from Black 13 Tattoo, Nashville
SOMEONE FIXED IT.
From Scott Versago: “I got to tackle the official “#1 worst portrait tattoo in the world” today. I’m sure you’ve all seen it a million times online, as had I. I couldn’t believe my eyes when this guy walked in and showed me this project. I think my jaw literally hit the floor. He went on to tell me the story behind the portrait; He had just married his beautiful wife and not even three months afterwards she was killed in a horrible house fire accident leaving him to raise their three children alone. Shortly after he went to a local tattoo studio to memorialize his wife and was left with this abomination. He later returned to that studio for one more session, thinking that perhaps “he had done something wrong in the healing of the tattoo” and they butchered it even more the second time. Finally, he drove all the way to my studio, Empire Ink, just to meet me and to see what his options were. Touched by his story, I gifted the entire project to him for free. Now he has closure and I have an amazing story to add to my portfolio!”
Up in the rice terraces of the Cordillera mountain range of the Philippines live the last few tattooed women of Kalinga. Traditional tattooing is seen as archaic and painful by the younger generations of Kalingas. As an Indigenous group that has successfully fought against colonizing forces, it is losing the practice of traditional tattooing because of the changing perspective of beauty and interpretations of the practice by outside scholars.
Studies on the tradition interpreted the practice to show that men were given tattoos because of brave acts during tribal wars while the women were given tattoos just to decorate their bodies. Men who attempt to get traditional tattoos without acts of bravery are shunned by the community and are now unable to continue the practice without facing criminal charges from the government. Women are unconstrained by the same reasons but are struggling to continue the practice because of the pervasive western interpretations of aesthetics that changed the perceptions of “beauty” in Kalinga. To the women of Kalinga, the batok or the tattoo goes beyond beauty and prestige but it is symbolic of the traditional values of women’s strength and fortitude.
The traditional tattoo is an indigenous body art, an expression of the psychological dimensions of life, health, love and it defines local perceptions of existence. Sadly there is now a decline of the traditional art among indigenous women brought about by the changing perspective of the meaning of the tattoo and its stigmatized practice. It is now considered a vanishing art along with the gatekeepers of the knowledge associated with it.
The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga by Jake Verzosa. Jake Verzosa is a freelance photographer based in Manila.
…And though it is not especially descriptive, trigger warnings apply.
This comic is just really sweet and I wanted to post it for you all, even though a lot of us might not directly relate.
I actually like when people want to compare tattoos 90% of the time hahaha but I’m interested to see what others think!
Does this guy look familiar to anyone? Norman Rockwell’s model!
This is a pretty good metaphor for $50 tattoos as well….