What are Russian views on tattoos?

Grace from Philadelphia asked:
What are Russian views on tattoos? Do many Russians have them? Have you seen any you like or do you have one? How they are perceived considering the history of associating them with criminal activity?

Hello Grace!

Actually my gf got into tattooing last year and we made friends with an amazing Russian tattoo artist Daneela — so I have plenty of information on tattoos even without having one.

Daneela is on the left here and tattoo made by her is on red girl's back:

Myself I even do not have my ears pierced. Almost every parent does it for daughters during their early childhood (to avoid pain afterwards, they say, but I guess they just like make their small daughters wearing golden earrings because they find it to be beautiful) but my mom resisted. She told me I deserve the right to choose by myself if I need ear piercing (and religion, too). I chose not to get myself earrings.

But let’s return to tattoos!

Up to 1990s tattoos have definitely been footprints of visiting jail (or of joining army). They’ve been done relatively ugly and by poorly equipped "artists", sometimes with a guitar string. See three volumes of 'Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia’ or this Vice article for the further info if you are not eating right now.

But times changed as they always do. Tattoos brushed social stigmas off and started to appear on bikers, on heavy music lovers, on punks and other underground people… then on regular people.

Now it’s summer (though in St. Pete summer could prove to be cold and rainy) and I see so many beautiful tattoos on the streets. Owners walk proudly.

Young ladies choose pretty words to be tattooed on them, serious people prefer black-and-grey, 'dot work' or even 'black work' drawings. Bikers and butches still prefer monochrome ones but young boys choose watercolor splashy drawings.

Another Daneela's work on male leg:

You can leaf though photo materials of biggest tattoo group «Wow! That’s a cool tattoo». It has 2 million followers. There are tattoo festivals and awards and a lot of social gatherings around this topic. Tattoos are fancy.

Some people will transfer on you any drawing; others will make personal sketch in their own style and will not copy it afterwards. Former is craft I guess, latter is art.

There are some serious jobs where you cannot wear rings or dreadlocks, left alone visible tattoos. But if you are not a bank clerk or doctor or make up shop assistant… you’ll be okay. Some bank clerks get tattoos anyway. Under their sleeves.

This post is an answer to one of The Listserve replies I’ve got.
You can ask your question, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment