..the new frontier in human expression
Tattoo tourism is the act of taking a piece of art home on you as you travel the world’s great destinations. Art and travel go hand In hand. Local galleries can capture the history and creative culture of a destination.
Why would you go on a holiday to bring back a little souvenir that you will lose and forget about, when you can bring back a piece of art with its own truly unique story and memory attached to it. It will last a lifetime and be a constant reminder of the unforgettable adventures you had, amazing people you met, and incredible places you went.
Down the track these tattoos serve as a reminder, teleporting you back to a memory of where you were and what was happening in your life when you got inked.
Tattoo tourism began to increase in destinations like Thailand, Japan, Hawaii, New Zealand and Samoa decades ago. But in more recent times Thailand has become home to more tattoo tourists than any other country in the world.
In South East Asia, tattoos became widely recognized through the popularisation and westernisation of things like Muay Thai in the 90’s (Thailand’s national fighting sport) and Angelina Jolie getting a Sak Yant in a Buddhist temple more recently.
Sak Yant tattoos are hand-etched onto the skin using ancient geometric designs mixed with Buddhist prayers. They are believed to give the wearer magic powers associated with healing, luck and protection against evil. In this notion, people from all over the world are finding their way to Buddhist temples in Thailand to proudly take home one of these beautiful spiritual tattoos.
As the years go on and the level of detail that can be achieved in tattoos increases, people are now travelling not only interstate, but to other countries to get a famous tattooists masterpiece on their body forever. Price being no factor.
Famous artists have been raised to celebrity status in the industry, with appointments booked years in advance. The only opportunity for the inpatient are cancellations advertised on Instagram.
Imagine going on a holiday and creating these unforgettable memories, then spending the last day getting tattooed by one of the best artists in that country. Imagine being able to come home and be the only person wearing a tattoo from that artist, with a unique style that has been influenced by the culture and art of that country.
My left arm sleeve is a constant reminder of my first “tattoo tourist” experience and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my life. Many Australian tattooists have since asked me who created it , as it is a style very foreign to anything seen here. It’s a story of my adventure that has been stimulating conversations for me for years.