Tattoo. What a loaded word it is, rife with associations to goons, goofs, bikers, tribal warriors, carnival artists, drunken sailors and floozies. ~Jon Anderson, "Epidermal Dalis," Chicago Tribune, 6 October 1994
The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who have tattoos, and those who are afraid of people with tattoos. ~Author unknown
The tattoo attracts and also repels precisely because it is different. ~Margo DeMello, Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community, 2000
A tattoo.... is a true poetic creation, and is always more than meets the eye. As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition. ~V. Vale and Andrea Juno, Modern Primitives
For westerners, the tattoo has always been a metaphor of difference. ~Margo DeMello, Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community, 2000
There is no "underground" community, no dark den of drunken sailors initiating themselves into manhood via cheap, ill-conceived exercises in bodily perforation; it’s just a group of people who delight in using their bodies as billboards. ~Joanne McCubrey, "Walking Art: Tattoos," Mountain Democrat Weekend magazine, 1990 February 9th
Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past. ~Jack London
Women, don’t get a tattoo. That butterfly looks great on your breast when you’re twenty or thirty, but when you get to seventy, it stretches into a condor. ~Billy Elmer
You may lose your most valuable property through misfortune in various ways. You may lose your house, your wife and other treasures. But of your moko, you cannot be deprived except by death. It will be your ornament and companion until your last day. ~Netana Whakaari of Waimana
I always look for a woman who has a tattoo. I see a woman with a tattoo, and I’m thinking, okay, here’s a gal who’s capable of making a decision she’ll regret in the future. ~Richard Jeni
For someone who likes tattoos, the most precious thing is bare skin. ~Cher
Ink to paper is thoughtful
Ink to flesh, hard-core.
If Shakespeare were a tattooist
We’d appreciate body art more.
From such records on the living pages of unconscious leafy organisms, I find myself unavoidably led a step higher, to gaze at that strangest of all papers, the bodies of living men! There are nice discussions in historical works as to the date of the first English paper-mill, and whether British paper is older than the days of Queen Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth! Say, rather, Queen Boadicea, or, far beyond her, select Queen Anonyma, who reigned in prehistoric times. Our ancestors wrote on their fair skins, in native woad or indigo, what they sought to put on record, and for I know not how many thousand years the practice has prevailed down to our day. We are living writing-paper. ~George Wilson, "Paper, Pen and Ink: An Excursus in Technology," Macmillan's Magazine, November 1859 [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
A man without tattoos is invisible to the Gods. ~Iban Proverb, as quoted on vanishingtattoo.com
Good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good. ~Author unknown
You think it, I ink it. ~Saying of tattooists
Inking without a plan gives Booth freedom to explore the desires of those seated in his chair, he says, to feed off their energy, allowing his clients’ demons to help guide the needle. ~Joshua Lipton, about tattoo artist Paul Booth, "Bad Skin," Rolling Stone, 2002 March 28th
[P]rimitive tribes were certainly convinced that the spirit, having escaped from the body at death, retained a replica of its earthly tenement. They therefore used tattoo marks as a means of identification in the next world and a passport to future happiness. ~Ronald Scutt
Beauty is skin deep. A tattoo goes all the way to the bone. ~Vince Hemingson
Beauty is skin deep, unless you have really bad tattoos. ~Jacob Calle
Tattooing is about personalizing the body, making it a true home and fit temple for the spirit that dwells inside it.... Tattooing therefore, is a way of keeping the spiritual and material needs of my body in balance. ~Michelle Delio
Your body is a temple, but how long can you live in the same house before you redecorate? ~Author unknown
Tattoo the pristine flesh
What is permanent anyway?
This ink only lasts ’til the grave,
Time will decompose
That which we did compose.
The first purpose of clothes... was not warmth or decency, but ornament.... Among wild people, we find tattooing and painting even prior to clothes. The first spiritual want of a barbarous man is decoration; as indeed we still see among the barbarous classes in civilized countries. ~Thomas Carlyle
And this tattooing had been the work of a departed prophet and seer of his island, who, by those hieroglyphic marks, had written out on his body a complete theory of the heavens and the earth, and a mystical treatise on the art of attaining truth; so that Queequeg in his own proper person was a riddle to unfold; a wondrous work in one volume; but whose mysteries not even himself could read, though his own live heart beat against them; and these mysteries were therefore destined in the end to moulder away with the living parchment whereon they were inscribed, and so be unsolved to the last. ~Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
I want to get a tattoo of myself on my entire body, only two inches taller. ~Steven Wright
We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Poet at the Breakfast Table, 1872
A quote is just a tattoo on the tongue. ~William F. DeVault
Think before you ink! ~Author unknown
Your necklace may break, the fau tree may burst, but my tattooing is indestructible. It is an everlasting gem that you will take into your grave. ~Verse from a traditional tattoo artist’s song, as quoted on pbs.org, "Skin Stories: The Art and Culture of Polynesian Tattoo," 2003
Tattoo parties: just like a regular party – but with a permanent hangover. ~Rob Ruckus, Bad Ink, "Tat’s Ink-redible!" original airdate 2014 February 24th
Tattoos are walking artwork. ~Tattoo saying
Best believe that needle hurt you
Best to see these true colors
Than follow one of your false virtues
A little secret to make you think:
Why is the crazy stuff we never say, poetry in ink?
~Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen, and Wolfgang Van Halen, "Tattoo"
The perfect tattoo... the one I believe we are all struggling toward... is the one that turned the jackass into a zebra. ~Cliff Raven
My body is a journal in a way. It’s like what sailors used to do, where every tattoo meant something, a specific time in your life when you make a mark on yourself, whether you do it yourself with a knife or with a professional tattoo artist. ~Johnny Depp
Mothers don't like their kids getting tattooed. They get mad because that's their ultimate creation and they don't want you messing with it. ~Corey Miller, LA Ink, "Pixie Moonlights," original airdate 2008 January 15th
The universality of tattooing is a curious subject for speculation. ~James Cook, 1779
There's no crying in tattooing. ~Tattoo saying
Not one great country can be named, from the Polar regions in the north to New Zealand in the south, in which the aborigines do not tattoo themselves. ~Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, Vol. II, Chapter XIX, 1871
When the designs are chosen with care, tattoos have a power and magic all their own. They decorate the body but they also enhance the soul. ~Michelle Delio
And what is it, thought I, after all! It’s only his outside; a man can be honest in any sort of skin. ~Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
Quirky is sexy, like scars or chipped teeth. I also like tattoos — they’re rebellious. ~Jennifer Aniston
Louie brought his new girlfriend over, and the nicest thing I can say about her is all her tattoos are spelled correctly. ~Robert Harling, Steel Magnolias
[A] genuine tattoo.... tells a story. I like stories and tattoos, no matter how well done, and if they don’t tell a story that involves you emotionally, then they’re just there for decoration, then they’re not a valid tattoo. There has to be some emotional appeal or they’re not, to my way of thinking, a real tattoo. It tells people what you are and what you believe in, so there’s no mistakes. ~Leo, tattooist, 1993, quoted in Margo DeMello, Bodies of Inscription, 2000
Thank you to Vince at The Vanishing Tattoo
for sharing some of the above quotations!