Art Imitates Life?

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Apr 7, 2011

by Lianne Castelino,

Several years ago, while catching some sun by the pool in the Dominican Republic, my husband and I made a curious discovery.   It came to our attention, almost simultaneously that we were different from almost everyone at that bustling resort.  How?  We hadn’t defaced our bodies.  No designs, no artwork, no full-fledged murals.  No tattoos.
Such nerds are we?!!

This topic disturbs and fascinates me all at the same time.  The number of people — young and old — who have chosen to sacrifice blood, undergo pain and otherwise relinquish clean skin real estate for the sake of a a tattoo simply amazes me.

There are the understated small tattoos strategically crafted on hidden parts of the body — usually intensely personal in significance.  And then there are the all-out, full-arm or half-neck variety that cannot be good in job interviews among other places.

I admit that if one of my children was ever delusional enough to come home with a tattoo or ask for one, I would want my parental license stripped from me immediately.  Why on earth?  What did we do wrong?  My self-analysis would likely start with one of these two thoughts.

A good friend of mine with two sons, now in their late 20’s and early 30’s told me about the day his son came home with two full-arm tattoos.  This friend is a progressive thinker, far from anal.  He had to be supported to prevent from keeling over.  He recounted how disappointed he was with his son and told him as much.  But it was too late.

As it turned out, that son was looking for a job shortly thereafter and had a lot of trouble finding one.  He ended up regretting his design decision and began working on having the tattoos erased.  All I could think about is how much blood was involved in that whole transaction.

A more well-known story is that of Texas Rangers star Josh Hamilton, whose lived a few lives during his 30 years on this planet.  During a dark period that included an addiction to crack cocaine and alcohol – Hamilton used to hang around a tattoo parlour.  He ended up getting a series of large, dark, highly visible tattoos — 26 in total.  Since cleaning up his act, and returning to the game to earn MVP and home run king honours a few seasons ago, Hamilton has gone to great lengths to hide the memories of his ugly past — except they are emblazoned on his arms and neck.  Thank goodness for long sleeves and turtle-necks.

I just want to understand why?  I guess I never will.

I love art.  Drawing and painting are among my favorite hobbies.  But I prefer canvas, thank you.

If it becomes an issue in our house, I will defer to my husband, while I go pass out in another room.  I feel so strongly about it, I wouldn’t react rationally.

It’s just that they are so darn permanent, when most other things in life really aren’t.

By the way, please don’t get me started on piercings.

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