Tattoos: A More Modern Art


By Sydnie Kroneberger

In the city that started the Renaissance everywhere you look there are beautiful works of art and architecture representing the classic style. History and tradition cover every inch of this city. It would appear to be a place stuck in the past but through this class I have learned that Florence is a city that embraces the world of art. While it is important to preserve the history it is also important to grow. Florence does a good job of embracing these new styles of art and the mix between old and new it quite interesting.

One of the newest styles of art, in the sense that it has only recently become widely accepted as an art form, is that of tattooing. The practice has been around for centuries but never before was it considered a style of art. Tattoo artist today are celebrated for their skill, talent, and detail. The perfect place to showcase these artists was at the 8th annual tattoo convention that was hosted in Florence this past weekend. Hundreds of artist from all over Italy, the Mediterranean, and even across the world showcased their work for one long weekend. There was also vendors, piercing stations, an art exhibit, and demonstrations of ancient tattooing methods.

My friend met with a local artist the day before the convention after she had been discussing a piece with him for several weeks. One of the most important parts of tattooing is the relationship between artist and the person receiving the work. So I went with her to the convention to explore. I have a couple of tattoos myself and while I was thinking of getting a small one I never thought I would leave with the work that I did.

For a long time I had been considering getting a piece done on my shoulder. I knew what I wanted and why I wanted it, each one is not just something random I am going to permanently mark myself with, but I was going to wait longer in between my other tattoo to get it.

Like I said the relationship with the artist is key and I also wasn’t expecting to get anything large, but while we were walking around the convention I was stopped by an artist’s work. She had the most beautiful flower designs with incredible detail and composition. I started talking with her and instantly we clicked.

Long story short I ended up with a beautiful piece on my shoulder as well as the small one on my back. This isn’t about my tattoo’s though, it’s about the art of tattooing. Many people still won’t recognize it as a form of art but it is one of the most beautiful ways an artist can display their work because it is alive.

I was thinking about the frailty of art this week. Even though we have preserved some of the most priceless works of art, at the end of the day they are simply paper or soft rock. Art is frail and could be destroyed so easily. All we would have left is a picture of something that once was a great work of art.

When I got my tattoo, and when I look at others, I’m shocked by the finality and permanence of it all. I have marked myself forever.

But, then I remembered that just like all art, it is frail and its only permanence is on my body. When I am gone this work of art will no longer exist expect in photographic form. But I think that is the great thing about art. While we can preserve it for a very long time, it is meant to be seen and enjoyed here and now.