Tattoos and Their Relationship With Music

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

Self-expression comes in many forms. Some are seen through custom tattoo designs, a common form of art. Back in the day, tattoos depicted a negative connotation in society and were stereotyped among people like drug addicts, crackheads who like screamo rock music, and felons.  However, people specifically in our area of Manchester, New Hampshire have recently opened their minds to viewing tattoos in a more positive light. Even doctors, nurses, and lawyers have them and consider it a form of self-articulation; not a factor for employment discrimination. Because of this enlightenment, inking the bodies of people and treating it like a blank canvas created another path for tattoo artists to showcase their work.

Custom body art and music experienced massive growth at the same time in and out of Manchester, New Hampshire. That's why the majority have also observed the apparent connection between musicians and tattoos. But society first saw the growth of tattoo culture before giving attention to the relationship between ink art and music. With the escalation of both art forms, people slowly began to demand music symbols like clefs, notes, rests, and musical instruments.

But what does a music symbol tattoo mean? It could convey a lot of notions. For example, a boy getting a G-clef as his first tattoo could represent the first instrument he ever played, or it could be an illustration of his excitement of finally entering the field of music. It could also mean that he just simply loves music so much that he decided to convey it by showing it off on his skin. Undoubtedly, it’s quite rare to find artists that do not have either music tattoo sleeves or even just simple musical notes printed on their flesh.

So why do musicians love tattoos?

Being a musician doesn’t necessarily mean expressing yourself solely through the use of notes and lyrics. An example that can point out the relationship between tattoos and music is the famous rapper/singer Post Malone, known not only for his banger music but also for the hand-made tattoo designs all over his body. For example, one of his tattoos is the “Johnny Cash Portrait”. He idolized Johnny Cash so much that he decided to get a portrait of him on his arm as a tribute. And aside from Cash, he also has portraits of artists like Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Kurt Kobain, Dimebag Darrel, Bankroll Fresh, George Harrison and Stevie Ray Vaughan on his knuckles.

But what makes him even more iconic today is his numerous face tattoos. He stated in an interview that the “Stay Away” tattoo above his eyebrow is simply a song lyric and a tribute to the Nirvana song that has the same title. He also said that it was a reminder to live in the moment.

As stated in this talk, you can see how important body ink is to musicians in expressing their sentiments. Post even confessed in an interview that “Without them, [I] wouldn’t be making music right now.” And this thought does not go for Post Malone only, but for other artists as well. There are a lot of other heavily tattooed musicians, but it would take us all day to enumerate them and the meanings of their custom tattoos.

It’s evident that a performer’s creative process isn’t limited to only creating global pop music for the ears, but they also want to represent their life through figures and symbols for the eyes. And as you can see, a lot of musicians today have figures embedded on them and it’s usually the lyrics of their self-composed song or a logo of the first band they idolized. You’re probably asking yourself why they incorporated these thoughts as emblems rather than words for their songs. Most likely it’s because it symbolizes an instance that may seem personal and isn’t meant for the whole world to hear.

Wearing a full arm sleeve tattoo as a musician is like wearing an album art; it could give the feeling of displaying the meaning of their own songs. It can also represent the circumstances they’ve gone through, their own deep thoughts, or it can be another outlet to apply their creative juice and own personal character.

Your favorite artist’s tattoo presumably took hours to be created because of its tedious work and intricate styles. And no doubt, it would cost a lot of bucks. Admittedly, tattooing is definitely not an easy job. It isn’t as simple as scribbling on a sketchpad, and then erasing it when a mistake is made. Be mindful that what the tattoo artist draws on is human skin which is why we have to be extra careful not to choose a design by impulse. It’s always best to look for an artist who is really skilled and has developed several techniques to properly execute ink art because it’s your skin that’s on the line. Having said this, let’s look briefly into some of these ink art approaches that musicians and locals here in New Hampshire love.

Freehand tattooing is one of the most complicated, yet most highly recognized techniques that were introduced by the tattoo industry. Usually, a tattoo artist copies a layout or sketch of a client’s design — for example, a famous rock n’ roll musician’s portrait — but to produce freehand tattoos, they draw it directly on the skin instead of transferring it using a stencil. Not using a stencil may seem like a big risk, but with a trusted artist,  your tattoo’s quality and your time won’t be compromised.

Another popular form of tattoo artwork that is trending now is the Biomech tattoo. This form of sketch shows imagery of robotic or mechanical parts that gives an illusion of a mechanical internal muscle which is also generally created as full sleeve tattoos for men. However, biomechanical art tattoos aren’t only limited to graphics of gears and machinery. So if you’re a musically-inclined customer, you can have a guitar fret as a design instead of a cyborg themed outline.

One more approach with this specific kind of body modification are monochromatic tattoos. We often see tattoos that are colorized, but one primary reason why monochromatic ones are pretty popular today is that it only uses one color, yet is already as aesthetically pleasing as the multicolored ones. Zayn Malik, an ex-member of the globally renowned band One Direction and now a solo artist is seen with several tattoos most of it only has one shade of color and it certainly looks pleasing.

There are still countless other styles that come with tattooing. In fact, you could sprinkle your own creative design and make your own customized outline for the artist to trace. Ink art is immensely popular here in Manchester and because of this, it would make it easier to look for tattoo shops near you. So if you’re looking for an artisan that can provide you with quality tattoo designs in Manchester, New Hampshire, then feel free to visit the best tattoo studio in town, NH Custom Tattoo. Our company has been in business since 1999 and is constantly improving our quality of work. Grab your phone and reach us at 603-833-3458. For additional information, you may browse through our website to learn more about the services we have to offer. Our skilled artists will guarantee you excellent output and will leave you satisfied.

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