Classic Tattoo DesignWhen we think of tattoos, most of us think of the classic, stylized version of the “old school tattoo”, similar to artists like Ed Hardy that are popularized in the media and culture today. Many tattoo ideas are based on this style, classy and cool. Very colorful art with stark, black lines shows off something unique to the wearer, whether that’s a story or a theme they want to represent themselves as. A lot of these older tattoo designs have a lot of meaning in what looks like simple imagery, so it can be helpful to know that history of what makes them so important and ubiquitous in the tattoo world. Since symbolism reigns supreme in tattoo design, we need to look at what makes certain images and styles more prevalent in artwork. Each piece has its own story to tell, even if it looks the same as everyone else. While the symbols might be the same, the design and style are all unique to the artist. Pay attention to the portfolio of the artists you like, and see if they seem to have something that you can only see in their work. Depending on what you want, you’ll strike gold taking notice of their art. Even though there is a known classic style, every artist has their own representation of each popular symbol, whether tiger tattoos, swallows, or pin up girls. Sometimes, a mixture of different symbol tattoos helps to create the best representation of what we want others to see in our permanent artwork. Artists that specialize in this style are always looking for ways to improve it, making it seem more modern but still have that timeless feel that will only get better with age. Colors, shapes, and intrigue all make for a great classic style tattoo, one that you can see for yourself and maybe even on yourself.
The Story of the Pin Up GirlA classic pin up tattoo is one of the most recognized of these designs, being popular in World War II as a morale booster for airmen, seamen, and the likes of the army. As a good luck charm, a beautiful woman would be painted on the side of an airplane, on a ship, or tattooed upon someone’s body. They weren’t always representations of a woman that someone knew, but rather a “fantasized” version of a good luck charm for those on duty. They represented “back home”, where things were more lackadaisical and fun, instead of the horrors of war. Seen on everything from postcards, letters, and other manner of correspondence, each soldier had their own perfect pin up to keep their eyes forward during some of the more rough times out on the battlefield. The informal display of these pictures mean that they were meant to be collected and cherished for years, taken on many travels, and woven into stories and memories of experiences. The makeup style and clothing worn by the girl in a pin up are indicative of the time period she lives, as well as the personality that she is trying to show off. Whether sassy and fearless, innocent or naïve. Each person will have their own unique and fantastical version of the pinup they want to see, and each one will be the best representation of whatever emotion you’re trying to convey. Today, we can see many of these designs in freelance military logos that are still in use as morale-boosters in the United States and elsewhere. Each culture has its own version of the pin up girl, all based on that classic American design. Thick black lines and a pop of color, along with a snide smile are all hallmarks of the classic pin up, then and now. Female empowerment will always be in vogue, as women continue to garner more respect and admiration in the art and tattoo world. Taking all these different styles and meshing them together into a cohesive whole will work towards a more representative culture for men and women of all demographics.
Modern Takes on a Classic StyleToday, everyone can appreciate this pin up style, with some artists taking a unique spin on the classic girl and creating male designs for different demographics. Each tattoo artist has their own representation of what the pin up looks like, whether brazenly sexual or more modest and seductive. Celebrities, musicians, and an entire subculture of enthusiasts call the pin up girl their style inspiration. The defining clothing and makeup that make a pin up girl are well known today, and exceptionally beautiful. While they all might have the same level of familiarity, each one is just as unique and worthy of praise and the WWII originals. Pin up girl tattoo design will never fade in popularity, as they’re timeless and aesthetically pleasing no matter who they represent. The allure of feminine beauty may change over the years, but the general idea of women as objects of desire and fearless expression won’t. While not so much an overtly sexualized version of a woman as much as a representation of their strength as partners to military men, these female artworks are not just classic but also timeless. The future of pinup tattoo design is one that is rooted in cultural changes as well as keeping with tradition. All of the best tattoos showcase this, whether they’re more brazen and simple of complex and intricate. Pin ups can symbolize a feigned innocence or a knowledge of it lost. This type of symbolism will always be one of the best things about tattoo culture.
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