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INK ON SCREEN SPECIAL FEATURE

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INK ON SCREEN This being our 20th anniversary issue, we decided to trace tattooing’s TV roots and its subsequent ups and downs on the small screen in an effort to answer the million-dollar question: What sort of impact has television had on the industry? Seeing as I’ve interviewed my fair share of artists who’ve spearheaded the movement, as reality show stars, judges and contestants, the job somehow landed in my lap.

Barbara Pavone

Discovery Real Time

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f you want to talk stereotypes, let’s talk tattoos. When was the last time you saw a tattooed actor saving the day on your favouritew TV show? I’m not talking about them having a full-blown sleeve or back piece, either. Even the tiniest of marks would do. Nothing? OK, how about the last time you saw someone with ink - real or fake - playing a criminal, drug addict, deviant or all-around hazard to society? The number of examples you can come up with for the latter outnumbers your mental ‘Good Guys’ list, doesn't it? You know

INK ON SCREEN SPECIAL FEATURE

what, you don’t have to answer that, I’m quite certain it does. Whether we want to admit it, to ourselves and to others, or not, the truth goes a little something like this: Tattoos only showed up on TV because casting directors worldwide needed a way to ensure that viewers could immediately spot suspicious characters. Call me pessimistic, but I think people in the entertainment industry saw only one use for ink on screen and that was as a visible marker that allowed anyone watching a movie, tuning into a TV show or even reading a

book to take a nap, grab a snack and turn off for a few minutes, then come back and know exactly what was going on and who was going up against who. Don't believe me? You don't have to, but allow me to offer up a couple prominent examples of this sort of typecasting. From the literary realm, there’s Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man, a series of stories released in 1951 that were tied together by “a vagrant with a tattooed body.” I repeat, a vagrant with a tattooed body. On the big screen, there was Bob Brooks’ Tattoo, a 1981 film

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Tattoo july 2014  

Skin Shots International is a sister title to Skin Deep, which is meant as a reference magazine featuring top quality tattoo work from aroun...

Tattoo july 2014  

Skin Shots International is a sister title to Skin Deep, which is meant as a reference magazine featuring top quality tattoo work from aroun...