Skin Deep 227

Skin Deep 227 23 July 2013 227

It’s easy to not see the world as it really is when you’re all wrapped up in a niche. The fact remains, however, that most of the world is not tattooed and understands what it is even less.

A prime example of how stupid some people can be, I shall hand over to you right now from personal experience. I bumped into somebody I haven’t seen for about ten years only yesterday. We did the smalltalk thing (we were in a car park), and she said: “You got some more tattoos then?”

And I went on to tell her what I was up to these days – and got the expected responses in return…

“Oh, I know somebody who has a tattoo…” and some other nonsense that I won’t bore you with – and then she looked down at my arm and said, “What is that? A Giraffe?”

Now, if we have met, you’ll know it’s one of many ravens in a woodcut style, but on no planet – no matter how far away from the sun it spins in our galaxy – does it look like a freaking giraffe! Outside of our galaxy, I can’t be so certain, but within this one? Not a bloody giraffe. The best I could do was laugh in her face and then later, behind her back too.

But the more people I told this story to, the more it became apparent how many people haven’t got a clue what ‘art’ is… in any form.

A world in which somebody can look at, for example, a glorious piece from a Japanese master or something from say, Buena Vista or Bez over at Triple Six, and make a connection with somebody they know who has a Winnie the Pooh honeypot tattoo from 1987, is a world in which we still have much work to do. To the outside world, a tattoo is a tattoo is a tattoo. To them, a toaster is a toaster is a toaster regardless of whether it cost a tenner from a supermarket or is one of those beautifully designed ones that can take six pieces of bread and looks like it was designed by one of the sfx crew from Pacific Rim.

Sometimes, you just can’t win. But there is an endgame – and it’s important to see where it is.

If you care to go back to 1987 and live in that Winnie the Pooh world for a moment – in some weird kind of Life on Mars fashion (though there are better years to pick than 1987 if you look hard) – you’d also find a lot of cars made by Rover on the road. Some years later, they pretty much made the Rover look like a Jaguar and sold a lot of cars because of it.

Under the bonnet, it was still a two-bit Rover. There are about as many Rovers out there now as there are Winnie tattoos that haven’t been covered up. A few hardcore choice pieces that refuse to die because they’ve been well cared for, but still… they’re on their way.

We all have a role to play in this. One day – in time – 2013 will become a 1987 and you will continue to be judged by your tattoos (that’s never going to change), but we’re in a much better place now than we were back then to carry a big Olympic-sized torch into the future.

Make sure your ink is rocking the house down. Get good ink; get the best ink you can afford.

But for those who can’t tell the difference between a raven and a giraffe… well, there are some wars that aren’t even worth getting dressed for.


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