Reblogged from: http://www.pbs.org/skinstories/
The journey to receive a tattoo can follow many different roads.
When you think of someone with a tattoo, what comes to mind? A biker? A sailor? A rebellious teen? These are all stereotypes of tattoos in American culture, but in reality tattoo began in the Polynesian islands, with a cultural tradition and meaning Westerners are only beginning to understand.
Tattoo, or tatau, has deeps roots among the indigenous peoples of Polynesia. As the tradition spread through the sea-faring cultures, each island brought its own style to this physical art form.
After Captain Cook arived in the islands in the late 1700s, missionaries were soon to follow. They denounced tattoo as “the Devil’s art,” and acted swiftly to abolish tattoo, which was condemned as a symbol of superstition and sorcery. The sophisticated body art form which had developed over thousands of years was nearly destroyed in just a few decades, preserved only in old paintings and photographs.
Courtesy of PBS Off Book: It seems that no matter how far we advance into the digital age, our bodies remain a place where we want to express ourselves. In this episode, we talk to three tattoo artists of differing styles. Vinny Romanelli embraces pop culture, tattooing detailed portraits of entertainment idols, Kiku works with the traditional Japanese form, and Stephanie Tamez embodies an eclectic mix of influences, with the occasional use of nice typography… (more…)