Getting a tattoo has never been more popular than it is today, there are more tattoo shops around the world then there ever has been and the industry is booming. For many people having a tattoo is almost a drug, it leads to the need of getting more and more, and this demand is certainly being met by tattooists all over the world.
Perhaps the growth in tattoos has been driven by a more liberal acceptance by society for them. And the training of tattoo artists has led to high quality work, and the correct after care. The age old stigma that a tattoo equals rebellion is somewhat tempered these days, and almost anybody in society can be seen with a tattoo.
In this blog we look at the art of the tattoo, and how there are different techniques in different places.
The Western Technique
It was in the 1800’s that tattoo machines began appearing in western countries, and many machines that are used today are based on these early designs. The machine functions using a sturdy needle which is placed in a metal tube, ink is added and then the needle is moved over the body. There is also a foot pedal that turns the machine off and on. Basically, the needle makes the outline then other methods fill the color.
This ancient form of tattooing uses bamboo, and is made up of a handle which has lots of bamboo needles. To create his art the bamboo artist first stretches the skin and with his other hand dips the needles into ink and pierces the skin.
The Samoan technique sounds and is the most barbaric and painful. The artist uses a type of rake that is tipped with a handle made out of bone, and a stick is used to strike the flesh. The rake is drenched in ink and an assistant pulls the skin taut whilst the artist would hit the rake with the stick so it pierces the skin. Patterns are made by moving the rake over the body, rather than puncturing the skin as traditional techniques do it pierces the skin.
Thailand has been practicing tattooing since ancient times, and many tattoos have significant religious meanings for the Thai people. The tool used by the artists is very long and made of brass, in the middle of this tube is a pointed rod that slides up and down.
The artists motion is similar to that of a sewing machine, firstly he dips the rod into ink and then pierces the skin with the rod.
Our final technique is the Maori technique, and this tribe from New Zealand have a long history with tattoos. The Maori designs are famous all around the world, consisting of intricate spirals and swirls. An chisel-like instrument is used to cut through the skin, and then repeatedly dipped into ink and into the skin again.
In past times getting a painful tattoo in this manner was perceived as an act of courage by the warrior, and he showed his bravery to the whole tribe by undergoing such an ordeal. It is slightly different today and modern techniques are not nearly so painful.