Pugilist

Cool stuff you've learned/gotten into/etc. thanks to getting tattooed

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I feel like it's good to have a super posi thread every now and then!

@Graeme and I talk about this a lot - that being into tattoos has not only gotten us, you know, some amazing tattoos, but that it has also broadened our horizons in about a million different ways. This is thanks to the fantastic people we are privileged to interact with and the amazing knowledge and insight that they've shared with us. I had no interest at all in Japanese/Chinese/Tibetan/etc. art before we started hanging out in tattoo shops, for example, and now it feels like an amazing world of art has been opened up to me. Tattoos have also led me to learn more about Buddhist practices and indirectly influenced both of us to learn how to meditate. Basically it's turned us into goddamn hippies, which I am super down with.

I'd be curious to hear about ways that getting tattooed has led you to learn and experience new things, beyond the joy of a needle in your ass crack. In the age of Inkmaster, I think it's worth talking about how rich tattoo culture is, and how connected it is to other amazing cultural, artistic, spiritual, etc., movements and practices.

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great thread idea!

as a result of wanting my tattoos to heal nicely i've gotten into eating significantly healthier and crossfit/weightlifting so my ass will look nice on instagram #tattooedmanbutt #instamanbutt #buttgram

i'm more willing to travel if there are tattoos involved in the trip. visited nyc, austin, montreal, and burlington vt for the first time as a result of tattoo collecting.

i also hangout with more canadians than i did prior to tattoos

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I think for ease, I'll divide this into sections:

1. History I've learned

2. New art forms I've discovered

3. Cool people I've met.

4. LST

Although I got my first tattoo back in the very early 90s, it wasn't until about 4 years ago that I started seriously looking into the history of tattooing. Since then, I've discovered a rich and deep worldwide artistic practice. From Japan, to the American carnival, to Scandinavian sailors, I have learned a great deal about how different cultures have appreciated (or denigrated) the art of tattooing.I've seen WWI records of soldiers inductions, complete with detailed descriptions of their tattoos. Fascinating! A trip to Great Lakes in Chicago led me down the rabbit hole of tracking the post-war era of American tattooing, (Tatts Thomas, etc), which I quickly fell in love with. It must be the historian in me.

2. Originally I thought of tattoos as simply a mark on the skin. As I've become more and more involved in the tattoo scene, for lack of a better term, I started looking into how different cultures' styles developed and spread across the world. It also opened up a new way for me to understand complex cultural markers and how we relate to them and respect them. Tattooing has opened my mind to being ever more interested in how other cultures mark themselves and express themselves through art.

3. All the cool people. This cannot be overstated. I have met interesting, talented, funny, smart, people from all walks of life by spending as much time as I do in the shops and in the surrounding areas. I've met tattooers with amazing stories of travel and adventure, and tattooed people who share the same passion and fascination. This has had the benefit of getting me traveling more than I had been over the last decade. Montreal, Chicago, and beyond!

4. The LST community. 'Nuff said. You are good people.

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Aside from the spiritual side of things, which could take a while, getting tattooed has made me a lot more conscious of not just external, but also internal health. A lot of focus is put on moisturizing with lotions, etc. However, just as, if not more, important is how healthy your skin is from within. Doing both will keep those tattoos looking their best.

I drink a lot more water and stay as hydrated as I can, as this aids in the healing process and overall epidermal health, which in-turn makes my tattoos look brighter and better :cool:. Also watch what I eat, less fried stuff more good stuff, etc.

I'm also very aware of any and all sun exposure I get nowadays. I used to want the nicest tan during summers and, and now I'm the guy wearing spf 70 and UV protective shirts when I go out haha.

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^ this.

Tattoos have taught me a lot about being comfortable in my own skin, and comfortable with being myself in relation to the outside world. It's not so much an act of rebellion (which I think has kind of been taken away, to a degree) but an act of intentionally altering your appearance, in a way of your choosing. Making that choice is the liberating part to me.

Also, like everyone else said, the number of super cool people I've already met through tattoos in some way is awesome. People from all walks of life, whom I wouldn't had made that initial connection with if it weren't for tattoos.

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I find that I keep talking about my blackwork as of lately but it's been so relevent as of late (even two years into process). But I decided to add to this little politically correct anarchy symbol on my knee cap with what's derivative of mursi tribe's scarification, mostly dots and lines that resemble the skin of the crocodile. It shows your strength as a warrior and spiritual dedication, around that we've begun to blackout from there down to my ankle. I've got a LONG way to go but at one point, I let two people (who sadly no longer tattoo) work on me at once and man, what a spiritual journey that was. I found myself at peace in ways I've only had during a cool down in yoga. My entire body was relaxed and felt my face melting right off my skull. Most surreal shit ever. Following this, I found myself obsessed with blackwork, swastikas, pagan spirituality, lots of introspection. Always questioning what is the peaceful way of thinking. How can I handle this situation in a way that will bring love to myself and those around me.

It's really odd but I used to cover my legs and arms at all times. Now, the more blackout work I get, the more I want to wear hot pants and cut up my band shirts to show the world my confidence. I always have people ask me about them as well and the answers I give feel to me like I'm spreading that love. It's def some hippie shit but I was going through some emotional struggle with my wife, sat down with my machine, and began blacking out my arm with a frosty beer. right when I called it a night, I just wanted to hold her and tell her how special she was to me. It's things like this that inspire me to become a better artist and to continue to get tattooed. Granted, I've got inverted crosses and pentagrams everywhere so I guess I can additionally show people that just because I look like I'd sacrifice your cat, I'm more likely to hug you and tell you how beautiful your smile is today.

Sorry for the fucking new age bullshit. I get carried away on this topic.

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The main thing I got really into because of tattooing is the art of sign painting. I don't paint signs myself (yet), but it's so fascinating to me to see Gary Martin in ATX and Ken Davis here in the Bay Area perfect their craft.

Also, like others have said, I want to start eating healthier and work out harder because of tattooing. I don't have any tattoos on my belly (yet), but when I get to that point I want to make sure I'm in good shape. The stomach is the only part of my body that could go through some drastic changes throughout my life. I've thought about what designs would work on a giant beer gut, even though I hope to not get to that level.

I've also grown to appreciate low-rider oldies, because it gets played often at Temple.

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I have to think hard on this one because I'm not really sure if I can separate tattooing from the rest of my life. Especially what with having gotten into it really young, I definitely still feel like I'm forming my identity and that tattooing at the base of it, so like... yeah, where does that start and end?

I can definitely echo that my appreciation for art has changed a lot. Growing up, I was always attracted to really dark, fantasy based, hyper-illustrared realism and through more tattoo exposure, I'm finding that I could give two fucks about those styles in tattooing. I'm learning a lot more about the language of symbols and visual narrative, so more folky, graphic, and older art is more appealing these days.

I think the biggest one so far that I am learning the most about right now is how to manage yourself as a self employed business person. Granted, tattooing is pretty far removed from the business world but there are undeniable overlaps that can be effectively used to one's advantage to propel their career, and I find that stuff pretty interesting!

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Met lots of great people through tattooing, and have gotten into collecting books related to tattooing, especially Japanese tattooing! I am slowly amassing a collection Japanese masks and tibetan artifacts like Kapalas, Damarus, Kanglings etc.

I guess tattooing was the gateway to my interest in collecting skulls and bone related items!

As far as health related things, I generally try to stay relatively fit. I think tattooing had the opposite effect on me, where I was working out regularly and then once sessions come I am down and out during healing which makes it hard to be motivated to get back into it. I still try to get workouts in when I'm not too busy with school though!

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@Pugilist what great thread! So great that tattooing has led you and @Graeme to meditate. Mainly, getting seriously into tattooing has led me to learn a lot about tattooing and there always seems to be more to know. Balancing having less space as I get more tattoos and more knowledge about them is really interesting.

The experience of looking through Tattoo Time for the first time, and it unlocking a lot of mysteries about tattoo imagery was really exciting and kind of life changing. And as others have already said, tattooing has definitely also broadened my interests not only in tattoo art, but also Japanese and Tibetan art. Recently, I was at an antique shop and the proprietress was showing me and my wife an old kimono jacket, and I was amazed to hear myself immediately saying, "that's a great Shoki." Those words would've never rolled out of my mouth if I hadn't become interested in Japanese tattooing.

The other big thing, in terms of iconography, is an appreciation for the swastika. Very recently, I would've balked at the idea of getting a swastika tattooed, but now I would. (I'm still not sure if this is good. I understand all the arguments about it being a positive image and wanting to reclaim it, but I still think about at what cost.)

I'm also grateful that my interest in tattooing has lead me to discover this forum and, for the first time in my life, meet great people ( @hogg and @CABS), whom I met online first, in real life and share beers and tacos with them.

Also, as an side, I think sometimes huge beer guts look amazing for tattoos. I think the best looking Japanese bodysuits are ones worn by Japanese men with huge guts.

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Also, as an side, I think sometimes huge beer guts look amazing for tattoos. I think the best looking Japanese bodysuits are ones worn by Japanese men with huge guts.

Yeah, I've seen some rad bodysuits with dudes and beer guts for sure. I think I'm more mindful not to put a lady head on there so her face doesn't get fat too, haha.

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Working out! Prior to getting my half sleeves I had a complex about my arms being too skinny/flabby to get tattooed and that it just wouldn't look good. I was extremely motivated and started going to a gym 3-4 times a week trying to lose weight and add some muscle to my flimsy arms. I wound up getting started on them anyways because I finally realized that rationale of thinking was entirely stupid and in no way shape or form should have prevented me from getting what I wanted. Once I got into a routine though I managed to stick with it ever since and lost about 50lbs. I'm healthier then I've ever been and no longer have to worry about my blood pressure.

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The other big thing, in terms of iconography, is an appreciation for the swastika. Very recently, I would've balked at the idea of getting a swastika tattooed, but now I would. (I'm still not sure if this is good. I understand all the arguments about it being a positive image and wanting to reclaim it, but I still think about at what cost.)

Be aware also that the symbol is still used in South India to denote a political party (nothing to do with Nazi).

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The other big thing, in terms of iconography, is an appreciation for the swastika. Very recently, I would've balked at the idea of getting a swastika tattooed, but now I would. (I'm still not sure if this is good. I understand all the arguments about it being a positive image and wanting to reclaim it, but I still think about at what cost.)

You could always go with a more traditional swastika. I mean, the shape would still be recognizable for what it is, but it may not look as... Aggressive? Maybe not so much like a symbol of hatred?

The difference between the Indian one and the Nazi one, as it was explained to me by the Indian (as in, emigrated from India) Hindu people I know, is mainly the color and the angle of the symbol. The religious swastika is usually shown with the top and bottom arms parallel to the “floor,” so to speak, is usually red and/or yellow (these being auspicious colors in the Hindu faith) and has dots in the arms, like so:

swastika.jpg

The Nazi swastika is black (an inauspicious, negative color by itself, to Hindus), has no dots, and is angled at 45 degrees instead of straight. They used the religious symbol as the basis for their flag, just altered its position and color, put it on a white circle over a red rectangle, and adulterated its symbolism for most of the world. To the point that many people don’t even know that it ever had good connotations - I was certainly never taught where the swastika originated. I was an adult before I learned that it was thousands of years old and was an important symbol in at least three Eastern religions. In fact, the only reason I even really learned as much as I did was because I was engaged to an Indian man who has Hindu parents and his mother gave me absolute hell because I refused to include a swastika in any of our wedding stuff. She took it upon herself to educate me in the history and symbolism of the swastika. (In the end it didn't matter, because I caught him sleeping with other women and I left him, so there never was a wedding.)

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I attend the padmasambhava Buddhist center(vajrayana) way before my tattoo, however I got an Asian dragon tattoo, I feel a sense of protection from it now, dragons are riddled in all 3 wheels of buddhism.

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Also, as an side, I think sometimes huge beer guts look amazing for tattoos. I think the best looking Japanese bodysuits are ones worn by Japanese men with huge guts.

Hahaha it's true! I honestly think substantial muscle definition/low body fat takes away from the look of a tattoo.

070812horiyasu_mh_1075-Edit.jpg

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