Kloie Picot

Photographer/ Videographer

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Tattoo, Pain-Pleasure, Body-Art

In China there were a few ethnic minority groups that used tattooing as a normal part of coming-of-age rituals, or simply because it was considered beautiful. The majority of Chinese, though, the Han, used tattooing as a punishment for criminals, and a way to easily identify them later. Coupled with the Confucian saying: “Our bodies, to every hair and bit of skin, are received by us from our parents, and we must not presume to injure or wound them. This is the beginning of filial piety,” it's easy to see why Chinese culture has long been vehemently against tattoos and piercing.

This form of permanent body art entered western culture in 1769 when explorer Capt. James Cook traveled to Tahiti and saw their tattoos. He brought the concept to Britain, where it became especially popular with soldiers and sailors.

It is believed that Cook coined the word “tattoo” from the sound the hammer made when hitting the needle used to cut the skin in Tahitian tattooing.

In modern Taiwan the stigma that only criminal fraternities are tattooed is still common, but there are many who are trying to change that view. Last year at the Taiwanese Tattoo Convention in the Xinyi district, outside New York New York department store a gathering of local tattoo artists offered their services to anyone who wanted to be inked. Many of these “local artists” were masters and had quite the following. What I saw was amazing true art, body art, mythological gods and demons expertly inked on the human canvass. Tsai Jong-da one of the organizers of the event says, “it is no longer those on the fringe who are being tattooed.”

Watching the faces of those getting inked I witnessed a sort of masochistic pain pleasure thing going on. I do not pretend to know much about Tattooing except it is a permanent reflection of ones own character, ones fantasy. It may be a statement that you want a change, something permanent to identify yourself with or be identified by. Choosing a tattoo is serious business.

You are going to be marked forever, and if you decide to change later or get someone who screws up... well good luck! For me I am still trying to decide what to do with the Olive I have inked on me?