For more than 5,000 years, people have been subjecting themselves to ink-stained needles in an attempt to turn their bodies into art. The 25th-anniversary edition of Taschen’s 1000 Tattoos explores the history of body art around the world, from Maori facial engravings to skinhead markings to ’20s circus ladies to awful drunken mistakes (hello, ankle dolphin tattoo). Edited by art historian Burkhard Riemschneider and inker of the stars Henk Schiffmacher (who’s also head of the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum), the book offers 1,000 images of people who have permanently altered their bodies with ink in ways shocking (a butt turned into a giant face), beautiful (the work of contemporary tattoo art stars), and unfortunate (so many exes’ names).
Tattoos have recently started to become more prominent than before. There’s not one part of a person’s body that hasn’t been touched by a tattoo. This form of ink art has been placed on pretty much every minor and major areas of the human body. A lot of men like having sleeve tattoos, since they give quite an impressive look, especially when they use a good design and the color combination is excellent. It’s also advisable, and even appropriate at times, to pick a good sleeve tattoo for men, when you compare it to getting inked on other parts of the body.
As with any tattoo, you’ll need to keep your bandages on for a few hours, then Gualteros says to wash the tattoo with antibacterial soap and water, let it air dry for 10 minutes, and put a thin layer of Aquaphor on it after each shower for the first two days. (Then switch to unscented body lotion.) While the tattoo heals, wash it 2-3 times a day until peeling stops. This usually takes one week. Continue with light layers of unscented lotion.
Although they have become more popular and usually require a greater investment, airbrush temporary tattoos are less likely to achieve the look of a permanent tattoo, and may not last as long as press-on temporary tattoos. An artist sprays on airbrush tattoos using a stencil with alcohol-based, FDA-approved cosmetic inks. Like decal tattoos, airbrush temporary tattoos also are easily removed with rubbing alcohol or baby oil.
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.
Don’t expect to get a huge tattoo, or series of them, in just one sitting. They just take too long. Gualteros has some clients who fly in from overseas, and who then spend a few solid days getting big-scale tattoos completed. But that’s a special case. “Usually it’ll happen over more time,” he says. “It could take months, it could take years. Usually, you leave 3-4 weeks between appointments and a sleeve can require anywhere from 8-10 sessions.”
Serious problems can happen if you try to do a tattoo yourself, have a friend do it for you, or have it done in any unclean environment. Skin infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi can happen if the skin is not cleaned properly, or the ink or needles are contaminated. Sharing needles, ink, or other equipment without sterilization increases your chance of getting HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.
A sleeve tattoo is the best if you want to go through the hours of pinpricking without the risk of inconveniencing sensitive parts of your body. The arm isn’t surrounded by any vital body organs that might be put to risk. As much as today’s methods of tattooing have improved with technology, still having a sleeve tattoo done is considered safer compared to having one done on the eyelids or navel area.
In the period of early contact between the Māori and Europeans, the Maori people hunted and decapitated each other for their moko tattoos, which they traded for European items including axes and firearms. Moko tattoos were facial designs worn to indicate lineage, social position, and status within the tribe. The tattoo art was a sacred marker of identity among the Maori and also referred to as a vehicle for storing one's tapu, or spiritual being, in the afterlife.