Why do we get tattoos? (Part 1 of a Series)

Now that social stigmas about tattoos are slowly lifting (in some cultures), more and more people are getting tattooed. Which brings up the question of why?

Why do we want and sometimes feel the need to permanently mark our bodies with ink? Sometimes religion, a love of art,  an infatuation with a certain quote, image, symbol or person; but can we dig deeper and find the root cause and human characteristic that make us commit to the ancient art of tattooing?

Welcome to the introduction to “Why We Get Tattoos”, a blog series outlining the many reasons behind the want and need of getting tattooed. We invite you to share with us your reasons. What is it that made you get your tattoo? 

Check out this awesome article by Vice Magazine.  It’s an interview with a psychologist about why people get tattoos, bad tattoos to be specific but the word “bad”, of course, is completely relative.

Here’s a small exert from the interview with Dr. Kirby Farrell, a University of Massachusetts professor specializing in anthropology, psychology, and history as it relates to human behaviour.

"Tattooing has been around for thousands of years, we're even finding early humans with tattoos. Do you think there is something inherent to human nature that makes us want to tattoo ourselves?

- Sure. The cadaver that was found frozen and preserved in the Alps, which I think is about 5,000 years old—he's in a museum in Italy, you can drop by and say hello—the latest research shows that his body has quite a few tattoos on his skin. They tend to be abstract designs. Based on their locations, it's been hypothesized that they were there to distract from uncomfortable physical things like arthritis. Or possibly, that they have some kind of magical significance. If you think about it, from a certain point of view, as all of our behaviour tends to be very magical in some ways. Imaging that there's some special power in your symbols, in your tagline, in your brand, that somehow elevates your mood, makes you feel stronger, more capable, better about yourself.

 (…) Its physical and artistic representations of values you can identify with. We're in this world now where there's a kind of recurring, sudden racism that we haven't really seen since the 1960s or even since the Civil War. Working conditions are extremely punishing, demanding, and depersonalizing for folks on the bottom. You don't really feel entitled to your own identity. So people feel especially pressured to try to find their own magical reinforcement for things that the culture is not really helping you much with. You see money and injury and death and guilt while people want to feel safe and feel like they're in charge of the world in terms of personal self-esteem and well being."

Read the full article here: http://www.vice.com/read/a-psychologist-explains-why-people-get-bad-tattoos-429

What’s your story? Did the tattoo change that story or strengthen your intent towards something meaningful?

Email us your story & thoughts to info@liquidambertattoo.com / subject line “MY STORY”.  You might be featured anonymously in an upcoming blog!

Coming up next:  “Medical Tattoos: For some the want & for others the need”