Tattoos, love them or hate them, they are here to stick around. Tattooing is actually an ancient art that dates back to Neolithic times. One of the earliest tattooed individuals found so far was one Oetzi the Iceman, dating from the fourth or fifth millennium BC in the Alps; he had 57 tattoos on his lower spine and ankles. Many Egyptian mummies bear tattoos. In Japan, the word irezumi means the insertion of ink; the Japanese art of tattooing is thought to go back to the Paleolithic era, some ten thousand years ago.
The word tattoo comes from the Samoan word tatau, which means open wound. Today you can watch tattoo artists do their work courtesy of satellite TV. These high definition programs allow you to see all the fine details that make up a tat.
Miami Ink: This reality TV show which airs on TLC (check your local satellite TV listings for airtimes) follows the travails of the tattoo artists at Love Hate, a tattoo parlor in Miami. The shop is owned by Ami James and Chris Nunez. Other artists featured on the show are Chris Garver, Darren Brass, and Yoji Harada. We watch as customers come in and get tattooed. They explain their motivations for getting a tattoo, along with the reason behind their choice of design. All walks of life come in to the Miami ink store-you’ve got old sports stars, midgets, mothers and daughters, lovers, best friends forever, and fellow tattoo artists. The HD detail of the show lets you see just how skilled the folks at Love and Hate really are. Celebrities who have appeared on the show include Bam Margera, Anthony Bourdain, Chris Jacobs, Gianna lynn, Craig Ferguson, and Ivy Supersonic among others.
LA Ink: This show is actually a spin-off of Miami Ink. Airing on TLC, LA Ink follows the lives of Kat Von D and crew at High Voltage Tattoo in Los Angeles. Kat use to work with Miami Ink’s Ami James, but left the shop and the show after the two had a falling out. Other tattoo artists working for Kat include Corey Miller, Hannah Aitchison and Kim Saigh. Again, as with Miami Ink, we see the back-stories and motivations of the customers who come in to get tattooed. The show also explores the personal lives of the tattoo artists themselves, with special focus on female empowerment within a male dominated industry-the artists who work on LA Ink are all female. Celebrities who have appeared on this show include: Eric Balfour, Eve, Jesse Metcalfe, Jenna Jameson, Sebastian Bach and Ja Rule.
Inked: Inked was a documentary series about the employees at Hart and Huntington Tattoo Company in Las Vegas. The show was broadcast on A&E in 2005. The company was the first of its kind to operate within a casino. Inked follows owner Hart as he has to deal with his impetuous staff and the glitzy world of Las Vegas. Watch as he struggles to take his shop to the next level.