Tattoo’s have a lot of meaning(s), which stretch beyond the visually obvious. But, a majority of time’s, they mean exactly what you see. Tattoo’s can be seen as extensions of an individuals existence. A woman in ’03 showed that tattoo’s can be living wills and another woman in ’08 did the same. We can look at these stories as trend setting achievements. But, when it comes to tattooing, that isn’t the case. Tattooing isn’t something new and it has a vast history of touching an ethnic variety of canvases.
On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Historical Society hosted “Art with a Point: A Brief History of Tattoos,” which is part of their lecture series “History of Hip.” The lecture was held at the Minnesota History Center, in St. Paul.
The lecture was given by Dr. John Troyer and Minneapolis Tattoo Artist Awen Briem. Dr. Troyer is the Deputy Director of the Centre of Death and Society at the University of Bath, England. He is also a co-founder of the Death Reference Desk website.
Ms. Awen owns and operates Art With A Point Custom Tattoo Studio, in Uptown Minneapolis. She has been tattooing for 17-years and has been awarded numerouis awards for her work. Briem is also a State Representative for the Alliance of Professional Tattooist.
It was often believed that individuals with tattoos were categorized or stereotyped as criminals and/or bottom feeders of society. The history of tattoos streaches back thousands of years and leaves no specific group of people untouched. Dr. Troyer used the “Iceman,” which was found on the Italian-Austrian boarder, as a perfect example of early tattooing. His studies have found that British Aristocrats were also tattooed but would hide it from the public. Tattooing has been used to show social and political statues, amongst different groups.
Dr. Troyer said that when individuals get tattoos, they get them to commemorate someone or to commemorate a live changing event. These tattoos are known as memorial tattoos. Another trend that Briem, has seen, is 9/11 and war tattoo’s. We can interpret tattooing, as a form of art, but also a form of expression of the individual who is getting the tattoo.