Tattoos in San Diego

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Tattoo’s for thousands of years have been a mark of a culture, a mark of an individual, and most importantly a statement of individuality. San Diego is home to a multitude of tattoo parlors, as well as the people who become the canvases for the artists that wield the ink marker. Why have tattoo’s become so important to so many in our great city and has it become some what of a mark of the millennial culture.

Walking down the streets of PB, Downtown, North Park, and many other areas of San Diego one can see some of the greatest artwork our generation has to offer. No, it is not the architecture or the way the streets are designed, not sprawling canvases bought at the local paint shop, nor is it the art framed in a local art store. Rather it is individuals’ bodies that have become the foreground for this auspicious form of self-expression.

Provided by 'McSimon' via Flickr

Provided by 'McSimon' via Flickr

For anyone who lives in this great city, it has become increasingly apparent that tattoos are no longer relegated to the less social aspects of a society. The marks that were once worn by the so called “different” and “wayward” individuals in a community are now worn by the every day Joe, the college student, the banker, and even the mom coaching a girls soccer team.

The growing trend of tattoos in our city, the nation, and even the world is undeniable and can no longer be considered taboo. This statement of self-expression has passed so many hurdles that it has almost become a right of passage among the young and old alike. One of my friends even had a mother daughter outing where they got tattoo’s as a form of celebration and unity among the family. Where did this come from?

For years, humanity has struggled with the notion of self-expression. How can one express who they are, what they believe, and show it to the world at large? The answer is tattoos.

Not everyone is artistic enough to paint, draw and play music, but we do own our bodies. The body can fill the void for this lack of artistry. Rather than doing it yourself, the tattoo artist can do it for you and make your body the foreground to your artistic expression. It is this singular form of expression, teamed with the growing popularity and appeal of a tattoo that has allowed the art to boom, and San Diego has become a huge part of the tattoo community.

There are so many places in the greater San Diego region that one can get a tattoo. With locations in PB, Downtown, Hillcrest, North Park, Escondido, Poway, RB, and many other counties there is no lack of tattoo parlors.  Tattoo parlors such as Patriot Tattoo, Avalon Tattoo, Tahitis Felix Master Tattoo, and Enigma Professional Tattoo and Piercing (which were voted top 4 in San Diego at ABC 10 News) it is clear that the growing prowess of tattoos in San Diego is undoubtedly here to stay.

Rob, from Patriot Tattoo, which won the best Tattoo parlor in San Diego on ABC 10 news states, “people are doing it now more as a memorial to things in their life. No longer are people coming in saying “hey I want that dragon tattoo or that butterfly tattoo on the wall”, Instead they are coming in knowing what they want.”

Rob also stated that  “tattoos are becoming more acceptable now more than ever, especially from TV shows.” The growing emphasis on tattoos in TV shows can be seen across a wide variety of some of the most popular entertainment on television. Rock of Love, The Bachelor, American Idol, and many more have contestants on that wield the ink art.

“We see a big influx in the 35 and up mothers. They feel like it was something that they always wanted to do and now they can do it,” Rob reiterated.

Tattoo Art Festival, provided by 'philippe leroyer' via Flickr

Tattoo Art Festival, provided by 'philippe leroyer' via Flickr

In the end it is one of the fastest growing forms of self-expression in our community. Tattoos have existed for thousands of years and will continue to exist as more and more people get the urge for the ink.

We may even begin to see CEOs of multi-million dollar companies wearing a sleeve, or congressmen getting inked. Although it may seem a little far fetched, it is however possible. According to recent PEW research, “thirty-six percent of those ages 18 to 25, and 40 percent of those ages 26 to 40, have at least one tattoo.” That means that if you walk down the street you have a 3 out of 4 chance of seeing someone with a tattoo.

Whatever your opinion, the power of the tattoo has become overwhelming.  I leave you with a quote: “A tattoo is a true poetic creation, and is always more than meets the eye. As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition.” ~V. Vale and Andrea Juno, Modern Primitives

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