Everyone is different. Each has their unique characteristics, traits, and isms that make them who they are. All of these little things come together to cultivate our individual aesthetic, and it is through this that many of us strongly identify.
Fashion is an important part of personal aesthetics, serving as your first glimpse of who someone is when you first meet them, but sometimes tattoo art can also be overlooked as an essential piece of the puzzle. Tattoos can be a direct window into who someone is, as they can represent what they value and how they want to present themselves. In this sense, tattoo fashion and art contain many of the same principles in what they are trying to accomplish.
Luis Morales, a sophomore at UO studying economics, has two tattoos on his right leg above his knee. He got his first tattoo in May last year which was a very trying experience for him.
“The first time was scary – my mom wasn’t home that weekend and my dad was working all day, so it was kind of a rebellious thing,” Morales said.
The first tattoo he got was a circular black brushstroke representing discipline, which came from a book he studied while practicing martial arts. The book, “The Art of Peace” by Japanese martial artist Morihei Ueshiba, focuses on martial arts values such as discipline, peace, and not using your fighting techniques for evil.
His second tattoo, which he got last August, is a sword from an animated series which, unlike the first, was very spontaneous, as he chose it 20 minutes before going to the tattoo parlour.
“The brushstroke kind of relates to me in martial arts, so it’s just a little symbol or memory that I have of it,” Morales said. “The sword one was just more for fun and just putting something cool on my body.”
With his tattoos being very visible on his body in an exposed spot, this allows Morales to dress in a certain way that will help accentuate his body art. Being able to show them off to the world goes back to why he got them in the first place – to boost his confidence and feel good about how he looks.
“In general, I always like to wear shorts more and I’ve always been much more confident in my legs than in my upper body, so I like to show them off,” Morales said. “And I know adding something, a cool little design to my legs, made me feel a lot more confident and made me feel a lot cooler, especially if I showed them.”
Dimitri Rodriguez, an OU sophomore and biology major, has been inking from the moment he could at age 18. Ever since he became an official adult, getting a tattoo was the only thing he wanted.
Today, Rodriguez flaunts several different tattoos on all parts of his body. His first tattoo resides on the upper left side of his chest, a Chinese virtue that stands for ‘fu’ meaning good fortune, blessings and luck. On his left forearm is another Chinese symbol, “jiāting”, which translates to “family”. On his ribs is a snake with the number one next to it, the representative being the year of the snake based on the Chinese zodiac, and the number one representing his birth date being first and his birth year being 2001.
On the back of his neck are the hands of God and Adam, depicted in Michelangelo’s famous painting “The Creation of Adam”, and the side of his right leg across his entire calf depicts an elaborate image of Zeus, the Greek god of lightning. He believes tattoo art should have personal meaning if you want to express yourself that way.
“I really like the aesthetic part, but I also think it’s kind of important to have a meaning behind your tattoos, because why would I get something that doesn’t really have something meaningful to me?” Rodríguez said. “If I’m going to have it, it’s going to be there forever; I probably want it to mean something that is somewhat important to me or something that I choose to believe in.
Her personal fashion style primarily consists of streetwear with a hint of alternative or grunge flavor, incorporating lots of blacks and other neutrals such as whites, grays and tans. Having many tattoos on several parts of his body, he likes to emphasize his body art in this style and takes pride in the way he expresses himself through it.
“I think for the placement of my tattoos, like the one on my forearm or my leg, maybe I’ll tend to wear short sleeves to show it off and then shorts as well,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve brought them where I can hide them and they can be visible, but at the same time if I really want to I can show them. I can display them and show them in a way that’s not trying to brag about what I have on my body, but at the same time I’m proud of what I have.
Tattoo art joins fashion as an equally vital factor in expressing yourself and showing people who you are and what you believe in. Getting that first tattoo can give you a sense of empowerment and confidence, which is truly the essence of fashion and style. everything on.