Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chinese Homemade Tattoos

Anyone who has been in China has certainly seen them, but perhaps hasn't noticed them unless they're really big or hideous. Since becoming an ink-ophile, my tattoo radar has gotten really sharp and I see them all over the place, particularly on middle-aged guys' forearms. I don't want to generalize but the majority of dudes sporting this particular style of ink seem a bit blue-collar, though I have seen all types flossing their style, from dads to taxi drivers to hairstylists to street vendors.

The thing that strikes me about this unusual phenomenon is the prevalence of homemade tattoos. I imagine that most of these guys and girls got their tattoos during their wild tempestuous youth, flying high on a cloud of rebellion (not-so-subtle sarcasm alert). More than likely it was out of boredom, and a buddy had a needle, a pen, and a cigarette lighter and mumbled, "I'll get one if you get one first." Viola, a memento of one's impulsive childhood.

Another thing is the choice of subject matter. I see quite a few hand-poked dragons and flowers, but I've also come across a lot of Chinese characters, probably the bearer's name or zodiac sign, and today I saw a man with a small foot on his left arm. Say wha?

Guy Pearce in Memento, an excellent do-it-yourself tattoo tutorial.

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