Tattooing has a long and storied history throughout the human experience. Almost every culture, no matter how major or minor, has had some sort of history and experience with the art of tattooing. Regardless of whether they were seen in a positive or negative light, tattoos have always drawn attention due to their intricacy and the emotions and spirits that they can represent. They have been attributed to people ranging from powerful warriors and magic users to prisoners and criminals and everyone in between. Now, it seems as though they’re finally getting the artistic recognition they deserve.
Tattoos are growing in popularity in America. One in five adults are getting tattoos and the trend doesn’t seem like it’s going to change anytime soon, especially since tattoos are no longer the taboo they once were. Now, with tattoos becoming more popular and prolific, people are looking at them with an eye towards the artistry that can go into the more traditional forms of tattooing. Tattoos from many Asian countries are still done in very traditional ways and frequently hold very traditional meanings. This, combined with how complex and beautiful they can be, is leading to a sorts of artistic renaissance and resurgence in popularity of these traditional techniques.
Traditional Japanese tattoos are just one example of the art shows built around tattoos. A new exhibit titled Perseverance is showing at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond and is focused solely on this ancient technique. It features photographs of modern and ancient Japanese and Japanese-style tattoos and goes far towards showing that tattoos are, without a doubt, an art form that has been undeservedly ignored for the past centuries. The exhibit shows everything from singular tattoos to full sleeves and designs that use the whole body as a canvas. It’s a must see for anything interested in Japanese history and art!