: October 2000 : inknpink
the 1700s, Capt. James Cook brought to the western world
a tradition that would inspire entire generations. Upon
reaching the shores of a distant Polynesian island, he
discovered a ritual of pain and ink. These primarily naked
peoples were adorned with what they called Tatau, meaning,
"To Tap." With plates of sharpened boar tusk fixed to
a weighted stick, a long and arduous ritual was performed.
By tapping the sharpened tusks into flesh and adding dyes
to the puncture wounds, an indelible design was left,
marking the subject in beautifully intricate patterns.
Tattoo. Being an art form built on the sensuality of erotic
fantasy and visual stimulation, it's no wonder some of
the most divine dancers today are looking at tattooing
for further expression.
was the cryptic dancer, Sage, who said, "This is a
wonderful thing on my body."
Peter, a nine year veteran tattoo artist, explains it
this way: "Tattooing is a tool for transformation if you
choose to use it." As its roots suggest, this "dermagraphic"
rite brings out mysticism and spirituality in the people
who participate in it. Philosophical and intrapersonal
expressions are made possible through the tattoos exotic
dancers wear, not unlike Felony, who boasts impressive
work on her back and sleeves. However, she finds incessant,
mundane queries about her tat's tiring. Questions, if
any, should be a bit more substantial than, "Did it hurt?"
Pain is relative. Sin, a dancer at both Union Jacks and
Acropolis, agrees. She would rather you sit quietly than
make idiotic wisecracks about a dancer's tattoos.
Some say nothing is sexier than a woman with a tattooed
back. Placement is key. No matter what the design, location
makes all the difference. A flowing continuity between
muscular definition and artistic design can take a good
tattoo and make it great. Without losing sight of the
deep personal connections we can have with our tattoos,
it's important to remember they are seen by other people,
as well. It was the cryptic dancer, Sage, who said, "This
is a strange and wonderful thing on my body." With almost
70 hours under the gun, it would take more than looking
at her ink to imagine.
Tattoos are personal and need to be respected as such.
Only the fact that they are permanent is why we sometimes
get to share them with the world. By no means are we critics
of art or design, even if we have the credentials. Especially
in the case of beautiful women. To appreciate is divine,
is pathetic. Our cultural affinity for the Playboy girl-next-door
look makes these dancing art collectors a rare breed
indeed. For this reason, tattooed women in this competitive
work environ may find it more difficult to succeed.
However, we should never make a judgment on artists
solely by their image. The founder of Tattoo Legacy,
James, remarked, "I don't have to be your best friend
and you might not even like me. Just let my work speak
There are definitely light and shadow sides for both
the exotic dancing and tattoo professions. I believe
this is why they seem to go hand in hand. For both,
on one side you have a projected/perceived mystique
or fantasy; and on the other, they are real people with
talents and jobs. In both cases, those lines get blurred
and boundaries get crossed that shouldn't. Both professions
show respect for beauty and elegance. Both are feared
for being taboo. For these reasons, we embrace these
two vocations. And we agree, they don't make for strange
bedfellows at all. Rather, they should be joined at
the hip, the thigh, the ankle, the back or wherever
the ink and the dancer's pink decide to come together
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