I noticed tattoos gaining prominence among non-radicals about a decade ago when some of my co-workers on a whim ran out and had large tattoos extending the width of their back etched, not a tiny butterfly hidden in a "private" place. I chalked it up to middle-age creep. For me the overwhelming fear of such permanence is boredom. I can't maintain the same hairstyle or fashion style for too long without getting anxious for change. I am nervous that after a year or two I would despise my design choice and hate myself for getting a tattoo. Perhaps that is why some people locate their tattoo on their back, "out of sight, out of mind"? But still I am fascinated with them. I talk to people who have them and spend my time online looking at some amazing artistry.
A new California State Law went into effect this July 1, 2012 requiring the creation of an official government department to inspect and carefully certify the cleanliness and proper procedures of tattoo parlors. Hooray! This practice of breaking the surface of your skin to insert colored dyes is a bloody venture and can transmit fungal infections, tuberculosis, herpes, tetanus, hepatitis and HIV. Do your homework if you decide to have a permanent tattoo tapped into your skin. Here is a list of world-renown tattoo artists (click link) for you to research.
Let me talk a little about gang tattoos. There are agencies that provide tattoo removal services for at-risk youth available in major metropolitan cities. The program is called Clean Slate and gang tattoo removal is a service offered as part of a comprehensive individual program towards lifestyle change. The City of San Jose has had this program since 1994 http://www.sanjoseca.gov/prns/mgptf/clean-slate.asp, and Los Angeles has their Clean Slate program (click link). You can find more information on this subject through Google (click link), or even through Facebook (click link).
Even fashion design houses are trying to get into the act. British fashion design house Alexander McQueen created a fabulous dress a few seasons back that nearly looks like a real tattoo job, and French shoemaker Berluti has their version of carved tattoo craftsmanship engraved into their leather shoes (pictured below):
I discovered while doing this research that tattoos have medical implications. There are a growing number of individuals who are having emergency medical instructions permanently tattooed on their bodies allowing for medical technicians to make medical choices towards the patients'correct care. The picture below is that of a man that warns that he cannot receive CPR. Article by Alan Taylor for The Atlantic.
COMMENT: Tell LIFE-StyleME (anonymously if you like) which tattoos you have and what your design symbolizes? http://life-styleme.blogspot.com/