“Tattoos generally function as psychic armor. Often a marker of a state of mind or events, meaning is accrued with time; the bearer explains the mark’s significance and the story of how and where it was acquired. Much of the symbolism or meaning cannot be articulated and is private to the wearer, as is any artwork to its creator or collector…In the end, the tattoo functions as a social barometer, revealing far more about the viewer than the person wearing it. Ultimately no one else’s business, the projections, intrusions, judgements, or appreciations it triggers are indications of the viewer’s perceptions and received social notions. Tattooing will continue to provide rich fodder for the dissecting tables of academia, but at core its power defies absolute classification. At best, it fulfills the enduring role of all art: to emphatically affirm the irrational and to celebrate life itself.”
Hardy, D.E. (1995) Tattooing as a Medium New York, NY: The Drawing Center, New York and Hardy Marks.