Tattoo Quotes

From The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown:

The goal of tattooing was never beauty. The goal was change. From the scarified Nubian priests of 2000 B.C., to the tattooed acolytes of the Cybele cult of ancient Rome, to the moko scars of the modern Maori, humans have tattooed themselves as a way of offering up their bodies in partial sacrifice, enduring the physical pain of embellishment and emerging changed beings.

Despite the ominous admonitions of Leviticus 19:28, which forbade the marking of one’s flesh, tattoos had become a rite of passage shared by millions of people in the modern age – everyone from clean-cut teenagers to hard-core drug users to suburban housewives.

The act of tattooing one’s skin was a transformative declaration of power, an announcement to the world: I am in control of my own flesh. The intoxicating feeling of control derived from physical transformation had addicted millions to flesh-altering practices…cosmetic surgery, body piercing, bodybuilding, and steroids…even bulimia and transgendering. The human spirit craves mastery over its carnal shell.

“A tattoo is a true poetic creation and is always more than meets the eye.  As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition.”  ~ V. Vale and Andrea Juno, Modern Primitives

“For westerners, the tattoo has always been a metaphor of difference.”  ~ Margo DeMello, Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community, 2000

“Tattooing is about personalizing the body, making it a true home and fit temple for the spirit that dwells inside it…. Tattooing therefore, is a way of keeping the spiritual and material needs of my body in balance. ” ~ Michelle Delio

“Not one great country can be named, from the polar regions in the north to New Zealand in the south, in which the aborigines do not tattoo themselves.”  ~ Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

“Quirky is sexy, like scars or chipped teeth.  I also like tattoos – they’re rebellious.”  ~ Jennifer Aniston

“[A] genuine tattoo…. tells a story.  I like stories and tattoos, no matter how well done, and if they don’t tell a story that involves you emotionally, then they’re just there for decoration, then they’re not a valid tattoo.  There has to be some emotional appeal or they’re not, to my way of thinking, a real tattoo.  It tells people what you are and what you believe in, so there’s no mistakes.”  ~ Leo, tattooist, 1993, quoted in Margo DeMello, Bodies of Inscription, 2000

“My body is a journal in a way. It’s like what sailors used to do, where every tattoo meant something, a specific time in your life when you make a mark on yourself, whether you do it yourself with a knife or with a professional tattoo artist.” ~ Johnny Depp

“The tattoo attracts and also repels precisely because it is different.”  ~ Margo DeMello, Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community, 2000

“There is no “underground” community, no dark den of drunken sailors initiating themselves into manhood via cheap, ill-conceived exercises in bodily perforation; it’s just a group of people who delight in using their bodies as billboards.” ~ Joanne McCubrey, “Walking Art: Tattoos,” Mountain Democrat Weekend magazine, 9 February 1990

“A man without tattoos is invisible to the Gods.” ~ Iban Proverb

“Beauty is skin deep.  A tattoo goes all the way to the bone.” ~ Vince Hemingson

“People have asked me, what about your tattoos when you’re ninety? Why would it bother me then? I would still want to get tattooed even when I’m a grandmother.” ~ Nicole Miller, noted fashion designer

“I’ll tell you this, lad: A tattoo says more of a fellow looking at it than it can do of the man who’s got it on his back.” ~ Sarah Hall, The Electric Michelangelo

“If the body is a temple, then tattoos are its stained glass windows.” ~ Vince Heminson

“A great tattoo is a statement, not a style. And getting it is a journey, not a destination.” – Vince Hemingson

“A tattoo is something permanent when you’ve made a self-discovery, or something you’ve come to a conclusion about.” ~ Angelina Jolie

“My skin is my canvas. The artwork on it represents something that is very powerful and meaningful in my life. I look at my skin as something of a living diary because all my tattoos represent a time in my life. And I never wish to shut the door on the past, so I carry it all with me.” ~ Dave Navarro


1 Comment

  1. I really enjoyed reading the comments. I just got my first tattoo and I love it. My tattoo definitely represents something VERY meaningful in my life… my life is an endless journey just as getting my tattoo was a very important journey for me to take. I will never regret getting my tattoo.


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