industry, photography, web design and software development to US-based clubs and network communities. Does freelance writing assignments for the print and web media featuring women, children, health, literature, art, and media.