Is the Tattoo Fad Finally Over?

A few years ago the more rubber friendship bracelets you had, the more you cared. Until we worked you couldn’t eat them, and they weren’t a source of green energy. We’ve also had mood rings, virtual pets, mopeds, happy pants, hypercolour, and family stickers. If I had one of those, it’d just be one guy, holding a maxed out credit card, a beer, and a thought bubble with a girl in it.

What do all those fads have in common? When you’re done with them, they’re disposable. Put them in that box specially designed for embarrassment called ‘the bin’ or ‘the salvos’, and then pretend you were at the movies the whole time.

Not tattoos. That’s the one drunken, immature, spur of the moment decision that you’re stuck with for life. It’s that photo where you looked cross-eyed and have three chins that you can never be rid of.

Well there is laser surgery. Very expensive though. In 2012 tattoo removals are up 10 per cent. One more stupid thing for people with tatts to spend their money on, after spending their money on the stupid thing of getting tattooed in the first place.

In these uncertain economic times, with the stock market continually crashing and property prices on the slide, tattoo removals are one growth area. So my tip? Take your money out of your superannuation, quit work and start up your very own, ‘Jim’s Tattoo Removals’.

But are tattoos art? They can be, however anything done well can be art. A wonderfully made brick wall can be art. An antique bookshelf. Even burlesque dancing can be art, as difficult to believe as I know that is.

Also, the opposite is true. A terrible painting is not art. Just like a terrible tattoo has negative artistic value. Art takes dedication, deliberation and is original, beautiful and inspirational. It is not a southern cross. It is not your child’s name. It is not a Chinese character, or some tribal design that indicates one sixteenth of your heritage. In an art gallery how many of the pieces are done in green ink? None. What does that tell you?

Some people say that their tattoos serve as reminders of the most important people and moments in their lives. You know what happens with the most memorable things in my life? I remember them.

At university I heard a theory that people have tattooed on themselves the qualities that they yearn to possess, but never will. The wimp gets a tiger, the violent partner a love heart with his wife’s name, the alcoholic a picture of Jesus. Instead of drawing a picture on yourself of what you want to be, why not just commit to being it?

Then there was the girl I was dating who had a tribal symbol on her back. She hated it, but it didn’t worry her, because she never had to see it. Well I did. At some very intimate moments. It didn’t last.

All that said, I’ve seen some truly awesome and original tattoos. Before you get one, have a think. How are you going to feel about it twenty years from now? Would that money be better spent on a holiday? Maybe they’re just not for me. I adore great art, I just don’t see the point of putting it on my skin.