Some organizations have proposed rules banning sleeves among their members; the United States Marine Corps prohibited Marines from getting arm- or leg-sleeve tattoos after April 1, 2007. Those with sleeves already are protected under a grandfather clause. Nevertheless, tattoo sleeves have become so popular that several clothing companies have produced apparel that simulates the look of tattoo sleeves using transparent mesh fabric printed with tattoo designs.
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.
And this is when I realise that all my endless self-examination was completely pointless. What I think, or don’t think, about tattoos is irrelevant. Because this is the point. Tattoos are fashionable. They may even be beautiful. (Just because I hate them doesn’t mean I’m right.) But by deciding to have a tattoo, my son took a meat cleaver to my apron strings. He may not have wanted to hurt me. I hope he didn’t. But my feelings, as he made his decision, were completely unimportant.
Sleeves aren’t very easily hidden so make sure to check the policies at work to ensure you can’t get in trouble for new body art. You may be able to hide the pieces pretty well at first but as time goes by and more of your skin is covered, you’ll definitely not be able to cover up the sleeve forever. More than anything, have fun and enjoy the process of creating this masterpiece that will be part of your body forever.
In terms of tattoos on actual bodies, the earliest known examples were for a long time Egyptian and were present on several female mummies dated to c. 2000 B.C. But following the more recent discovery of the Iceman from the area of the Italian-Austrian border in 1991 and his tattoo patterns, this date has been pushed back a further thousand years when he was carbon-dated at around 5,200 years old.
If you talk to a tattoo artist about it, they'll likely be able to advise you on what will and won't look good, based on experience. Unfortunately, some of the trendiest tattoos are the most difficult to keep up over time. "There are two main reasons some tattoos age better than others: the size of the tattoo and long-term sun damage," Jordanne Le Fae, of Jordanne Le Tattoos, tells Bustle. But other little variables, like line-thickness and tattoo color, also end up making a difference.
Sleeve tattoos have been definitively transformed in the last decade, and now they regularly feature a conglomerate of art styles that border on the edge of optic illusions and meta curiosities. Extensive art pieces can be executed with a direct focus on sublime stimulation. Highly detailed tribal symbols often mesh with futuristic machinery and pop culture icons. Flesh and sinew can be replicated to make it seem like the skin is practically non-existent.
If you're a little nervous about a permanent stamp, the best way to start is with something small. We can tell you firsthand that tattoo removal is no easy feat. Luckily, we have endless inspiration of real-girl tattoos that will leave you feeling less anxious about expressing something on your skin. Whether you're looking for a mark with meaning or just a fun design, keep reading to check out all of these teeny-tiny tattoo ideas.
Tattoos were probably also used in ancient medicine as part of the treatment of the patient. In 1898, Daniel Fouquet, a medical doctor, wrote an article on “medical tattooing” practices in Ancient Egypt, in which he describes the tattooed markings on the female mummies found at the Deir el-Bahari site. He speculated that the tattoos and other scarifications observed on the bodies may have served a medicinal or therapeutic purpose: "The examination of these scars, some white, others blue, leaves in no doubt that they are not, in essence, ornament, but an established treatment for a condition of the pelvis, very probably chronic pelvic peritonitis."
Tattoos are said to be addicting. Despite the pain, those who get their first bit of body art are often hungry for more. And as tattoos become an increasingly accepted part of society, these ink enthusiasts are filling half or even the whole of their arms with sprawling designs. Called half sleeve and full sleeve tattoos, respectively, these impressive pieces are the result of many hours of hard work for a tattooist and a lesson in patience and perseverance for a client.
Discuss and plan with your artist. Never go into this with a permanent vision. You should talk to your tattoo artist about your likes and dislikes and tell them exactly what you want to convey. They will sit down with you and plan out several designs that will incorporate your ideas. Allow them some freedom of artistry. In the end, you will have the final say in what gets permanently inked on your body, but, before then, let the artist do what they do best: design.
Tattoos used to be the preserve of criminals and toffs. And sailors. In the 1850s, the corpses of seamen washed up on the coast of north Cornwall were “strangely decorated” with blue, according to Robert Hawker, the vicar of Morwenstow – initials, or drawings of anchors, flowers or religious symbols (“Our blessed Saviour on His Cross, with on the one hand His mother, and on the other St John the Evangelist”). “It is their object and intent, when they assume these signs,” says Hawker, “to secure identity for their bodies if their lives are lost at sea.”
Tattoos have also been used for identification in other ways. As early as the Zhou, Chinese authorities would employ facial tattoos as a punishment for certain crimes or to mark prisoners or slaves. During the Roman Empire, gladiators and slaves were tattooed: exported slaves were tattooed with the words "tax paid", and it was a common practice to tattoo "Stop me, I'm a runaway" on their foreheads. Owing to the Biblical strictures against the practice, Emperor Constantine I banned tattooing the face around AD 330, and the Second Council of Nicaea banned all body markings as a pagan practice in AD 787.