In amateur tattooing, such as that practiced in prisons, however, there is an elevated risk of infection. Infections that can theoretically be transmitted by the use of unsterilized tattoo equipment or contaminated ink include surface infections of the skin, fungal infections, some forms of hepatitis, herpes simplex virus, HIV, staph, tetanus, and tuberculosis.
"The appearance of tattoos aging depends on [...] your artists' skill," Villani says. "Tattoos lay in the dermis of the skin, which is only one millimeter thick. Ensuring the needle hits this one-millimeter layer is requires precision. If your artist goes too deep, then the ink will blowout, and what originally looks like clean lines, over time (not a very long time) will look sloppier." To make sure your tattoo quality is what you want, make sure you do a good amount of research beforehand.
Solid Oak also wants Swain to ignore evidence submitted by Take-Two's experts. It argues a survey about why consumers buy the NBA 2K games is irrelevant; a report that claims there isn't a market for licensing tattoos in video games was written by an anthropologist, not an economist or market researcher; another report that argues the tattoos are rarely noticed in the game is merely speculation; and another expert's report about profits merely states a legal conclusion.
It's true that some timeless designs can be mistaken as cliché, even though I personally wouldn't consider them to be basic. Roses, doves, and literary text tattoos are pretty common, but no two designs ever have to look exactly the same. Your ideas combined with your tattoo artist's vision will usually result in a unique piece of art, even if you're not the only one with an anchor etched onto your skin. Besides, a tattoo's meaning varies from one person to another. That alone will guarantee your tat to be an original.
Despite all our advances in technology, the basic needling technique used to insert pigment into skin hasn’t changed all that much over time. The biggest change came when the electric tattooing machine was first patented in 1891. That technology has remained relatively stagnant since–aside from prisoners’ ad hoc redesigns, in which a cassette recorder, an electric razor, or electric toothbrush can be used as a motor. These jailed tattooists’ inventions show just what desperate lengths people will go to to turn a boring patch of bare skin into something that better expresses the self underneath.
Many studies have been done of the tattooed population and society's view of tattoos. In June 2006, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published the results of a telephone survey of 2004. It found that 36% of Americans ages 18–29, 24% of those 30–40, and 15% of those 41–51 had a tattoo. In September 2006, the Pew Research Center conducted a telephone survey that found that 36% of Americans ages 18–25, 40% of those 26–40 and 10% of those 41–64 had a tattoo. They concluded that Generation X and Generation Y express themselves through their appearance, and tattoos are the most popular form of self-expression. In January 2008, a survey conducted online by Harris Interactive estimated that 14% of all adults in the United States have a tattoo, slightly down from 2003, when 16% had a tattoo. Among age groups, 9% of those ages 18–24, 32% of those 25–29, 25% of those 30–39 and 12% of those 40–49 have tattoos, as do 8% of those 50–64. Men are slightly more likely to have a tattoo than women.
Many tattoos serve as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, amulets and talismans, protection, and as punishment, like the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts. The symbolism and impact of tattoos varies in different places and cultures. Tattoos may show how a person feels about a relative (commonly mother/father or daughter/son) or about an unrelated person. Today, people choose to be tattooed for artistic, cosmetic, sentimental/memorial, religious, and magical reasons, and to symbolize their belonging to or identification with particular groups, including criminal gangs (see criminal tattoos) or a particular ethnic group or law-abiding subculture. Popular verses include John 3:16, Philippians 4:13, and Psalms 23.