Brief History of Tattoos
Throughout human history there has been a fascination with painting the body permanently with tattoos. Tattoos originated by making small puncture wounds to the skin in which dye was inserted to dry. The same basic principle is applied today using needles.
Today, according to a Harris Poll, currently 14% of the population says they have a tattoo and the numbers seem to be growing as popular culture is influenced by celebrities who are decorating their bodies with symbols of their love, tribal tattoos, and tattoos applied simply for the beauty of the art.
Tattoo designs in 2008 continued a trend of designs from the past years with one notable exception. Sailor Jerry vintage tattoos have made an amazing comeback. Sailor Jerry is the man from Honolulu whom many credit with designing tattoos and tattooing the arms of sailors set them apart from others. Tattoos were then a statement that a man had been somewhere, or done something most others had not.
Top Tattoo Designs of 2008: Sailor Jerry’s Vintage Tattoos
While tattoos have become more prevalent on both men and women since Sailor Jerry’s time, 2008 has experienced a revival of Sailor Jerry’s vintage tattoos. Sailor Jerry’s pride was in creating tattoos men could go home and brag about. There has been a resurgence of this type of tattoo design in 2008.
Included in the Sailor Jerry designs are seductive, buxom women; broken hearts; name filled banners; and pirate inspired designs. The flash, careful shading and coloring, design that Sailor Jerry used is one of the elements of his work that has made a comeback in 2008. No longer are tattoos limited to green or black ink, but all shades of colors are used to create eye-catching vibrant tattoos.
One reason for the resurgence of Sailor Jerry tattoos is the introduction of a Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum. This has created a revived interest in Sailor Jerry Tattoos.
The “Betty Sue” heart tattoo on Johnny Depp’s left bicep is an example of an old-school style tattoo. Robert Downey, Jr. also has an old school U.S.A. flag design on his chest.
Sailor Jerry is only one of the top tattoo designs trends of 2008.
Top Tattoo Designs of 2008: Portraits
2008 has brought an increase in the number of people seeking portrait tattoos. Cultural icons and martyrs are among the most popular portrait tattoos requested. Popular requests include Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and even Hannibal Lecter (a.k.a Anthony Hopkins). Portrait tattoos may cover one’s back, chest, or be tattooed on an arm or a leg.
Top Tattoo Designs of 2008: Tribal/Maori Tattoos
Celebrities from rap stars to Angelina Jolie and a host of others now sport tribal or Maori tattoos.
Maori and Polynesian tattoos are both tribal design favorites. Maori represents a specific type of Polynesian tattooing. Maori tattoos curves and intricate, interwoven designs. Maori tattoos can be completed in solid colors and are tattooed on hands, necks, shoulders, entire back and shoulders, and as chest plates. The complex curved designs have wide-spread appeal.
Top Tattoo Designs of 2008: Memorials
It has become quite common to have a cross or praying hands tattooed in conjunction with a loved ones birth and death date. From small, to intricate and large memorial tattoos have been a popular tattoo design in 2008. Some simply choose to have the individual’s name and date of birth and death emblazoned on their skin, while others design memorials that incorporate elements from their loved one’s life.
Love and marriage memorials remain as popular as ever. People are wising up and getting names tattooed in a hollow heart that can be filled in should the relationship fall apart.
Top Tattoo Designs of 2008: Religious Tattoos
From Christian symbols of faith to Zen symbols, and everything in between, religious tattoos seem to have risen in popularity in 2008. Crosses, doves, and angels are tattooed on those who wish to display their beliefs on their flesh. Symbolic Chinese and Japanese symbols of religion and life are also highly popular tattoo designs.
Top Tattoo Designs of 2008: Yakuza
Yakuza tattoos experienced a revival of their own in 2008. Yakuza tattoos are derived from Japanese art and life. Sumo wrestlers, flowers, Kio fish, and Geisha’s have once again become popular. Delicate Japanese butterflies are also very popular. One of the most vivid Yakuza tattoos that has made a resurgence is the dragon. There are many forms and designs in which to display the dragon as a symbol of strength and courage, or simply to enjoy as a work of body art.
The popularity of tattoos, though down slightly from 2006, continues to thrive in our culture. What used to be part of an underground subculture has become more prominent and accepted in the mainstream. Even those who have not gone all out have adopted popular tattoos of 2008 in smaller versions on their wrists or ankles.
“Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins,”, Sailorjerry.com
Prince, Darlene, ” Tattoos Remain a Popular Trend,” Crescent-News.com
“Three in Ten Americans with a Tattoo Say Having One Makes Them Feel Sexier,” Harris Poll Online