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In Bodies of Inscription Margo DeMello explains how elite tattooists, magazine editors, and leaders of tattoo organizations have downplayed the working-class roots of tattooing in order to make it more palatable for middle-class consumption. She shows how a completely new set of meanings derived primarily from non-Western cultures has been created to give tattoos an exotic, primitive flavor. Community publications, tattoo conventions, articles in popular magazines, and DeMello's numerous interviews illustrate the interplay between class, culture, and history that orchestrated a shift from traditional Americana and biker tattoos to new forms using Celtic, tribal, and Japanese images. DeMello's extensive interviews reveal the divergent yet overlapping communities formed by this class-based, American-style repackaging of the tattoo. After describing how the tattoo has moved from a mark of patriotism or rebellion to a symbol of exploration and status, the author returns to the predominantly middle-class movement that celebrates its skin art as spiritual, poetic, and self-empowering.
Daniel "Bones" LaLonde, owner of Freedom Tattoo, uses three small plastic containers as he works to cover a previous tattoo on the arm of Craig Silvers on Tuesday, Apr. The containers hold, from left, black ink, grey ink, and water used to mix tones in between. Requires three to five sessions spaced four to six weeks apart to remove most tattoos. May cause mild discomfort, similar to getting a tattoo. If desired topical anesthetic can be provided.
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