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Vintage Tattoos

Updated on November 14, 2014

Vintage Tattoo Design

Each of my three sons have had tattoos. The eldest because...well, he just likes tattoos. The middle son has the names of each his daughters tattoed. The youngest because each has a special meaning for him.

As they brought home pictures of the designs they were contemplating having done, I was struck by what I perceived as the complexity of them and their design. In my younger days I seemed to remember that tattoos were somehow simpler, less complex, less fussy and often based around designs of anchors and swallows....I decided to check this out and take a look at vintage tattoo design.

These are some of my favourite vintage tattoos.


Vintage Tattoo selection
Vintage Tattoo selection

There was a time when wearing a tattoo was frowned upon. Over the years this attitude has changed significantly. Today, they are often seen as something of a fashion statement, with celebrities wearing them and even television series devoted to tattoo artists for example Miami Ink.

I remember tattoos looking like these examples. bold outlines, usually in black or blue with relatively few colours, predominately red, green and black and often on a simple theme. Today these designs are referred to as vintage, old school or Western style tattoos.

Old School Tattoo Designs

Old School Tattoo Designs
Old School Tattoo Designs

Vintage Tattoos

This Youtube video has an amazing selection of vintage tattoo's - I hope that you enjoy watching.

Tattoo Machines
Tattoo Machines

Why such a classic style?

So why are vintage or classic tattoos popularly considered as being big and bold?

This is probably due to the fact that going back to the 1940's to 1950's, the tattoo machines and inks used were not that advanced. By using bold lines and large images, the tattoo artists of yesteryear could ensure their tattoo's could wear well over the years.

picture sourced from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Vintage Tattoos
Vintage Tattoos

I think that these vintage tattoos have a timeless appeal. They are easily recognisable and have a charm all of their own. In many ways it has been said that sailors or mariners were trend setters or pioneers of the art of tattooing. My dearly departed father-in-law was a sailor and he sported several tattoos that were somewhat typical of this - Popeye, and an anchor being some of his favourites.

 

Do you have a tattoo?

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Retro Heart Tattoo
Retro Heart Tattoo

Retro Heart

Hearts have come to symbolize togetherness and love. But depending upon how a heart tattoo is displayed it can have many different meanings. For example a heart with a dagger or sword can mean betrayal or even courage in the face of adversity.

I hope that you have enjoyed your visit.

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    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 3 years ago

      The old tattoos always remind me of my WWII great-uncles...

    • Ben Reed profile image
      Author

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      @renewedfaith2day: Vintage designs - somehow timeless I think.

    • renewedfaith2day profile image

      renewedfaith2day 4 years ago

      I like the old school designs.

    • Ben Reed profile image
      Author

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      @TonfaGuy: I thinks vintage tattoos are a timeless classic.

    • TonfaGuy profile image

      TonfaGuy 4 years ago

      love these oldies....

    • KandDMarketing profile image

      KandDMarketing 5 years ago

      Nice lens! I like the old school stuff ... well, so I'm kinda "old" school as well ;)

    • Ben Reed profile image
      Author

      Ben Reed 5 years ago

      @SquidooPower: Hadn't thought of that - why do people get them on their backs? It must be for the benefit of others...

    • SquidooPower profile image

      SquidooPower 5 years ago

      I've always thought about getting a tattoo but then i worry that I will get sick of it and be stuck with it. Maybe that's why people get them on their backs? ;P

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      A delightfully sweet presentation on vintage tattoos....these are the ones that I saw while growing up too and have always enjoyed body art...on other people.

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 5 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I did enjoy my visit and find these vintage tattoos very appealing.