Watching the videos on old school tattooing and Ed Hardy, there were striking changes that have occurred in terms of technology, technique, and even the tattoo experience. Examples of these include sterilization methods such as the use of gloves, alcohol, and autoclaves. There has also been a shift from flash to almost exclusively custom designed tattoos with speacializations such as in pin-ups, photo realism, portraits, biomechanical, nature, and traditional Japanese-style tattooing. Even the tattoo experience has changed—for the artist and the customer. In one of the videos, where the man was getting a cover up tattoo (covering JR) the exchange between the tattoo artist and customer is very casual and interactive.
There is an element of storytelling, especially in part by the tattoo artist in the video. However, a part of this appears to have been lost over the years, with some artists even asking one to limit the conversation so that they can concentrate. There is also a sense of elitism in the business where the best tattooist are selective in who and what they tattoo. This contrasts with the same video where, although already renowned, didn’t mind tattooing someone right off the street with a simple, small design. Some could reason that it is because of an increase in the number of people getting tattoos and increasing competition from upcoming tattooists and parlors. Especially watching interviews of Ed Hardy, you notice a man who wants to be excellent at his craft, someone who wants to set himself apart from everyone else.
Like someone pointed out in class, the experience for someone that is looking to get a tattoo appears to have also changed. What once seemed like a casual event has now become a sort of research project. With the advent of the internet, we can now do research on artists, view their profiles online and gather inspirations for an original piece. It is no longer spontaneous, where we are often suggested to wait a year or two to make sure we still want to go through with getting a tattoo. We have to keep in mind the placement of the tattoo and every possible context or setting we may find ourselves in. I think that although more people are getting tattoos, the stigma is in a sense becoming stronger. Tattoos are now more than ever associated with the inability to find a job. And with people wanting to get them in more daring places such as the neck and face, there permanence and possible consequences are even more highlighted. However, I did appreciate Hardy's interpretation of this permanence in that it is part of a journey and that it too is transient just as the person who bears them.