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Tattoos Should Be Considered Fine Art

Tattooing has existed as a form of visual art for centuries, reflecting unique human stories on their bodies. Indeed, ancient skeletons painted with ochre suggest that it was one of the first forms of art (Jones). Tattoos are created by placing ink to the deeper skin layers using needles to create a permanent image (Sizer 420). Although some museums tried to hold tattoo exhibitions, many fine art institutions are still hesitant to recognize tattooing as a legitimate form of art (Schwab). Moreover, people with tattoos are often stigmatized as having anti-social personalities, even if half of the American millennials have permanent pictures on their bodies (Mehta). Tattooing is not a conventional artwork, but it still possesses features of visual art. For example, tattooing involves placing lines and patterns to create an esthetic meaning (Sizer 420). Tattooing can be considered fine art because it expresses emotions, have original esthetic properties, and requires professional skills.

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Tattooing can be viewed as fine art not because museums started to display them but due to the three main reasons. First, tattoos are created to deliver esthetic meaning, giving a sense of visual pleasure (Sizer 421). Indeed, some tattoos are incredibly appealing, making some fine art collectors buy tattooed skins (Hettich). Second, tattoos often express artists’ emotions and their clients who work collaboratively to visualize complex life experiences (Sizer 422). People often are tempted to have permanent reminders on their bodies about happy or tragic events, which requires a special tattoo design. Third, this artwork is complex and demands a high degree of skills (Sizer 423). The ability to draw beautiful pictures is not sufficient because tattoo artists also need to learn how to use the instruments, avoid various complications, and create masterpieces on constantly changing human bodies.

Overall, tattooing is a complex form of fine art that requires talent and skills to create visually appealing drawings on people’s bodies. This art allows expressing emotions about a unique personal experience of a tattoo artist or a client. Some museums accepted tattooing as fine art, but it does not necessarily should be displayed in exhibitions. It is an original form of fine art that becomes beautiful and meaningful on one’s body, representing that person’s story.


Sizer, Laura. “The Art of Tattoos.” British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 60, no. 4, 2020, pp. 419–433.

Hettich Madeleine. “Are Tattoos Fine Art?” Grey Journal. n.d. Web.

Jones, Jonathan. “Ink-Credible: Do Tattoos Count as Art?” The Guardian, 2015. Web.

Mehta, Vinita. “Are People with Tattoos Stigmatized?” Psychology Today, 2018. Web.

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Schwab, Katharine. “Highbrow Ink.” The Atlantic, 2015. Web.

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