Throughout recorded history we find that humans have the innate desire to adorn themselves and their surroundings. A house isn't just a house but a home that expresses the inhabitant's personality. A temple isn't just a structure for worship but a construction for those who attempt to reach God; just think of the Gothic cathedrals-point up towards the heavens. A car isn't just a means of transportation but a symbol of power or lack of it. And so it goes.

But tattoos? Being more personal than structures and surroundings, we must look within to understand their popularity.

Tattoos in America:

Not all societies adopt tattoos as means of personal and communal expressions. In many cultures -especially illiterate societies-tattoos carry the visual symbols, icons, and signals of collective consciousness and memories they wish to preserve.

In America, given their popularity today, we can see that tattoos are a continuation of the earlier generations' symbols of rebellion, of being different, of presenting a contrarian attitude, of the nonconformist.

Is it a fad? Given that the fad is lasting longer than a decade, we can say perhaps it is more than a fad; may be a much longer wave. Young people imitate stars, celebrities, and other famous achievers. In soccer we see a veteran player like David Beckham sport very visible tattoos on his neck; following Beckham's example, the young striker Natasha Kai isn't shy about displaying her countless tattoos. In boxing, tattoos are almost mandatory -perhaps as weapons of intimidation-since most boxers wear them. The fiercer the tattoo the fiercer the appearance of the boxer: just take a close look at Mike Tyson's face.

Tattoos are bridges between the body and the soul:

For many individuals, tattoos are connectors between material reality and the spiritual realm, much like prayers.

While prayers are somewhat restricted for the most for worshipping, or for matters of extreme dangerous situations, tattoos being fixed and constant are reminders of our aloneness in this world. A glance at them can ameliorate that feeling of dread.

Sometimes it is difficult, if not impossible, to externalize a personal inner quest. A graphic depiction can do that for us as a way of telling others "this is what I am about."

For many, tattoos concretize their faith in some abstraction. Take for example patriotism, freedom, or love. These human emotions and feelings cannot be properly articulated, but they can be expressed easily with a tattoo of the American flag, the Liberty Bell, or bleeding hearts.

Tats and Aesthetics:

One can make the argument that a tattoo doesn't have to justify anything-but beauty. Many of the Celtic, butterfly, dragons, flowery, and even weaponry tattoos are so designed and executed that evoke a feeling of awe and admiration.

If a tattoo is well balanced, it is whole, and it has a splendor of its own, then we can say that it is beautiful. Must one have to justify beauty? Of course not, but keep in mind that quality must prevail; if enough quality tattoos are shown, then we are justified in calling this part of aesthetics: "body art."

Generational Reactions:

While the public in general are tolerant and laissez-faire about tattoos, the generations in power (as in the power to hire, promote, and fire) are less inclined to accept the practice.

Tattoos will be viewed as a vehicle of strangeness in an applicant; a visible sign that the individual may not be a team player, someone difficult to manage. This may not be true, but it is the way of corporate cultures. In fact, I've heard a human resources executive denigrate tattoos as "jail art."

Tats, Sense and Sensitivity:

Common sense tells us to be sensitive to other people's feelings, history, and culture. Likewise, tattoos should not be worn as to offend others. Political symbols and religious symbols are still taboo in America. Cosmic and zodiac expressions have become universal symbols and are looked on with sympathy.

Conclusion:

Like in any other human endeavors, taste, likes, and dislikes, tattoos have caught the imagination of the younger generations and are here to stay. While some are critical of the practice, most people are tolerant. And instead of looking for the negative, we should look for the positive gains that they (tattoos) can yield to the wearer, and also for the beauty that some of them contain.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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