Contemporary Tattoos

During the latter part of the twentieth century, tattoos were primarily utilized by microcultures, such as motorcycle gangs, street gangs, and punks. In the twenty-first century, tattoos have gained popularity in Western culture and become commonplace and even fashion statements.

At the same time, some microcultures, such as the Modern Primitives, have sought alternative and perhaps more extreme tattooing methods and designs. Often these methods and designs have been borrowed from anthropological texts about ancient cultures and related tattooing practices. There are tattoo practitioners who specialize in "tribal tattoos" and "primitive technologies." "Tribal tattoos" are typically heavy black ink and focus on designs that resemble Polynesian designs, ancient Celtic knotwork, or archaic languages. "Primitive technologies" include a wide variety of manual tattoo application methods, such as sharpened bones and ink; bone combs, hammer and ink; and tatau sticks and soot-based ink. These methods require lengthy tattooing sessions even for the smallest tattoos.

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