Get Political with Tattooing...
You might be a little bit surprised to find out how many influential historical figures sported a tattoo!  Tattooing is quickly becoming a highly recognized and excepted form of artwork.  These days, many sports figures are defined by their tattoos, as well as people in film and television.  Even back when I started tattooing, tattoos still weren't in the mainstream yet.  We received lots of strange looks, and in some cases comments too.  Today though, it's odd for somebody NOT to have a tattoo!

Sadly, the days are disappearing of seeing the tattoos that helped define history.  I'll use a personal experience of mine to help relate what I mean.  Years ago, while in a grocery store I was taking a break on a bench at the front of the store.  This elderly gentlemen comes and sits down next to me.  He notices my tattoos and he begins asking questions about them.  A few minutes later, he's pulling his shirt sleeves up and showing me tattoos he got in Korea during the war.  Not only did he show me, I got the entire story behind every one of them!  It was like having a living and breathing history book, of not only the war but of tattooing as well.  He described in detail what the tattoo studios looked liked, what kind of characters were hanging out there, everything! Even right down to what the tattoo machines looked like. It was amazing.  Fashion statements and trendy looks are erasing the history of tattooing, but it doesn't have to be that way - Not as long as we don't forget!

Check out a few 'Tattoo Collectors' throughout our political history...

Winston Churchill. The famous former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Nobel Prize Winner had an anchor tattoo on his right arm. Lady Randolph Churchill, his mother, also had a snake tattoo on her right wrist. However it was alleged the tattoo was covered for the sake of reputation. Winston Churchill was one of the first famous politician to have, or at least admit to having, a tattoo.

President Theodore Roosevelt. The 32nd president of the United States proudly bore a tattoo image of his family crest across his chest. Not many people are aware of this famous politician’s tattoo because it was simply in a location which was not readily visible.  It was not that he was ashamed or regretted the tattoo, but the location that made it inconspicuous.

Teddy Roosevelt's tattoo was simply in a location which was not readily visible, and this information caused a stir among people of their day as well as modern-day history buffs. Neither Mrs. Churchill's nor President Roosevelt's design, however, lent itself to gaining a sense of respectability among the average voters. Even when such important figures possessed tattoos, they were still said to be socially unacceptable for the general public.

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Caroline Kennedy. This famous politician with a tattoo may have regrets about her artwork. During a trip to Hong Kong in the ‘80s Caroline and cousin Kara Kennedy were challenged by John F. Kennedy Jr. and Teddy Kennedy Jr. to get inked. She ended up with a small butterfly tattoo on her arm, near the inside crook of her elbow. At the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, the audience receives a glimpse of the tattoo, which looks like it is in the process of being removed.


Barry Goldwater. Known as the father of modern U.S. conservatism, he had a very small tattoo on the underside of his left hand. This tattoo was a crescent moon with 4 dots, which is the trademark of the Smoki People. The Smoki People is a group of people, based in Arizona, which functions as a sort of Boy Scouts for grownups. Mr. Goldwater campaigned for the Presidency of the United States in 1964. This was a time in which tattoos were not socially acceptable, yet that did not stop Mr. Goldwater from being one of the few famous politicians with a tattoo.

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John Fetterman. Mayor of the town of Braddock Pennsylvania. Described him as "America's coolest mayor" in many publications. He has also appeared on "The Colbert Report" in 2009.One of his forearms displays the number 15104 in bold black type, which is the zip code of the town of which he is mayor.  The other forearm bears a list of six dates. These are the dates on which people have died in awful circumstances under his watch. Now that is a dedicated mayor!


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The five dots tattoo...

is a tattoo of five dots arranged in a quincunx, usually on the outer surface of the hand, between the thumb and the index finger. The tattoo has different meanings in different cultures. It has been variously interpreted as a fertility symbol, a reminder of sayings on how to treat women or police, a recognition symbol among the Romani people, a group of close friends, standing alone in the world, or time spent in prison (with the outer four dots representing the prison walls and the inner dot representing the prisoner). Thomas Edison, whose many inventions included a tattooing machine, had this pattern tattooed on his forearm.

 


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