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Tattoos again: I've got it

Monday's post about tattoos sparked a bit of debate. We struggled over the old question of what makes "art" and I tried to find an analogy to define my position on the subject. Maybe it was today's gunshot murder case or just enough time marinating on the subject, but I finally came up with a fitting comparison.

temporary tattoo : real tattoo : : water pistol : real pistol

One is just child's play; the other is for keeps. Actually, sticking on a temporary tattoo compared with the extended process of applying an actual tattoo makes the difference more like being squirted with water versus being riddled with bullets from a machine gun. But you get my drift. The impact, force, and significance of one are much greater than that of the other.

Of course, that's just my opinion and you're free to take it or leave it once again. If there's anything I should have learned about art by now, it's that different folks have different opinions of what's good and what's not, and who am I to disagree? One man's junk is another man's art. Just don't say that tattoos and temporary tattoos are the same thing.


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2 comments:

Dave! said...

Almost... that analogy doesn't encapsulate my point, which would be:

real tattoo:temporary tattoo::Nikon F5:disposable camera

Yes, the Nikon is vastly superior, but they both take pictures and are both cameras.

I was never arguing about what was art, I was trying to get at why you thought permenance was a requirement, because you were adament about that in your original post ("the very thing that makes tattoos a powerful art form: their permanence") while I thought what made tattoos a powerful artform didn't differ from what makes painting a powerful artform: the skill of the artist and the content of the work--be it watercolor, oil, or chalk on a sidewalk that will get washed away with rain.

Okay, back to studying for exams. :)

sui generis said...

I like your analogy too, as long as the disposable camera's photos also dissolve after a few days. But I stand by my point.

In the case of tattoos, the medium and method of application do not just raise the work to a higher quality, but to an entirely different plane of experience (at least for the artist and the canvas, if not for the impartial viewer).

But now I'm getting out of semantics entirely and into metaphysics. Besides, I hear that you've got a tattoo yourself, so I probably don't need to convince you that there's something special about them. Good luck on those exams!