Betty Boop With a Dildo? The Images All Come From Within You

| August 23, 2000

Betty Boop With a Dildo? The Images All Come From Within You, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, The Art Newspaper
Are tattoos just an external manifestation of urges and identities that exist within our bodies and minds? Several writers argue this in Written on the Body: the tattoo in European and American history, edited by Jane Caplan, a recent compilation of many of the current and historical ideas about the meaning of the tattoo. As Chinchilla, a modern tattooist argues, 'everything I ink on people is already inside them... I only open up the skin and let it out, succubus, cherub, bike, snake, Betty Boop with a dildo.' (What does this say about tattoos that are removed, one wonders!) In his review of the book in The Art Newspaper, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst notes the fascinating paradox of the tattoo. 'Because the tattooist inserts an indelible ink up to 0.5cm into the dermis,' he writes, 'the resulting tattoo appears to be simultaneously on and under the skin, a decoration of the body's surface and a penetration of its depths, a form of self-expression and self-concealment.' -- Amanda Luker
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