Getting a tattoo was once a lifelong commitment with no real recourse. Today, though still costly and uncomfortable, tattoo removal technology is allowing many people who regret past ink to erase their mistakes and start over. 


In a New York Times article from 2007 (Erasing Tattoos, Out of Regret or For a New Canvas), James Morel, the CEO of Dr. Tattoff, a specialty tattoo removal center in California stated that the vast majority of their clients are women, ages 25-35. He puzzled over the reason for this, whether it was because many more women are getting tattooed these days or if more women end up regretting getting inked. 



That same article talks about Freedom-2, which was touted as a technological advancement in removable tattoo ink. This "ink" is actually made up of polymer beads of color that are deposited in the dermis, and are easily broken up by laser treatment, whereupon the dye, made of natural ingredients, absorbs into the skin, erasing the tattoo faster and easier than with traditional ink. A search for Freedom-2, however, makes it seem that it has not caught on as much as its makers hoped. Some artists feel it doesn't work as well as regular ink, aesthetically speaking, and the general consensus in the tattoo world seems to be that if you want a tattoo, you shouldn't get it if you don't want it to be permanent. Consulting with a trusted, experienced tattoo artist will help you decide what's right for you when considering a tattoo. 


Next week, we'll continue our look at tattoo removal. Meanwhile, check out our Tattoo Removal page for more info. 





Robert Drake is a professional freelance writer, editor, copywriter and blogger. To learn more about this fascinating fellow, visit his website.


Is it possible to love a company too much? Probably not, if you ask anyone who's gotten a corporate logo permanently tattooed onto their bodies. 


Last week we covered people who offer to get tattooed for money. In most cases, people who get corporate logo tattoos are not being compensated. Often, the motivation is simply a way to identify with a brand they love. When you look at companies like Apple and Harley Davidson, the motivation is easier to see. Certain brands are identified with more than just a product line – they represent a lifestyle, an attitude and a connection to a particular subculture in society. 



What is more of a head-scratcher is when people get tattoos with less iconic brands. Tattoos, though more mainstream than ever, are still identified with being edgy, rebellious, and non-conformist, while major corporations are seen as the polar opposite. A corporate logo tattoo then, would seem to be the ultimate contradiction. 



One answer may lie in the internet. No matter what you are into, there are now message boards, websites, meetups and more all dedicated to it. When you search and connect enough, it's easy to feel like a part of a community built around your favorite subject, activity or product. Being "into" something becomes identity, and in turn increases passion for what brought the group together. 



In the end, it's your body, and your choice. If you really, really love Walmart, and want to share it with the world, why shouldn't you? If tattoos are meant to be a form of personal expression, how can anyone place limits upon what others do with that freedom? So, who's up for a Big Mac? 





Robert Drake is a professional freelance writer, editor, copywriter and blogger. To learn more about this fascinating fellow, visit his website.


With the presidential election right around the corner, advertising space is a hot commodity. With the airwaves saturated with ads, and billboards and lawns plastered with signs, where else can we turn for space to share our support?  Maybe human bodies?


That was the thinking of one entrepreneurial Romney supporter who took advantage of an eBay listing by professional wrestler Eric Hartsburg to get a Romney "R" tattooed on Hartsburg's head for a winning bid of $15,000. While the buyer chose to remain anonymous, Hartsburg admits that the listing began as a publicity stunt, but that he's happy to sport this new, permanent ad of sorts, as he is a Romney supporter and believes in his message.


Hartsburg's story reveals a broader trend of people offering parts of their bodies for either temporary or permanent tattoo space. Whether for attention, profit, charity or who knows what reason, certain people are choosing to let the market dictate their body art.


The most famous recent example of this was that of Tina Beznec of New Zealand who auctioned off space on her backside to the highest bidder, donating 20% to charity and using the rest to get herself out of debt. Beznec's stunt apparently created a wave of imitators, as others attempted to get in on the body art auction market.


As for Hartsburg, next Tuesday's election will either leave him with a highly relevant tattoo for the next four to eight years or a pretty instantly outdated one, should Romney fail to capture the presidency.   




Robert Drake is a professional freelance writer, editor, copywriter and blogger. To learn more about this fascinating fellow, visit his website.


Last week we covered traditional Native American tattoo designs, and the trend of Native people looking to connect to their roots. It's possible for a non-native to get one of these tattoos also, though it would be wise to go to an artist specifically trained in and educated about tribal symbols. You wouldn't want to get a tattoo with the wrong meaning, representing a tribe you didn't intend or even in a location not meant for your gender.

Another option for those who want to honor the Native legacy in our country or for whom Native Americans have a special, symbolic meaning may want to play it safe with a modern design instead.



Totem animal symbols are an example of non-traditional tattoo that many might find appealing. Animals have specific meanings in Native cultures and come into our lives to deliver messages or share their power with us. If you see a particular animal comes across your path in a significant way in life or even in your dreams, that animal may be a spirit guide for you. You can also look up Native American Astrology to see what animal sign you were born under too. 



Dream catchers are another symbol of Native culture that are popular, both as decorations and tattoos. In this one, we also have a Native American morphed with a wolf placed in the middle, another way of representing the Native belief that humans can take on the power of animal spirits to help and guide them in life.  



Many people also choose realistic representations of Native chiefs or warriors for tattoo designs. While none of these would have appeared on the bodies of actual Native peoples in past history, they are a way of representing a love of Native culture in a more personal, individual way, using whatever symbolism is most appealing to you. 





Robert Drake is a professional freelance writer, editor, copywriter and blogger. To learn more about this fascinating fellow, visit his website.



Let's stay out west, shall  we? We covered cowboys, but what about Indians? Native American tattoos are a popular design choice too. There is a difference, however, between a traditional Native American tattoo that one's ancestors may have worn and one that is simply in a Native motif. Today we'll look at the trend of traditional ink:


Who gets a Native American tattoo? The popularity of Native tattoo art is growing among young people who share tribal heritage, as they seek to reclaim and reconnect with their family lineage. 

Many Native tribes had tattoo traditions. Bearers of a tattoo were believed to have acquired great power from it. The symbols and placements of these marks vary widely among native cultures. Because of that, any young person who is seeking a specific cultural symbol should make extra certain that their knowledge of their family history is accurate. Many families have lost the specifics of their tribal affiliations and the information you get may not be 100% accurate. It would actually hurt your chances of reconnecting with your ancestral tribe to accidentally get a tattoo of a different people or possibly one in the wrong location according to tradition.






Robert Drake is a professional freelance writer, editor, copywriter and blogger. To learn more about this fascinating fellow, visit his website.



We've been down south checking out cowboy themed tattoos, but if there's one thing a cowpoke needs it's more territory to roam, so we're going to look beyond the hombres in the the gallon hats to look at those inspired by the whole wild west iconography.


When you look beyond cowboys, there are many other symbols powerfully connected with the wild west that capture the same free-living, untamed spirit that still rings true for people today.



You have the concept of the outlaw who is simultaneously a hero and villain in many cases. The outlaw breaks the rules but many times does so for a noble or relatable cause. When outlaws have nothing but greed, revenge or corruption in their souls, however, they are the enemies who must be defeated. How many of us feel that same paradox within ourselves?


A shootout is as western as it gets. It's the crucible, the moment a story is at it's highest, most dramatic moment, the ultimate showdown between right and wrong, where there is no escape, no way around it. What is the superior path to take, good or evil? The shootout will prove which is stronger in the end.

A little naughty, a little sexy? Of course, the west was a dangerous, untamed place! Don't forget the symbolic connection between guns and sex. When you have cowboys, outlaws, corrupt sheriffs and other men who live life on the edge, making their own rules, temptation is just part of the game. There is and always will be a deep relationship between sex and the old west – both are exciting, free, untamed and primal.


Death. It lurks just below the surface at all times for those living on the frontier. When the lawless are often stronger than the law, it's every man, woman and child for  themselves. Humankind reduced to it's most basic essence lies at the core of the western motif – survival, adventure, temptation, risk, competition and mortality. For those who feel most at home outside your four walls, who refuse to live a life of quiet desperation, maybe a western-themed tattoo is for you?    

Last week, we talked about the deep longing and nostalgia connected with cowboy imagery. This week, we'll look at another reason people choose to express themselves with this kind of tattoo – the rip-roaring, hard partying and sexy side of the cowboy way of life!



Girls, girls, girls! Imagine a Texas bar, mid-summer. Music on the jukebox. Beer flowing. Girls sitting in tight jean shorts and boots while the boys lean into the bar, chatting them up. A couple of new lovers swaying languidly in the corner, lost in each other's eyes. A new song kicks in – a rowdy, boot stomping number and the place explodes with life. The guys grab the girls and hit the floor. There's dancing on the bar. A fist fight breaks out over who gets to dance with Sally and there's hoops and hollers as the night spins crazily ahead into gleeful madness! Yes, there is indeed an exciting, sexy side to the cowboy life, and you can't deny the appeal of the All-American, fun-loving cowgirl or the strong, dark and handsome cowboy.



There's a connection between the wild, fun side of Cowboy culture and the deeper, nostalgic side. At its core, both are about a life of freedom, having an untamed quality, and living on your own terms, rules and morals be damned! Whether sleeping out under the stars and riding over endless, windswept plains or drinking, dancing, fighting and shacking up, a sense of being in touch with the inner rebel that lives in all of us is something that draws people to the cowboy way of life. Another sign of the inner rebel is, of course, tattoos! It's a natural match made in heaven, a heaven that looks like open skies and painted sunsets for those who want to express this in themselves.







Cowboy by Shane O'Neill


Let's sidle on out west, y'all, and take a gander at what the folks of the cattle rustlin' persuasion are gettin' inked on their hides! Cowboy culture has a deep love affair with its ink, though people in general are much more likely to think of bikers, metalheads and numerous other groups first when considering who is most likely to get tattooed.



Interestingly, the American cowboy is a world-wide legend, capturing the imaginations of people everywhere. American country music is wildly popular outside of the US, and experts believe that it is because of the universal themes it expresses. Much of country music is about a longing for a simple, free life that is disappearing with the advance of modern technology and urban expansion. People in all countries have felt this same shift in their own cultures at some time, and country music captures their sentiments perfectly.


Just turn me loose, let me straddle my own saddle

Underneath the western skies

On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder

Till I see the mountains rise

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences

Gaze at the moon till I lose my senses

I can't look at hovels and I can't stand fences

Don't fence me in



It's a simple song, one that people might consider cliché, but if you really take in the words, you can feel that heartfelt longing for freedom, for a connection with nature, for a world that is slipping away. It's no wonder that people ink themselves in the cowboy motif. It's not just about horses and 10 gallon hats; It's about a way of life that hits us at the core of our souls, no matter where we're from.  



So, we've covered Democrat and Republican tattoos. But what about those on the outer fringe of politics, those who support 3rd party candidates and issues absent from the two party platform? Well, they make sure to get their voices heard however they can, and sporting tattoos that symbolize their causes is one of their primary methods.


1. Marijuana Legalization

Here is a cause that has gained political traction lately, especially on the state level. Though we are yet to have a mainstream presidential candidate who officially supports legalization, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has made it a core issue in his campaign for 2012.


2. Anarchists

Wait, an Anarchist presidential candidate? Sounds absurd, but you could always vote for Vermin Supreme, who's campaigns for president and other political offices are built on the foundation of mocking the political system. If you're looking for an alternative candidate to support, Vermin's 2012 bid is centered around a platform of "zombie apocalypse awareness, time travel research and a free pony for every American" according to Wikipedia. Finally, issues we can all get behind!


3. Communists 

Ok, so we haven't had a US Communist Party candidate since Angela Davis in 1980, but the party ideals still ring true for some people out there, and the old hammer and sickle is still being inked onto modern-day followers of the Communist platform today.


4. Libertarian

What you're looking at is an ancient Sumerian word meaning "freedom," which has been adopted as a symbol by the Libertarian Party. Apparently, this is the first known mention of "freedom" in recorded history.


5. Good Old Ralph

The longstanding champion of 3rd Party politics, Ralph Nader is a hero to some, a quack to others, and unknown still to many, despite several runs at the presidency.  



Because this isn't a FOX News blog, we give equal time to both parties here at Tattoo Lou's. Yes, Democrats enjoy showing off their allegiance to the Left just as much as Republicans like bringing a bit of rock and roll to the Right!

5. Legos Kick Ass!

Perhaps that's the message here? Regardless, President Obama would be foolish to ignore the Legoland vote this year, a key demographic, according to this design.


4. What's So Funny?

Obama himself has been immortalized countless times over. This design seeks to capture the human side of a president who actually has been doing a better job loosening up in public than most candidates as he seeks his second term. White House Beer anyone? But who's that dude behind him?? Doesn't look like he gets the joke, but Barack doesn't care. He's having a grand old time!


3. Good Ol' Bill

Many people remember the Clinton years fondly. The booming economy, the saxophone solos, the…word that sort of rhymes with sax…yes, those were heady times, and in this tattoo it seems Bill is reminiscing about the 90's himself. "Can you believe I did THAT in the White House?! Oh, those were the days…" Party on Dems, party on Bill.


2. Kennedy Honors

The original White House party boy turned tragic hero, it's not surprising to find President Kennedy adorning the bodies of the party faithful, or at least a conspiracy theorist or two.


1. Welcome Back(side) Carter

Oh dear. Looks like Jimmy Carter rivals Reagan as a choice for a cheeky tattoo. No word on how he feels about his face being recorded for posterior posterity like this. And that's enough political tattoos and horrific puns for this week….

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