Far gone are the days when a visible tattoo would cast you in a negative light or ban you from jobs. Now that tattooing has entered the public consciousness as the highly unique and personal art form that it is, a much wider spectrum of people than before have embraced tattooing. As people of all walks of life have sought out high-quality tattoos, the tattoo business has boomed and is now rapidly evolving to accommodate demand.
They're Finally Mainstream
Getting a tattoo doesn't puts you in an exclusive group anymore, and that's a good thing. Now that tattooing is no longer a fringe act, most businesses are comfortable hiring tattooed people, and the public is now discussing whether discrimination against the tattooed should be illegal. Prominent tattooed celebrities have also contributed to tattoos' improving reputation. Even the wife of British Prime Minister David Cameron has a small tattoo of a dolphin on her ankle. Just how common are tattoos? More so than you think. One in 5 Brits has a tattoo. About 15% of Americans of tattoos, but when you consider people in their 30s exclusively, that rises to a shocking 40%.
Above: Famous American actor Anjelina Jolie has various tattoos
The Tattoo Business is Going Digital
Studies show that people are more likely to visit tattoo shops with a well-maintained site. That trend helps consumers: as shops become more web-conscious, it becomes easier to compare tattoo shops to find one that can accommodate your desires. Following tattoo shops on social media can also land you discounts or make you aware of contests so you can score a cheaper tattoo.
Specialty Tattoo Shops
Simply walking into your local tattoo parlor and asking them to ink you is a thing of the past. With the rise of tattooing in the 90s, the number of tattoo businesses has exploded and come to include diverse kinds of tattooing. You can find tattoo shops that specialize in portraiture, Asian tattoos or tattoo removal. Go for a photorealistic tattoo or keep it simple. You can even find women-owned tattoo shops or ask an artist with a truly unique style to ink a piece of their choosing on you.
Above: A photorealistic tattoo of a snake
It's hard to track down a tattoo shop that does glow-in-the-dark tattoos, but for adventurous souls, these tattoos are worth it. They're technically UV ink tattoos, meaning that they will only glow under a blacklight. You can spring either for an invisible UV tattoo which isn't visible in normal light, or a colored UV tattoo which displays normally in daylight and glows under a blacklight. Be warned, however, that UV ink tattoos are more likely to be rejected by the skin than regular tattoos.
Above: Glow in the dark "Let's Rock" tattoo
Only in the past few months have researchers and major corporations begun to harness the potential of tagging human skin for high-tech purposes. This summer, Motorola unrolled a new temporary tattoo that can unlock its Moto X model by tapping the phone against the tattooed wrist. This concept could be part of a new wave of smartphone security measures, including Apple's fingerprint ID method. You can pick up a pack of 10, which should last about 50 days. Researchers at the University of San Diego have engineered an even more impressive advancement in tech tattoos. Their temporary tattoo, which you stick to the upper arm, produces a small amount of electricity by pulling electrons from an enzyme called lactate naturally present in sweat. In theory, you could use this tattoo to power your smartphone or MP3 player while working out.
Above: The temp tattoo that can unlock a phone
In the future, who knows? There may be tattoos that unlock your car or house or that work as a form of ID or payment. As technology gets more and more personal – think Google Glass and Oculus Rift – consumers may be open to using their skin to house their tech.
Tattoos Are Growing as an Art Form
With tattooing being the monster industry that it is, it's no surprise that its art and reach are constantly expanding and improving. Long gone are the days when you were restricted to the Old School style of cartoony designs. Now, the best artists render 3D designs and photorealistic portraits that beg to be called high art. The tattooed can display their tattoos with pride and wear fashion that embraces the tattoo style and lifestyle. Ed Hardy is just one of many success stories in this arena.
Above: 3D Butterfly tattoo
At the other end of the art spectrum, simple text tattoos are enjoying huge popularity. A few highly meaningful words in beautiful cursive can mean the world to the one who got it inked. Making this kind of tattoo white adds a layer of privacy to it.The tattoo industry is evolving as it grows, embracing both the digital world and the tech revolution.
What do you think will become of tattoos in the future? Would you be interested in using tech tattoos? We would love to her from you. Comment below.
Courtesy of pinterest.com, menfash.com, smithsonianmag.com, refinery29.com.