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Traditional Tattoos: A History of Art and Culture

Traditional tattoos, also known as “old school tattoos,” are one of the most popular and recognized tattoo styles in the industry. With a rich history dating back to the early 20th century, these tattoos have evolved over the decades to become a symbol of rebellion, identity and style.

In the early 20th century, tattoos became a popular form of body art among sailors, soldiers and criminals. Often, these tattoos served as a way to mark the wearer’s identity and show affiliation with a specific group or cause.

In the 1920s, tattoo artist Norman Collins, also known as “Sailor Jerry,” became one of the pioneers of the traditional tattoo style in Hawaii. Collins created iconic designs such as the eagle, heart and rose, which remain popular among tattoo artists and tattoo lovers to this day.

Traditional tattoos are characterized by thick black lines and bright colors, such as red, green, yellow and blue. Designs often include nautical motifs such as anchors, sharks and mermaids, as well as symbols such as the heart, rose and eagles.

These have symbolic and personal meaning to the wearer, and are often used to show group affiliation or to commemorate an important event. For example, many sailors would tattoo an anchor to symbolize their love of the sea and their connection to life on the high seas.

Traditional tattoos have been popular for decades, and many celebrities have opted for this style of tattoo as part of their public image. For example, singer and actor Justin Timberlake has a traditional tattoo of a feather on his hip, while boxer Mike Tyson has a traditional tattoo of a tiger on the left side of his head.

Other celebrities who have opted for traditional tattoos include actress Drew Barrymore, singer Ed Sheeran and actor Ryan Gosling.

Traditional tattoos are an art form and culture that has withstood the test of time. From humble beginnings in the 1920s, this style of tattooing has evolved and adapted over the decades to become an iconic symbol of rebellion, style and affiliation. With their thick black lines and bright colors, traditional tattoos continue to be popular with tattoo artists and tattoo lovers alike.