• Thato Mathebula


“Be comfortable in your skin”, never in the history of this planet has this statement rang truer. Depending on where on the planet you are from, you can dress how you want, be open about your sexuality and get ink done on your skin. And even if you are from a more conservative country there are multiple places you have the option to relocate to if that means you can freely express yourself and communicate what is in your heart and your mind.

Before the world started becoming more open-minded tattoo culture was taboo to many people. You would be lucky to get employed if you had tattoos that were hard to hide away. The attitude towards this art has changed drastically.

Society often labelled those with tattoo’s as members of gang culture, ex-convicts, delinquents and other individuals from marginalized communities. These stereotypes and stigma’s have become less apparent. Although tattoo’s have been around for thousands of centuries and in many cases have links to specific tribes and culture’s in terms of traditional and spiritual symbolism, what people choose to get inked on them has become more personal to them and their identity.

With this personalization has also come the evolution of styles such as realism, black work, portraiture and geometric etc from the 20th century and beyond. Tattoo culture has had resurgences that have come and gone throughout history. The mainstream has also had a huge influence on the type of body art people get. According to multiple studies a lot of the time when people get body art that is influenced by the mainstream culture, they end up getting it removed or covered by art that is personally more meaningful to them.

Investing in tattoo removal equipment may be one of the biggest investments an artist can make in this current climate more especially with the improvement of technology of tattoo removal equipment. Stay tuned for this week’s episode of Maintain the design podcast where we will discuss the landscape of tattoo culture in the 21st century.

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