Tattoos of Crown Heights

A dog walker who lives on St. John Place: "You can take my picture but leave out the dog. I have promised the owners no pictures of the animal."

A dog walker who lives on St. John Place: "You can take my picture but leave out the dog. I have promised the owners no pictures of the animal."

Woman sitting beside a table at the parade. "Oh, you want to take my picture." But then she asked for two more because in the first one she had her eyes closed.

Woman sitting beside a table at the parade. "Oh, you want to take my picture." But then she asked for two more because in the first one she had her eyes closed.

A young lady outside Met Food says, "I like tattoos, and I do whatever I want."

A young lady outside Met Food says, "I like tattoos, and I do whatever I want."

The Philosophy of Tattoos

When you ask someone why they got a tattoo, the answer tends to vary between two common themes; their decision was either impulsive or laden with sentimental, intellectual, or spiritual meaning. Often, both are true. and the answer you elicit will depend on the mood or intoxication level of the person. 

The bridge between these reasons is the space of aesthetic appreciation. After all, tattoos are handcrafted works of art and can be collected, curated, and admired as such. The number of people who have been tattooed has risen exponentially in recent years, despite it having been considered subversive. Tattoos are now an ever-expanding industry of style, technique, and influence. 

These days the acquisition of something unique and permanent can be deeply liberating from the sometimes crushing sense that few things have inherent meaning or value. I grew up in a generation that was encouraged to focus on their artistic talents and interests within an economy that provides few profitable outlets beyond corporate graphic design; it's little wonder that so many people are currently pursuing careers as tattoo artists. 

No less compelling is that fact that in the moment of sitting under the needle, your brain releases therapeutic endorphins to counter-act the pain of getting a tattoo, often producing a state of mild euphoria.

[Place yourself and your experience within the generalizations above. Were you impulsive or concerned with meaning? What aesthetic considerations did you have? Did you feel liberated by having a unique and permanent work of art on your body? Have you thought about tattoo design or even learning how to do it? Did you feel euphoria when you got yours? What were the circumstances that led to you getting yours? Do you feel part of a tattoo community?]

Regardless of what you get done or why, almost everyone can remember the circumstances and experience that lead to the tattoo finding it's way onto their body. The ink forever embedded within one's skin, proudly displayed or covertly worn, carries a rich personal history and symbolism that every person with a tattoo shares.

Left arm, colorful pictures several based on desert themes. "Whatever I do I never want to regret it later. The pictures always have to be works of art.”

Left arm, colorful pictures several based on desert themes. "Whatever I do I never want to regret it later. The pictures always have to be works of art.”

New worker at Colina Cuervo right arm pictures of beautiful women. Some representing past relationships.

New worker at Colina Cuervo right arm pictures of beautiful women. Some representing past relationships.

UpdatesJonathan Judge