Ink evolution: from freakish to fine art.


Tara Brugnoni

Date of Award


Document Type



Caspersen School of Graduate Studies

Degree Name

Doctor of Letters


Everywhere one turns, despite culture, society, race, religion, state, socioeconomic status, age, gender, and sexual orientation, without hardly any effort, one lays his eyes on what has become the greatest and most fascinating phenomenon of our time&the art of the tattoo. The aesthetic value of these varies depending on individual preference, but one factor remains the same. Whether the tattoo is simplistic or the most ornate, special skill, technique, and experience created from a historical context are needed to render this form of fine art. The following dissertation exists to shed light on the sources of the tattoo culture and how tattoo fine art has taken shape and rooted itself quite solidly in modernity. The reader will journey into the historical and cultural background of tattooing, enter into the world of art to discover how the elements of art define the tattoo, and read first-hand accounts through interviews of both tattoo artists and tattooed individuals to explore how the fine art tattoo distinguishes itself among the other various fine art forms. The writer invites the reader then to navigate through a foundation of historical context that paves a unique road to the creation of the intricate beauty of the art of the skin.