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Tattoo Artists

History

Tattoos are one of the oldest art forms in the world. They have been used for personal adornment, as well as for religious and cultural purposes, for thousands of years. Archaeologists have found tattoos on Egyptian mummies that date from approximately 2000 BCE. Even older examples of tattoos were found on Iceman, a 5,300-year-old mummy that was discovered in a glacier on the Italian Alps in 1991. The remains of Iceman feature 61 tattoos, which consist of groups of horizontal or vertical lines. Researchers believe that his tattoos may have served a therapeutic purpose because they are located near his lower back and joints—areas in which he suffered from spinal and joint degeneration.

In the United States, the origins of tattooing can be traced to the 1700s, when explorers who had visited the Polynesian islands and other far-flung destinations returned with tattoos after being inspired by the tattooed tribes they encountered. Initially, only sailors and members of the military received tattoos, but interest in this practice slowly spread into everyday society. In 1891, tattooist Samuel O’Reilly created the first electric tattoo machine. In the ensuing decades, tattooing grew in popularity, but it did not enter the American mainstream until World War II, when a large number of soldiers received tattoos. Despite this, many people still had negative perceptions of tattoos. The counterculture movements of the 1960s and 1970s—which included the growing popularity of tattoos with rock and punk musicians—brought tattooing into the mainstream. The number of women who received tattoos also increased. Today, tattoos are firmly ensconced in popular culture, and interest in this type of body art has been fueled by social media and TV shows like Inked and Ink Master. As a result, there is steady demand for tattoo artists—especially those who are well-known with a huge fan following.

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