Tattoos Evolution

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How have tattoos grown in the United States from a 1920s Navy trend into a relevant form of contemporary art?
Tattoos have been present in many cultures across the globe for centuries. Their meanings spanning a range from symbols of high status to the marks used to categorize and identify criminals. Tattoos were brought to the United States in the 1800s by immigrants and American soldiers. Tattoos were already a respected art form in some parts of the world, like Japan, but as they made their way into the United States their respect as art was degraded to a mere trend among societies’ outcasts. Tattoos became unaccepted and were seen as taboo despite having been around for centuries. They were looked down on by mainstream western
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Artists like August Coleman, Norman Keith Collins, and Lewis Alberts each played a key role in the development of tattoos from a simple trend to a more accepted style among everyday Americans. “Coleman was able to apply high quality work. His work was clear and well shaded. Consequently, his tattoo designs epitomized what came to be known as the classic American-style tattooing that dominated the 1920s to the 1940s” (Forefathers of Tattooing). August “Cap” Coleman’s style of tattooing contributed to the creation of one of the most classic tattoo styles even to this day. his use iconic images, style of shading, and combination of bold colors contributed to the development of more styles and new techniques. Norman Keith Collins, also known as Sailor Jerry, was another tattoo artist who’s unique style greatly influenced American Traditional tattoos. “During World War II, soldiers and sailors took to Sailor Jerry 's location in Honolulu, Hawaii to get inked...Sailor Jerry 's work became a worldwide symbolism of American unity during the otherwise somber times of war” (Profile of Tattoo Artist Sailor Jerry). His style included iconic pin up girls and fonts seen on the windows of most tattoo shops to this day. Lewis Alberts contributed more to the speed of tattooing. he was one of the first tattoo artist to use flash tattoos. “Lew was one of the first creators of flash, the familiar drawings and paintings on the walls of tattoo shops...bold, graphic roses, sailing ships, pretty ladies, snakes, eagles, and sharks - much of this familiar iconography came from Lew” (Tattooing’s Founding Fathers). The creation of flash greatly increased the rate at which tattoos were made. It also brought about the iconic images for tattoos that are often seen on the windows of every tattoo shop. Each of these artists had their own unique style and technique to the development of tattoos as a

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