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Why are bad tattoos so popular?

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I am curious why bad tattoos are so popular. I mean, I can understand that someone who knows nothing about tattoos goes to a bad artist and gets a badly done tattoo. I did that myself. What I don't understand are why tattoos lacking any creativity or art are so popular.

For instance, why do people want to put typewriter text on themselves? Why do they want so much text but no images? Why do they want flowery, descriptive text but not an image of what that text is describing? This makes absolutely no sense to me. I've been as dumb as anybody regarding tattoos but one thing I've never had pop into my mind is to want words describing beautiful things rather than the beautiful things themselves.

Another one are the fads like the inifinity symbols, the text on the wrist and the exploding birds thing. Back in the 90s when I first got a tattoo the fads (the fairies, the curly tribal stuff on the lower back) at least were flattering. The current fads are so ugly. I saw a girl with the exploding birds and it looked like someone had attacked her with a marking pen. The small crap on the wrist thing looks like you're trying to sneak crib notes in to the test. The straight lines of text tattoos are so unflattering to men and women alike. I just don't understand.

Am I just an old fuddy-duddy complaining about the youth of today? Has there actually been a real change in the culture to prefer ugliness over color, shape, texture and art? Any ideas?

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I find based on questions I get asked a lot from "plainskins" is that people who aren't big tattoo-heads think they have to justify getting tattoos by giving them personal meaning. A quote or a small image is easy to be meaningful. A badass battle royale tattoo probably has no meaning. It's just badass. People can't make that kind of commitment without a personal connection. Just like some people can't have one night stands. (This is just my opinion based on the dumb people I know who get lame tattoos).

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I very much agree with HaydenRose - people seem to get genuinely offended when, after asking me for the "meaning" of my tattoo and why I got it, I reply that I just thought it would look good, and I wanted to get it. Sorry to disappoint you, but my cat didn't even get cancer or anything. Miami ink mindset.

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Well then what is it about people these days that they walk around with so many sob stories that they absolutely have to put on their bodies with typewriter font? I mean, my cats and dogs have all died, my grandparents all died, and in my 20s I walked around with dysthymia like nobody's business but I never once wanted to tattoo a word on myself about it. I went to meetings instead.

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I find it worst when its a tattoo representing the very recent and very painful death of a loved one (like a young son or daughter), if it helps them deal with the pain, then that's great, but at the same time for the rest of your life you have a constant visual reminder of your absolute worst moment, that people will ask you about and bring up time and time again...

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I don't mean to sound like a cranky old man. Honestly, I am sort of curious from a sociological standpoint.

Has all the texting kinda done away with visual literacy or something? I'll admit I hardly ever do any texting so it's not something I ever got into.

Or maybe people are afraid of criticism? I notice that they do seem to be afraid to have any opinions of their own and certainly putting a large image on yourself suggests you had a strong opinion about the art.

I have no idea, but I really am curious about this.

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i'm just hoping that impulsive tattoos will one day equate to impulsive one night stands. the scale is tipped heavy on one side, and y'all know which way.

I keep re-reading this and I'm confused. Very confused. Can you explain?

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To bring up the whole "deep meanings for tattoos" thing again, I have only been getting tattooed/been around tattooing for about 8 years now, can any "old timers" give any insight into whether this is a long standing tradition, or if it has been made much more standard due to people seeing almost every tattoo on reality TV shows have deep, faux-intellectual meanings crowbarred into them.

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Doug Hardy was here the other day and told us about being in a bar talking to a guy who struck up a conversation with him about his tattoos. At one point the guy said, completely seriously. "Y'know I always wanted to get a tattoo, but I never knew anyone that died."

Thanks TV.

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@Perez things like that always make me imagine a world where some dude can get a throat tattoo that says chicken fucker, and when people ask him about his he tells them he went to prison and people heard he went there for bestiality. Then forged him to get that tattoo.

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I very much agree with HaydenRose - people seem to get genuinely offended when, after asking me for the "meaning" of my tattoo and why I got it, I reply that I just thought it would look good, and I wanted to get it. Sorry to disappoint you, but my cat didn't even get cancer or anything. Miami ink mindset.

My stock answer answer for plainskins is "I like looking at the pictures."

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Society lacks the esoteric connections with totems. Its out of a nacissitic desire to feel like they are some how expressing real thoughts or ideas by putting it on their body. Seldom have I done lettering of large quantity on someone who was say..a person who was really into books and felt a connection to the dialog of a novel or the linguistic appeal of ones writing style. Its usually just a clever quote they saw on social media or a song lyric that they want to mean something but have never even purchased an album by the person/band. Looking for logic in mainstream culture is an exercise in futility. It is however easier to recognize those who know what's cool and those who are just riding the current trend.

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Some of my earlier tattoos are rather simplistic and/or lack creativity. They don't follow the trends named in this thread and I actually still think they look kind of cool--but I also didn't know what was possible back then. I didn't do a ton of research, there was no internet when I got my first one 22 years ago...so I just thought I had to bring in what I wanted and get it. I know better now. I think most people just don't know better. They need LST. Or LSD. Maybe both.

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When I first started getting tattooed I sacrificed aesthetics for meaning. I mean I picked my designs based on certain beliefs I had instead of going for what looked coolest. The only one I really regret is the text tattoo on my neck/chest. I'll probably cover it up with something else one day. Up until now, every single tattoo on my body has a religious theme or undertone to it.

My stomach will be the first piece I'm getting purely for the looks and I'm quite excited. My other tattoos look cool but I could have gone bigger and more badass if I focused on aesthetics. But hey I may have never gotten into tattooing so much if I didn't want to express myself first so it is what it is.

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