The tattoo symbolises a single act of violence, but is not solely symbolic or artistic. The meaning is conveyed in its visualisation, whether through the placement of a tattoo, a tattoo of a character, or a tattoo on the face of the body.
Tattoo: ‘It’s like being shot’. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
The meaning of the tattoo varies depending on how it is created. Generally, the artwork of a tattoo is to be self-portrait, in a particular style, style of expression, or the colour of the tattoo and body. In some cases, particularly within the punk movement, the tattoo is a symbol of a specific character.
In some cases, the tattoo symbolises a specific act of violence, and may portray the meaning (or “deteriorate” of) the subject being tattooed. However, these definitions are a matter for individual tattooers. Some artists will only use certain colours of ink; some tattoo artists make their own tattoos or simply use tattoo-making equipment. Some tattoo artists only use tattoo-making equipment that is sold or made exclusively by them; some tattoo artists also use a specially-designed tattoo press, which they use to make their own tattoos.
Why does tattooing need to be done?
If any part of the body has been tattooed, the tattoos, whether it be from a traditional or modern tattooing style, can be highly offensive and stigmatising to many people and communities.
Tattoos are not purely decorative. Tattoos are an integral part of the physical representation of identity and belonging, and can have a significant impact on a person’s lives and communities, as shown in the examples below.
In some cases, such as those involving the military, the tattoo is a form of military identity, and could lead to severe sanctions and/or restrictions upon the wearer. In other cases, such as those involving the “other side” of the gender spectrum, a physical and/or psychological reaction to the tattoo may result in physical altercations or self-harm behaviour.
Many tattoo victims have experienced sexual violence, particularly as a result of the physicality of the tattoos, and this violence is associated with the tattooing of the perpetrator. These individuals have been found to be very difficult to get help, both directly or through the media and social media, and their wounds may continue to linger long after the incident.
Some victims have felt that they are the victims
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