Tattoo By Zhuoran Chen

Tattoo Culture

According to a report done by the Pew Research Center, 36 percent of Americans aged 18-25 have at least one tattoo, that means one third of American teenagers have at least one tattoo. As well, there are more than 147 million tattoo related searches each month on Google. These show tattoos have burst onto pop culture and have taken over the current media scenery. “TV shows based on the tattoo industry are springing up on major networks, social media pages for tattoo culture are numbering in the millions of followers, and you would be hard pressed to take a walk on the street and not see several people sporting leg tats or arm sleeves. Not to mention all the pieces you see on the beach! Tattoos have become a mainstream part of society.” (Carlsen, 2014)

“In terms of tattoos on actual bodies, the earliest known examples were for a long time Egyptian and were present on several female mummies dated to c. 2000 B.C. But following the more recent discovery of the Iceman from the area of the Italian-Austrian border in 1991 and his tattoo patterns, this date has been pushed back a further thousand years when he was carbon-dated at around 5,200 years old.” (Lineberrry, 2007) As we can see, Tattoo as a pop culture, it still has a long history.

In the modern world, tattoo is not only a representative of culture, but also a kind of art. The tattoo is no longer quite the symbol of rebellion and subculture it once was. The New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman argued in 1995 that tattoos were most interesting to the art world because of their “outsider status,” even comparing them to “self-taught art, prison art, and art of the insane.”

Even thought, still in some places, tattoo mean bad. Lots of Asian people cannot accept tattoo, especially in China, I live in a big city in China, which means people there should be easy to accept new things. However, only very few people have tattoo, as well, most parent cannot stand their kids have tattoo on their body. For example, not only one friends told me, if they have tattoo their parents will kick them out of home. That is serious problem for Chinese. Almost all parents think tattoo means blackguardly, only hooliganism and gangsterdom have tattoo. I would say, most of these ideology is from movies. There are hundreds of action movies coming out every year. Almost all of them showing tattoo on bad guys, and for the good side, they always dress nice and talk nice, whoever have tattoos, always talk rude and act bad. Movie is always one of the way to show ideology.

“If you look through art history, there’s always an art form that’s emerging that’s not as accepted,” says Lee Anne Hurt Chesterfeld, a curator at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. (Schwad, 2015) However, from the data at the beginning, we can see, people are starting accepting tattoo culture and more and more teenagers have tattoos in their body. Tattoo is getting accepted by increasingly people , it will keep growing more popular.






(n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 2017, from


  1. (2017, February 03). 45 inspirational examples of tattoo art. Retrieved February 06, 2017, from


Thobo-Carlsen, M. (n.d.). How Tattoos Went From Subculture to Pop Culture. Retrieved February 06, 2017, from


Tattoos. (n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 2017, from


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