As an art student (or, in fact, any student), the decision to modify yourself is ever at the fore-front of your mind.
Now please don't think of me as vain- we art students also need to spend time filling our heads with whimsical things revolving around the topics of nature, whether or not hippy trousers are really a good idea due to their lack of pockets and the meaning of life in general.
Oh, and spaghetti hoops. They cross my mind surprisingly often.
But one thing everyone seems to talk about at art school (besides how we can't afford anything) is body art.
Now I'm classing body art as anything from piercings to dyed hair to tattoos.
I am definitely not classing Lady Gaga-style face and shoulder implants under body 'art'.
That just seems like the combination of a lot of vodka and her insatiable need to be in the public eye.
Now while there is a reasonably high chance I'll ask why on earth did you get that engraved upon your body?, on the whole, I like tattoos.
Let me re-phrase that....
I like tattoos. On other people.
I guess I like tribal-style patterns best.
What I don't like so much is the bullshit reasoning surrounding the tattoo. The way that to a heck of a lot of people, it has to be meaningful.
Meaningful? How, exactly, can a glorified doodle etched into your skin be meaningful?
Yes, you can write the names of your children over your heart, but does nobody ever think of this from the child's point of view? I know I'd find it weird if I were permanently written on my parents flesh.
And what if, 20 years after 'Amelia-Grace' has been proudly tattooed onto her Dad's forearm, Amelia-Grace has a sex change and insists on being called Andrew?
What happens then?!?
I think that most people like a design, then feel pressured to come up with some deep and all-powerful meaning to justify it.
It's your body! Own it!
If you have a floral motif on your ankle, don't come up with something vague to do with how it 'represents' nature or something equally as 'meaningful'.
Don't be that guy.
You know what would be refreshing?
If someone just went 'Yeah, I like flowers and I got it because I just really wanted this particular design on my ankle/ insert body part here'. No random arty-farty mumbo jumbo.
I would respect that guy.
That said, I don't think that a tattoo should be a snap decision.
Although laser removal means that tattoos don't have to be as permanent nowadays, you want it to be something that you wont cringe at every time you look in the mirror.
You know, something that will look good when the wrinkles set in.
We all have that friend who desperately wants a tattoo, yet is like a kid in a sweet shop when it comes to picking a design.
They usually have a folder on their PC with about 50+ different ideas that they cant decide between, and there seems to be a new favourite every week.
These are the people, in my humble opinion, who should not get a tattoo.
Well, at least not yet.
While I don't think that a tattoo needs to be some life-changing, epiphany-inducing work of art, I think that the basic rule of thumb is that you need to have your heart set on one design, and know exactly what you want, for at least 6 months before taking the plunge.
No-one is going to love you if you have YOLO emblazoned across your forehead in six months from now.
In fact, not even right now.
Like Crocs, YOLO has had its time.
Move on, bro.
Something that I think should be avoided at all costs is getting a tattoo of someone's face.
Why would you want that?
For starters, they almost all look wonky/ have a lazy eye/ the person looks like they haven't quite sobered up from the night before.
Secondly, (and most importantly) YOU HAVE ANOTHER FACE ON YOUR BODY.
Whether it be on your arm, your back, whatever- you still have another person staring out from your flesh.
You've basically turned yourself into a two headed monster.
Does nobody else find this creepy?!
I realise that this rather long post seems very anti-ink. The truth is that I really like tattoos, and although I wouldn't really get one myself (I'm a wimp when it comes to needles) I can appreciate some awesome design work when I see it.
I am an art student after all.