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Body Art Painting:
Tattoos no longer taboo

It was not too long ago that tattoos were considered taboo and were frowned upon by the majority of society. Such entities were only found on bikers, ex-convicts, and miscreants of all forms. However, today body art painting is considered a valid art form and is steadily gaining popularity. The artists have training much like the artists who create on canvas or with clay; the only difference is the medium. Some tattoo artists can recreate masterpieces and portraits on the skin of their clients that could rival Picasso or Da Vinci.

Popular Tattoos - Body Art Designs

Tattoos are a very personal matter. After all, the chosen design is going to be a part of your body for the rest of your life. However, as with most things, there are trends that exist. Many love the tribal tattoos with their flowing lines. The traditional tattoos of anchors and birds are making a comeback. Celtic symbols are now very popular because their meanings are generally common to most races and universal in nature.

Many women tend to get tattooed on their ankles, wrists, and lower back; this is where the curves are! Men will generally prefer it on their fore arms, biceps, and upper back.

Body Art Painting

Unlike tattoos, body art is temporary and painted onto the skin. It can last for a few hours or up to a few weeks. It is said that body painting is one of the most ancient art forms. Now, body painting is quite popular in both amateur and commercial arenas, and not all “pieces” involve nudity. Many body artists will include small designs on one area of the body. There are numerous festivals held each year in New York and New Mexico where thousands flock to see the vibrantly coloured participants. The modern revival of body art painting can be dated back to the 1950’s when artists would cover a model’s body in paint (typically female) and have her roll on a canvas to transfer the paint. The results were intriguing - all the curves of the female body in either monotone or mixed coloring.

A Da Vinci of the skin!

Tattoos and body art painting is an art movement in its own right. It is getting to the point that having an original tattoo done by a famed tattoo artist is as coveted as owning an original artwork done by one of the painting masters. People will proudly show off and boast of their ink as if they are showing a Da Vinci, Picasso or Monet. However, they rarely brag about its uniqueness or cost; they would rather rattle off the amount of hours it took to complete and the inspiration and personal meaning behind it.

Due to body art’s current popularity, tattoo artists are being likened to the painting masters of the past. Just like the great artists, tattoo artists and body art painters must have a keen eye for detail, skilled hands, and incredible vision. It takes incredible precision to paint on a living, breathing human being compared to painting on an inanimate object such as paper or canvas. Tattooing leaves very little or no room for error. Moreover, tattoos cannot just be shoved into a closet when they become tiresome to their owner.

Some think that body art painting is not as valid an art form as painting and sculpture, and that body art artists should not be compared to the great painting masters. Nonetheless, they do have one thing in common: a relationship with the subject. Illustrious painters hold a relationship with their subjects, whether the subjects are people, cherished locations or abstract ideas. Tattoo artists and body art painters also maintain a significant relationship with their subjects. They form a bond with their clients. Indulging in the art of tattoo or body art painting means getting your body permanently transformed; at times, some individuals are painted in the nude - it can be a very intimate, personal, and sensual event. The artist is changing you, and leaving a very long-lasting impression. Is that not the perpetual mission of artists?


Donovan Gauvreau


Art Historian, Donovan Gauvreau lectures about art therapy with a focus on creativity development. He believes we can learn from the great masters in art to communicate ideas and feelings through painting. He provides content for www.AaronArtPrints.org to educate and inspire people to take a glimpse into an artist's life to better understand the meaning behind their work.


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