Realizations On Why You Should or Shouldn’t Get A Certain Tattoo – By Jason Anthony
While helping a good friend move the other day (because that’s what real friends do) we discussed the utter astonishment that some people get when you tell them
“No, these tattoos don’t mean anything.“
“Wait, like, nothing at all?”
“No, nothing. I like the pictures.”
How on earth could you put something on your body that doesn’t mean anything? The very idea seems so foreign to people. Tattoos are after all (semi) permanent. What are you going to do when you get old and have to explain them to your kids or grand-kids? Did you know that they’re permanent?
The fact of the matter is that for every single individual there’s a different reason for getting tattooed. Sure, lots of times those reasons overlap, but that makes them no less important to the individual that is getting the tattoo. Thanks to the popularity that tattooing has gained through our mass media overlords, we as (good) tattooers, have become increasingly in-demand. But with that increase comes some of the ideas that were planted in our little brains about what a tattoo is, and should represent. It is after all (relatively) permanent, so it absolutely must mean the ENTIRE universe to you, if you’re going to go through the pain of getting something (somewhat) permanently marked into your VERY FLESH.
With the vast ocean of importance that your tattoo holds, there has to be a story that goes along with it. A story that explains and showcases everything to a person about what makes you as an individual, tick. It should showcase the very essence of your every fiber, right? … Sure … Maybe … But not really.
In the end, it’s going to be a picture that has been tattooed by countless other artists onto countless people years and years before you were born. Even my most creative colleagues are still tattooing the same imagery that’s been done by mankind since cave drawings. If there’s a story to your tattoos, then that’s awesome. However, sometimes people get tattooed simply because tattoos look cool. I don’t live on a TV show. I’m not looking for that one epic and emotionally moving story to get ratings to increase the number of ad dollars I can seek out of sister companies with similar vested interests. I’m just trying to get a good-looking tattoo. For example, tigers can represent fearlessness, or royalty, or perseverance, or whatever, and that’s cool, but it’s still a bad ass looking animal that makes for a great tattoo. That’s why my back has a giant tiger on it. But thank God these things are only kind of permanent, because some of those things that meant the world to me a decade ago (that I couldn’t wait to get tattooed), are starting to look pretty busted.
With that said, take your own time thinking about the imagery that you’d have tattooed. It could be a few days or a few years…even a few seconds. Either way my goal as a tattoo artist is that you’ll love your tattoo even if it doesn’t have a great story.
About Jason Anthony:
Jason Anthony has been tattooing professionally since January 2004 and through his illustrative interpretation of the ancient art of tattooing he has been awarded several honorific titles including: “That loud guy in the corner”, “Most likely to accept any compliment with grace and humility”, and “The one that nerds go to for their video game/comic book/d&d tattoo”. You can find him creating his life’s work on the beautiful people of earth at The Golden Rule Tattoo in downtown Phoenix. More recently Jason Anthony has been named Best Tattoo Artist of Phoenix by AZ Foothills Magazine.