Are tattoos art?
Can the application of ink to skin be compared to the works of the great masters or perhaps even the modern artists like Picasso or Dali?
If any of the recognized artists had turned their hand to tattooing, this would not even be a question.
The roots of this particular art form are somewhat murky and it seems as if the artists and their end product are fighting for recognition. Currently TV programs like Miami Ink and LA Ink seem to be making their end product more acceptable.
But as Ryan “Buster” Bolton, the owner of the recently opened Golden Tiki Tattoo Parlour in Linden explained it could be seen as a double-edged sword.
“Viewers only get to see the work in progress and the finished product. They do not get to see the prep work, neither are they given insight into the medical aspect of getting a healthy tattoo”.
This was not my first tattoo but I wanted to find out more about Ryan before I allowed him to put ink on my skin.
He has been in the business for several years and is more of an old-school tattoo artist in as much as he did an apprenticeship, which included doing tattoos on himself!
Before taking up this profession he worked in special effects for the entertainment industry specializing in monster make-up for music videos.
Although he always wanted to be a cartoonist, and this shows in his own tattoos, he found that his passion for body art allowed him to indulge in both.
Aside from a two-year apprenticeship, he also emphasized that inter-personal skills are very important…”Its almost like a Doctor-patient relationship”, he said.
Before picking up his instruments he chatted to me at length about my design and my reason for adding this to my “collection”.
Ryan tries to talk people out of tattoos that include names that might be transient. “Try explaining to your partner why your high school sweetheart’s name is still on your chest and tattoo removal is a costly and painful procedure”.
“At the end of the day it is my reputation that is on the line and if I make a mistake, and they do happen, I must be able to fix it”
Just to make sure we both checked the spelling of the words in my tattoo several times, just to make certain there would be no mistakes.
Ryan believes in customized tattoos and that means potential customers will not find reams of “tattoo flash” hanging from rails in the store. There are a few catalogues to help with ideas but he prefers it if you bring your own design along.
He went on to tell me that the youngest person to have ‘ink’ was a 15year old who came in with his parents to have the work done and the oldest was his Gran who was 79!
There are currently 3 tattoo artists and an apprentice at the parlour, with an area reserved for visiting tattoo artists to work in.
He also described in detail about how important hygiene is, not only for the customer but for the tattoo artist as well.
The process itself was not as painful as I expected, given the position of the tattoo. My previous tattoo on my chest hurt a lot more!
After the process we chatted about how celebrities have made tattoos fashionable and acceptable (I have yet to convince my Mom that my tattoos are a good idea)
Not only is the Golden Tiki a tattoo parlour, it is also home to a coffee shop that does great “sandwitches” and fries!
David Beckam and his wife as well as Angelina Jolie and a variety of rock stars, old and young, have allowed this ‘art form’ to become more acceptable in main stream society.
Unlike the facial tattoos of the South Sea Islands, South Africans tend to be less daring, although I have noticed several neck tattoos in Johannesburg.
I came away with a new insight and understanding of the culture surrounding this art form.
If you are looking for a gift for yourself or a loved one…consider a tattoo!
I am already planning my next one…
Two weeks later I added this to my “collection”!
The reason I chose to have the turtle done was because it is able to escape the world within the comfort of its shell. The spirit of the turtle is one of protection, healing and inner knowledge.
The turtle has a deliberate and thorough approach to life; Turtle is also courageous because it makes progress only when it sticks its neck out, and moves forward with patient, steady flow in order to achieve the desired results.
The Chinese writing above was incorporated into the new design using the shading.
And if that was not enough, I also added this to my to my left arm to “balance out” the turtle on my right arm…well that is my excuse for having this piece done
Gecko – A lizard whose tail grows back if pulled off. For this reason they symbolize regrowth and luck.Geckos, are also capable of keep diseases away from home. The belief that geckos have supernatural powers is common to many cultures, all around the world
The Gecko here is surrounded by a Maori design to tie in with the fish hook that I had done in New Zealand in 2007
Ryan at Golden Tiki Tattoo Parlour in Linden.
Tel: 071 397 4536