“Tattoo Nation” in Maricopa


Tattoo Nation Poster

Kegan McLarty, Cactus Contributor

Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) president Christina Chitwood and advisor Heather Moulton pleasantly welcomed students at the Maricopa Campus to the showing of the impressive documentary “Tattoo Nation.” The documentary told the tale of how the art of tattooing was born, and it grabbed the viewers’ attention from the very start.

The video opened to a young girl dolefully explaining the importance of her tattoo of her mother who became very ill years ago. She went on to say that the tattoo always allowed her to be close to her mother and that it symbolized the tight bond the two women had. She told the interviewer in the film that the tattoo would always be the only thing to symbolize their love for one another.

Another tattooed woman passionately described her love for her tattoos and the meanings behind them. She stated, “This angel on my side represents freedom and rising above the trials and tribulations of life.”

Even David Beckham, the professional soccer player who is well-known for the number of tattoos he has, made an appearance in the film. He told the interviewer that he loves tattoos because that’s the way he feels he can express himself.

As the film continued to play, I became more and more engrossed in the culture and history of tattooing. I looked around me at my fellow CAC students, and it was obvious they were as mesmerized as I was.

The video focused a lot on the evolution of tattooing and how it had a bit of a rough start.

I thought it was extremely interesting to find out that Ed Hardy was one of the first icons of tattooing. I have thought for years that he was simply a tattoo artist who made a name for himself by designing clothes. The film went into depth of Ed Hardy buying Good Time Charlie’s Tattooland, which allowed the continued success of prison style tattoos with the quality of a shop tattoo.

Having tattoos myself, I was surprised to learn that when tattoos started becoming popular in the 1960’s, there weren’t many designs that you could choose from. Nowadays, someone can walk into a tattoo parlor and go into extravagant details of the artistry they want displayed on their body. Meanwhile, the artist attempts and usually succeeds in bringing that idea to life. It wasn’t always that way though, which I don’t think people realize. Nowadays people who tattoo for a living are considered artists, whereas in the previous era, they really weren’t given that respect.

Like any documentary, this one fascinated me and other audience members. Learning the history behind something that has become so second nature in our community is priceless. Tattoos are our present; they are our future. It is becoming more common to see a stranger walk down the street covered in tattoos rather than not, and there are more social media accounts of tattoo artists than anything else. It was so amazing to see this film and get a deeper understanding of this trend.

This is truly a tattoo nation as we know it.