July 9, 2022

What Is Tattoo Tourism?

Learn about new tattoo styles like sacred geometry. Find the best tattoo artists in the world for a third of the cost you would pay in your own country.

tattoos are no longer universally dark and scary

Tattoos are a way for us to wear our heart on our sleeve. Maybe they are the closest we can get to doing this literally. Darkness, while sexy, real, and necessary, is not the only thing you keep in your heart. As a marauding tattoo journalist, you could say my passion is to find out and share what people hold in their hearts.

Dragon Ball Z tattoo made in Rio by Clayton Dias (estimated $900)
@claytondiasoficial, Rio de Janeiro

Also, if you are interested in finding tattoo masters based in more affordable countries and cities, I can hook you up! There are very valuable insights to be had by you and I. Tattoos, much like food and weed, vary enormously in cost, quality, and genre as you hop frontiers.

You will find episodes exploring where are the best tattoo artists in the world, what new types of tattoo styles are being innovated, and why on Earth people even get tattoos in the first place.

Obviously, I will be adding to my own collection along the way.

tattoo tourism is like anthony bourdain's parts unknown, but for different types of tattoo styles

When you travel, what do you most look forward to? If you are like my buddy Bourdain and I, you probably look forward to trying tasty foods. The reason we feel excitement at the idea of trying the local cuisine is because food is made differently in different parts of the world.

This applies to more than just food (and tattoos!) If you go to France, you can expect to experience handsome Gothic architecture, stylish fashion, and the sexy ambient romance for which that country is known.

The most valuable thing about leaving the comfort of your home is the privilege of experiencing what makes each place unique and excellent - Leon De Greif, poet

I am proud to be part of the global movement that has slowly been nudging "third world" cities like Florianopolis, Medellin, Tulum, and Hanoi out of obscurity and into the global spotlight. Tattoo Tourism will try to answer the simple question, what makes a city excellent?

3 Types of New Tattoo Styles

1. Destruturatto [2009]

@MamboTattooer, Milan
  • Best Artists: MamboTattooer
  • Main colors: All colors
  • Origin: Milan, Italy
  • Personality: Artistic

Started in Italy by a man who goes by Mambo Tattooer, this style is very difficult to find out in the wild. To date, there are no other prominent artists online who have made a name for themselves flying the destruturatto banner, but it is only a matter of time before there are copy cats and innovators. Although brand new and exceedingly rare, this is a beloved style by hundreds of thousands of tattoo enthusiasts.

Unlike watercolor tattoos, which are not respected among many top tattoo artists, Destruturatto has solid black foundations that will hold the design for decades to come.

Mambo seems to enjoy tattooing pop culture references and smallish cartoon-style illustrations. They measure an estimated average of 4 square inches. As they currently exist, Destruturatto tattoos are not great for massive back pieces or anything large-scale like that. If you are considering something large, take a look at this next style.

2. Sacred Geometry [popularized 2015]

Piotr Szot sacred geometry Poland
@PiotrSzot, Polish Nomad
  • Best artists: @PiotrSzot @Nissaco
  • Main colors: Black and gray
  • Origin: Indigenous geometric. South America
  • Personality: Spiritual

This style is said to be found in the most fundamental elements of nature. Folks who get sacred geometry tend to be spiritual. Sacred geometry as an art form is an ancient tradition that began around 2000 BC in Egypt. Egypt, however, is only one of hundreds of sites where sacred geometry sprung up. It has also been discovered in the patterns used by the Incas and many other civilizations. Modern sacred geometry is very popular in Brazil.

Tattoo genres can often be combined to create beautiful unique styles. Sacred geometry is one example of a new style that is fused with other styles to form world-class art. My favorite tattoo artist in the world is Nissaco, a Japan-based geometric tattoo master who fuses sacred geometry with deep blacks and Japanese Traditional for a psychedelic armor-like effect.

3. Ignorant [1999]

Funny tattoo saying Roses are red, so is my face, cause I feel awkward all the time, but this is my tattoo: it is a fish.
This example was not made by Fuzi, but the style originated in France and was pioneered by @Fuziuvtpk
  • Best Artists: @Fuziuvtpk
  • Main Colors: Black & gray with some red
  • Origin: Prison. Graffiti. France
  • Personality: Fun

These tats are bad on purpose. They come from a mix of Russian prison tattoos, doodles, American Traditional, and graffiti. They're mostly meant to be edgy or funny. Philosopher/Artist YouTuber Struthless was the first to tell me about this new "party leg" genre of tattooing. In his video about ignorant tattoos, he says they are what you get when you mix modern technology with tattoo culture.

Ignorant tattoos became extremely popular in the 2010s. There were two historic leaps in the decade of Drake that led to the widespread adoption of this kind of tattoos

  1. For the first time since the industrial revolution, it was socially okay to get tattoos. Modern day tattoos in the USA will not get you thrown in jail. Tattoos will not even cost you your job.
  2. For the first time in history, Ebay, Craigslist, and other P2P selling websites made it possible to buy tattoo machines without a license or even any tattoo experience

As Struthless says, letting your friend tattoo something silly on your thigh at a party using his new tattoo kit says "Bravery" a lot better than an actual tattoo that says "Bravery."

why do I love tattoos?

The new world we are building will require many of the things that make a good tattoo: boldness, decisiveness, creativity, sacrifice, and long-term planning.

When I was little, I loved heroes that carried a named sword, or a pet guardian. I think many little boys enjoy thinking about that and get excited talking to their friends about what theirs would be. To this day, that is what tattoos are for me. Each piece is my dark guardian and my named sword.

This feeling of permanent companionship applies to bad tattoos too! A bad tattoo is as much of a permanent presence as a good one. A bad tattoo is as much of a liability as an ugly, wimpy, sickly guardian. Even worse, a bad tattoo in a prominent place is an unhealing puncture wound in your identity.

Ultimately, I am a communicator who is passionate about travel and tattoos. The two things combine in a very interesting and unique way in my own life and in the lives of others, so subscribe to my YouTube channel linked above if that is you.

Stay hydrated, gente valiente.

July 9, 2022

Gen X vs Gen Z Tattoos

Ever wondered how tattoos have changed since the 80s? Not only is quality and hygene better, DOZENS of new tattoo styles have been invented since 2015.

gen x vs gen z tattoos: how have tattoos changed since the 80s?

Doug: I could definitely see like a lot of people our age getting that.

Alejandro: Me too. I can see some like Japanese influences. 

Together: like the clouds

For those who don't know, Generation Z is made up of Americans born between 1995 and 2005. Generations themselves are not an exact science, but this is the range used by the Gen Z community on Reddit. Gen X was born between 1961 and 1981.

On this episode of Tattoo Tourism, I went back to my old college town to speak with two very tatted people of two very different generations. Here are some of the big takeaways from the conversation we had.

  • Gen Z is mostly unaware that tattoos were ever associated with prison. For that reason, many of these young tattoo enthusiasts like Post Malone and 6ix9 unknowingly ink themselves with symbols that carry hidden meanings to older family members, potential employers, and people who have actually been in prison 😬😬
  • Gen X is very aware of the seedy implications that tattoos had in the 20th century.
  • Tattoos done before the 2000s were often applied with minimal concern for sanitation and with lesser quality ink.
  • Tattoos may cost you job opportunities if you do not take proper care of the ink, get something related to prison, or tattoo your hands or face

gen z:

Gainesville university of florida gen z tattoos

Doug: I'm 22 years old. I've been getting tattoos now for about six years. I got my first tattoo when I was 18.

Alejandro: Do you think that your tattoos will impact your ability to get a job?

Doug: In job interviews, I'll be complimented on my tattoos. I'll even be asked to wear specifically short sleeves to highlight those tattoos.

Doug: I have a funny story about that.

Doug: I used to work at Mark's Prime, this kind of fancy steakhouse downtown. When I first started working there. I asked my manager if he needed me to wear long sleeves or something to cover up the tattoos. His answer really impacted me. He said that he didn't mind as long as they were good-quality tattoos and well taken care of.

gen x: 

Gainesville florida tattooed by jesus

Alejandro: Do you think that your tattoos have impacted your ability to get a job?

Jo: I work in insurance. Most of the time it is okay, but if we are going into a sensitive meeting I may be asked to "go formal," which I interpret as code for "cover up your tattoos."

Jo: I remember being at work (in the 90s) and somebody noticing an ankle tattoo while i was wearing a skirt, and thinking 'oh i probably shouldn't have worn a skirt today!' I would say 2005 would be about the time the way people saw tattoos really changed. I noticed that nobody really cared! That was around the time I started noticing co-workers that always wore long sleeves were starting to pull their sleeves up a little

Jo: Nowadays people find me more approachable because of the body work. It is also is a conversation starter. People feel comfortable just starting a conversation. Doesn't matter what walk of life they're from.  

how do people without tattoos see people with tattoos?

My generation is obsessed with personal branding. I have definitely picked up on a personal branding element to tattooing.

Dr. Matt is a YouTuber specializing in psychology. In his episode about the psychology of tattoos, he says

Both tattooed people and people without tattoos think that people who do have tattoos seem to be: more risk oriented, more brave, and less stiff.


people who do not have tattoos tend to see those with tattoos as: more aggressive, less trustworthy, and less intelligent

How were tattoos seen in the 90s?

Jo got her first tattoo in 1989. I asked her how were tattoos seen in the 90s

Jo: For women ... it was usually like "oh she's got a tramp stamp."

Jo: When I got my first tattoo, my parents didn't know. Nobody knows. It was just like an old biker guy who did it it. It was a rose that wound up looking like a pot leaf. It wasn't supposed to look like a pot leaf. 

Tattoos back then were much less sanitary and way riskier. She says she thinks tattoos would have been much safer then if there had been less of a stigma. Nowadays

July 9, 2022

tattoo poem: Inspired By The Face-Tattooed Maori

Face tattoo poem about the values that tattoos represent (especially the ancient Maori face tattoos)

If God exists he must be tatted.
After all,
what is a face tattoo
but a commitment to your faith?

The idea of an official wax stamp
sealing the emperor's decree
is an old one.

Tattoos are made to be irrevocable,
boldly visible,

and a point of personal pride.

Permanent ink was how they'd formalize
in olden times 👴
is what I mean to say.
In a way,

tattoos are like currency.