Why do Americans think tattoos are weird?
They’re so different from tattoos done by people with real disabilities: they were not written by the artist. And they can be so different than other kinds of work. The more I look into it, the more I just think that that’s the way tattoos came to America. It’s not like tattoos were a new thing to America — they were always around.
And why do people hate tattoos?
They’re so different than tattoos done by people with real disabilities: they were not written by the artist. And they can be so different than other kinds of work. People that don’t get tattoos often hate tattoos, because they think that it’s different or weird or ugly or some other thing. But it’s really beautiful.
Some people even say the same thing about a blind man who has a blindfold over his eyes.
In some cases people say, “Oh, I’m going to have to take it off.” And then, like, they go, “Oh, I don’t know why I did it the way I did.” And the artist will explain. It is a different way to look at life.
The work of the artist is also something people hate.
There’s this idea, “Hey, it’s a beautiful piece of art that’s done by a well-trained artist!” But then they don’t look for a skilled technician. They don’t look for a machine shop. They look for the artist.
In this new way of thinking, tattoos make people more comfortable, and that’s the only way they can justify them.
Is there an artist who was killed by a tattooist?
Yes. I think we can all agree that there were people who were murdered by dealers of the art. But it’s hard to prove that one specific person is the culprit, because we don’t have good evidence for that. In a way, it’s like the old saying, when you walk into a room full of angry people, everyone looks different.
You’ve worked with a variety of different artists: tattooers, painters, and cadaver tattoos. Have they ever been threatened by someone who wanted them to stop?
There are people who are so dedicated, so determined — they are going to get up with their hands up and scream, “F*ck the dealers!” And people will take it seriously. So we’ve seen the worst
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