The Human Canvas Artist.

"Artwork, before it becomes a tattoo"
In the average lifetime, very few artists receive due recognition for the work they produce. Whether the portrait which never touches sunlight, the crime thriller whose outcome remains a mystery to all but it's author, or an engaging series of internet articles seen by a mere handful of eyes, the general rule for the dedicated artist is to work, work and work, until the public begin to take notice; even then providing little guarantee they will. While this unforgiving rule has claimed more victims than victors, for writers, actors, painters, sculptors, and artists of a similar nature, at least the possibility of global recognition, exists.

However - due to the odd notion of art being organised into easy to understand boxes - and an undeserved perception as a tool of immature rebellion, not all creative outlets are as fortunate. When it comes to gaining acceptance in wider society as a genuine artist, the humble tattooist is in general ignored, or even recognised as one. And yet - as artists of the world, they may be some of the most creative, and challenged in existence...

First and foremost, a professional tattoo artist; those who have crafted their abilities through countless hours of labour, has to - like any illustrator, be able to draw creatively to a very high standard. Just as a painting would find rejection for lazy workmanship, a possible tattoo design would be rejected for the same reasons. Add to this the knowledge that while the completion of a canvas work or mural sprayed on a wall, are bound by the whims of little more than the artist's mindset, tattoos are a very personal work of art specific to a particular human being; often in sensitive, awkward to reach areas. Drawing art onto a human body, creates an added pressure upon the expert; leaving the ability even more revered in it's execution.

"The craft of a highly skilled artist"
This is coupled with the added pressure of working on those afraid of blood or needles; requiring the calm nature of a surgeon. And while most traditional artists have the option of working alone, the tattoo artist is involved in a much more hands on approach; which likely explains their general easy going, friendly, and intelligent nature. Once completed, their art literally becomes a part of the rest of each clients life, a fact no other form of creative work can lay claim to; at least, in such literal physical terms. 

Perhaps the pinnacle of beauty in a tattoo artist's work however, lies in the life of each piece they create. Whereas paintings and sculptures are preserved and observed by future generations to muse upon - as well as commanding price tags beyond rational comprehension, the work of a tattoo artist upon each unique human canvas, is eventually buried or burned; with the passing of life inside the vessel which carries it. In going back to the earth where everything began, perhaps this renders tattoos as one of the few forms of truly organic, romantic art; impossible to collect, buy, or sell, and - like great forms of art in history, only ever belonging to a specific time-line in history. From this viewpoint, it is easy to deem the humble tattoo, as an authentically priceless form, of human art. 

In a solitary lifetime, very few artists receive due recognition for the work they produce. With the growing popularity of tattoos - coupled with the maturity of those who love them so much, time may change their perception in wider society; not as a tool of rebellious sheep to be condemned, but a definition of an individual spirit to be celebrated. Until then, I hope this article provides every human canvas artist out there, a little acknowledgement in an incredible skill, you make appear so effortless. 

This is my personal recognition, of you all... 

*Artwork design (upper right) by Jerry Tattoo Artist: CLICK HERE to visit his Facebook page.
*Pegasus Tattoo (lower right) by Tomasz Eclipse London: CLICK HERE to visit page.

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