Have you noticed the increase in inked folk walking around almost anywhere you go these days? Overheard people on the street complimenting, not disparaging the work they see on passersby? And have you thought about how many successful tattoo shops doing strong tattoo work can be found from sea to shining sea (and beyond)?
Our tribe is not just growing, with tattoos on moms in Clearwater FL to tattoo shops on busty streets in Clearlake CA, but is also being viewed as more mainstream, or at least not not normal. Tattoos and tattoo shops today are as accessible as overpriced lattes.
Don’t get me wrong, I love an overpriced latte as much as the next guy. But we do a disservice not to recognize that things haven’t always been this way. Ask a teenager if tattoos “mean” anything about the wearers and you’ll likely get a radically different answer than you would have asking the same question 15 or evn 10 years ago. It’s taken time and exposure, and an unending stream of people willing to express themselves despite and any potential negative societal judgment.
Are people today generally more accepting of tattoos? Are tattoo shops no longer considered sketchy neighbors? Is coming home from spring break in Clearwater Beach FL sporting a new tattoo or two less likely to enrage a parent or shock a family friend?
Probably. Screw it – definitely. And why is that? Progress, some would say, Inevitability, others would answer. “The world is going to hell, that’s why,” a handful would reply. The natural evolution of what’s acceptable, from others.
Me? I say: Thank you “reality” TV, thank you movies, internet, thank you social media and mainstream press, for catching up and catching on. And thank you old-timers, rebels, badass babes and couldn’t-give-two-effs dudes. Skin art has moved beyond its once limited audience.
Thank you artists who are committed to good work. Thank you Average Joes and Janes and the “tattooed and employed.” Thank you tattoo shops in Clearwater FL that clearly care; in Black River, NY that specialize in black and gray tattoos; shops in Muddy Gap WY who cover up old muddy scratchy work.
Gone are the days when most Americans slap immediate (negative) labels on people with ink or on blocks/neighborhood with tattoo shops.
One thing is clear: tattoos shops from Clearwater FL to Clearbrook MN to Clear Lake Shores TX are abundant, and where there are shops, there are great tattoos being imagined, sketched and made. Here’s to progress.