I was recently tagged in a facebook post by a friend whose friend was looking for an artist, and was interested in becoming a tattooed model.
Tattooing and models are two of my favorite topics, and my job pretty much requires that I be able to talk for 3-5 hrs straight without repeating myself while making awesome art… so the response wound up becoming a a pretty lengthy post on tattooing and modeling that I’d like to share.
Pardon my ramble, but if you are interested please read! If you are interested in becoming a tattooed model, there are some thoughts, and if you are interested in tattooed models, well… there is some eye candy 🙂
Please feel free to share, and if you are one of the original contributors, please feel free to add to the discussion here, and let me know if you’d like to be tagged or quoted 🙂
Here is the (partially) edited-for-public version if you care to read; One of my rare #philosophical rants…
Thanks so much for the discussion 🙂
“I think I’d like to add the Modelling Career question by saying you want to get GOOD tattoos, as well as lot’s of them.
In this day and age, the body art industry is both demanding and receiving a bigger say in the outside world’s perceptions of it, and I can say for one that I know that many members of the body art industry are sick to death of tattooed model’s being more nude than tattooed.
While “tasteful” or tastefully tattooed for the appetite of the general public has helped to break the ground for us, and I definitely understand a magazine’s need to fill pages; but I have heard more than a few artists and tattooees alike complain that there are plenty of beautiful, heavily tattooed people that sport amazing body art rather than just… well you know.
I also suspect that as exposure increases, and criticism increases, the public will gain a more and more discerning eye and begin to pay closer attention to the actual artwork we are seeing on people.
Now, tattoos are for life, and while what is a passing trend in tattooing now might not be overshadowed by newer contributions and advances in art and technique in the future; similar to music, art, fashion, and most other aesthetics, what is hot yesterday might not be hot today and what is hot today might not be hot tomorrow. But these men and women who have pioneered and advanced the art deserve and have earned our respect!
Similar to how the simplicity of older tattoos have given way to the 3d effects, watercolor, art brut, special effects, and photo-realistic portraits of today; Everyone from the sideshow Carnie, the Tattooed Lady, all the way to the 1990’s has paved the way for the Suicide girl and the tattooed spokesmodel of today, and brought us the social acceptance that we enjoy today. More importantly, We still largely get our tattoos for US.
Model or not, you are a human being, and as an fan of my industry, you have my affection, appreciation, and respect as your artist, and I don’t think anyone has the right to judge you or your choices.
I support, embrace, and respect any person that promotes tattooing and lives their passion by dedicating significant portion of their skin and significant time, energy, investment, and a fair amount of physical discomfort to tattooing;
But, and this is aimed at the prospective tattooed model with the aim of getting into modelling and in the interest in my goal of giving them a competitive edge (To say thanks for reading my blog, why else?) and subsequently, to caution the potential would-be who might foolishly go out and get tattooed by whoever’s closest, cheapest, or quickest in order to further their career prospects, or just get recognition. (Whooooo is probably not reading this article… shit just shot that arguement in the foot. lol)
A model is a “model.” Our job is to showcase and exemplify the cutting edge of art and culture and amidst the cold, hard, world of modeling, you are in competition to do so.
Now, these are just hunches, but I’ve pretty much built my career, and helped a few others on my hunches having often to always predicted or matched major trends in fashion and comportment.)
I think being a tattooed model is no longer about just having a bunch of tattoos, people are actually looking AT these tattoos, instead of just the skin under and in between them, and more and more people (Sadly, still few, lol) can tell the difference between good and not-so good.
So, in a qualified echo of a sentiment repeated across every google, yahoo-answer, answer.com sophomoric newphyte search response for the thought process going into getting a tattoo: think, wait, plan, and research, and make good decisions! Especially if you’re going to be a model.
In 2009, I wrote a research paper on a similar topic; I surveyed a pretty large amount of people, across all walks of life, and the response was actually so overwhelmingly in favor of large, clear, neat, well placed tattoos conveying class and distinction, that it even surprised me.
Another thing that I have seen recently is that good tattoos are just as apt to get you modelling work as any tattoos are to limit it.
Off the top of my head I can think of a number of prime examples of tattooed models, some of whom I mention with preference because they are rather successful artists/owners/up-and-comings as well: Freyja Veda, Sara Fabel, L’ain Freefall, and Teya Salat, amongst my favorites, in respective order. (With one more bonus closeup of L’ain’s awesome blackwork)
Leading amongst Male Models, Rick Genest or “Rico The Zombie” (Also known as “the guy with the full body skeleton tattoo”) has become my patron saint of tattoo modeling-no-longer-being-a-sideshow-thing-in-the-main-stream-media by being fuckin badass and making waves as an upscale male model for major fashion brands. He just landed a major movie part opposite Keanu Reeves- even if it’s not major, you definitely wont forget him!
Of the un-named, there are two girls with picture frames on their backs (cant think of their names right now,) that have been haunting my tumbler for years, the “guy with the 21 on his face” along with any “bearded tattooed” pics you can google, (although I think he might’ve been a pretty damn decent (god damn bastard handsome ass… ) decent male model anyway, if you ask my girlfriend… :/ lol
There is the entire cadre of Suicide Girls whom, whilst the SG site has taken a turn from classy erotic art to more risque pics in recent years, still deserve mention for the niche they helped carve, and furthermore for the many careers in arts and modeling, that they have helped to launch and further.
There are others, such as Adrenalynn, who may diserve honorable mention, though I think she’s semi-disqualified in this category due to her “other activities,” for going the Tila Tequila route with it… lol. The list goes on, and I’m lazy.
I tend not to blast people on facebook due to my self-imposed client/artist privelege standards, but I have several clients along those lines as well, from suicide girls, to professional models, to performing artists, and on. If you scroll through my portfolio on the @fineartforbodies page or www.fineartforbodies.com you’ll see em!
I always try to design tattoos to make the person look like a character I would’ve designed for a game or movie, (I’m pretty sure I’d be with Todd McFarlane if I hadn’t started Fine Art For Bodies. True story.) and fierce and sexy are the building blocks of my brand, along with classy and distinguished. The pieces go over well, and usually get a LOT of second looks.
Sometimes the tattooing is what does get them gigs, sometimes it’s almost exclusively what get’s them gigs, as in they may have no other business modelling! Lol Just like any other modification that enhances your beauty, it can make or break you. But more likely make. lol
On the other hand, while being untattooed might help or hinder you in the beginning, if you are trying to make in impression, I am not sure to what extent it will matter if you become a major major model. All the above are examples where the quality of their tattoos as well as their contribution to their look have helped to launch them into semi-stardom, but there are plenty of examples of models becoming models DESPITE their tattoos as well: I am less well-versed in this list, nor is it necessarily the exact direction of this blog; but I just had a client become playboy playmate with a fist-sized tattoo on her tummy- they just airbrush it out, or cover it up.
Here you can see a video where they covered up Rico the Zombie’s entire body suit with makeup, and you can see how difficult it is to remove or smear. I loved this video, not only for the creativity of it but because they intelligently brought a great product to market which helps to remove yet one more fear of getting tattooed for would-be models 🙂
While there’s always a point to waiting and getting a great tattoo, we can never deny the roots of the entire industry, as well as the ongoing culture of tattooing being fast, cheap, and spontaneous. It is good to have choices 🙂
Despite all that I have said above, I stress, and I stress again, that I would definitely NOT advise someone to get tattooed or any other body modification to enhance or further their career, and even less so to start it.
A career is a career, and it you can succeed or fail. Tattoos are for life, and succeed or fail, they will not ever be any less there, or any less a reminder of why you got tattooed then when you got them.
You make a career out of your passion, dedication, and ongoing hard work; it will never be handed to you (no, not even modelling, no not even if you’re cute. lol)
Similarly, you get tattooed because you are passionate about it, (Whether for a moment’s action or for months or years of pondering,) because you’ve researched it, fully understand and are comfortable with the risks, drawbacks, long-term expectations, and the rewards.
P.S: (also from facebook… )So those are my little two cent’s on the tattooing and modeling question. Of course there are the necessary disclaimers: Fine Art For Bodies: Tattoos by Tariq Sabur in no way guarantees that it will make you a model, or that tattoos will not ruin your career, modeling or otherwise; Natural flavors, 100% juice, no preservatives, may contain nitrates, do not take more than 2 tablets in 24 hour period, but fuck it. May cause dizziness, drowsiness, euphoria, boosted ego, inflated sense of self, and increased sex appeal or enhanced libido. Have been known to increase the occurrence of annoying bar conversations by the untattooed and superficial adherence of members of the opposite sex. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of your tattoos, and if being tattooed causes your or your partner’s erection to persist for longer than 4 hours, please call a doctor of the preferred gender and brag or invite them as is appropriate. lol
PSS- these images are STOLEN. MWAHAHAHHAHA…. I took some care to cite the original source where possible, others are from public domain like Pinterest, tumblr, or general web search, and “may be subject to copyright”, so if they are yours and you’d like me to take them down please feel free to tell me so. Don’t sue me; I’ m poor, but this is a blog, not a commercial post, and I dont sell shit on this site soooo… fuck it. lol 😉
PSSS Since I mentioned it so many times here, If you feel like tracking me down on facebook, please go to the facebook.com/fineartforbodies page. If you do hit me up under tariq sabur, make sure you send me a msg, if you’d like to connect, friend requests can become overwhelming and I only bother with blank ones during random fits of boredom and nonexistant free time. lol 🙂