EVEN THOUGH BODY MODIFICATION AND DECORATION IS AS OLD AS TIME, THE FIRST TIME THE WORD TATTOO APPEARED IN WRITING WAS QUITE RECENT. IT WAS JOSEPH BANKS, A NATURALIST ABOARD CAPTAIN JAMES COOK’S SHIP THE HMS ENDEAVOUR WHO USED THE WORD TATAU IN HIS JOURNAL TO DESCRIBE THE WAY LOCALS MARKED THEMSELVES INDELIBLY. THE HMS ENDEAVOUR EXPLORED THE PACIFIC TERRITORIES AND WENT TO AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND AS FAR AS TAHITI. INDEED IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE ART OF SCARRING, PAINTING AND STAINING THE SKIN ORIGINATES FROM THIS POLYNESIAN ISLE. THOUGH BROUGHT TO THE WESTERN WORLD BY CAPTAIN COOK, IT IS DUE TO MANY SAILORS WHO TRAVELLED THE SEVEN SEAS THAT THE ART OF TATTOO BECAME WILDLY KNOWN AND POPULAR FOR MANY DIFFERENT REASONS.
All through history, human beings have used the techniques to ink their skin for different reasons. In the beginning tattoos were placed as ceremonial signs, rites of passage to give one a certain position within its tribe or to scare away preditors and enemies. In later times, tattoo’s were also applied for very different reasons. Farmers used it, and still do, to mark their cattle. More horrid was the usage in the W.O II, when the Holocaust victims were all marked by inked numbers. It is this practise in particular, the forced tattoo as an identification system, that has shed such a dark shadow on the ancient art of body decoration.
Over the past decennia starting in the 1970’s, tattoo’s have gained in popularity again. Often referred to as ink, pieces, tats or tattoo art, tattoo’s have become extremely mainstream in Western fashion for both sexes, to all economic classes and to age groups from later teenage to middle age. Though the patterns and illustrations have changed, and are changing faster under influence of fashion trends, the purpose of tats has remained pretty much the same. Though not so much to scare enemies, although for certain gangs this is still the case, tattoos are a means of expression and identification.
Cover man Andrew England is 25 and origins from Northampton, United Kingdom. Here he grew up and was trained as an electrician. For the last 10 years he has been working already in this profession. Andrew – obviously – likes physical work and that sparked (no pun intended) his interest in the gym. In getting fit and aesthetic. For the past 3 years, Andrew has been training and is now hoard on his way to break into the industry and achieve a pro status within the next 2 years. Through body building competitions. But Andrew’s massive muscles are not the only thing that make him such an outstanding personality. Like many other guys that move in his circles, models such as Dany Pearce, Jason McKenzie, Danny Hixon and Ant Hill, Andrew is also heavily tattoed. Asked about tats, Andrew says: “I started being interested in ink when I was 16. I had my first tattoo on my chest. It was a cross and was only the beginning of what was to come. I had a few more tribal applied before I chose a split theme. I was raised in a family with a catholic background, which is the theme to one of my sleeves. The second sleeve has a Japanese theme, but what links the two themes together is an underlying love of the dark side: skulls and dragons etc.” Andrew is an up an coming male model. Both in England and international territory he enjoys great interest from both photographers, as agencies and potential clients. His strong masculine looks and music-ular physics make hism the perfect fitness model. But what about his tattoo’s? Andrew: “Although my tattoos do hide some of my muscle definition I believe its what makes me unique and I’m always thinking of how I can add to my ink work.”
Love them or hate them, tattoos are here to stay. Or rather they’re to stay. Simon Barnes, the man behind the celebrated photography brand Hotsnapz is no stranger to tattooed models. When asked about the trend of tats on models he says: “Five years ago no self -respecting fashion or fitness model would have had them and even now in fitness competitions marks can be lost if they hide definition. But generally now they are everywhere. Also due to many celebrities who have ink. David Beckham was among those to make them mainstream. He certainly was in the forefront of making them acceptable and certainly very early to show a full sleeve in a commercial campaign, but it didn’t take long before both male and female models were sporting them. Personally I find that some sleeves are difficult to photograph where the whole arm can appear like a bruise, but generally I think they really add a new dimension to a shot.”-BM-
SIMON BARNES | BEAUTIFULMAG
ANDREW ENGLAND | BEAUTIFULMAG