Tattoos: Art in Prison



On the State of the Nation

What kind of times are they?! The madness and reason speak equally from the throat, more precisely: they scream. So that sore throats become. It’s extreme virus time.

A few weeks ago, one would not have believed that the Chinese virus from Wuhan, which was heard about more incidentally than deliberately from the newspaper at the beginning of December, would sweep across the entire globe with such force. Originating from bat soup from a village in China (the alleged origin of the virus) to… what actually? Countless people who have been infected, the deceased, canceled events over an unmanageable period of time, and the closure of most shops and businesses.

This is already a remarkable experience: the restriction of fundamental rights for the individual – restricted outcome, ban on assembly, theft of mobile phone data and, and, and. Of course, these measures have a certain sense and necessity; provided that as soon as the catastrophe seems to be regained, democracy is restored to its original state. Back to democracy and the rights of the individual. The individuals right to have fun outside. To get tattooed. Express yourself, to meet, be it at a party or on the Zugspitze. This all comes back, but in the meantime everyone experiences the feeling of isolation and being locked up.

Isolation – the prison tattoo

The feeling of not being able to move freely has many side effects for those affected: for singles loneliness, for couples excessive demands in the areas pleasure and arguments. Then there is the fear ofhow the job will go on and whether the income will continue. This can lead to widespread panic attacksand full-blown depression. This is sadly a reality for most people during these uncertain times.

Previously, such feelings existed mainly in prisons. It’s interesting to see how the inmates keep a piece of their freedom, or at least remember it. How they bring the hope of future freedom into their lives. Their tattoos give an answer. Prison tattoos testify to an affiliation outside the prison sentence; e.g. to a gang, sometimes outside, sometimes indoors. A prison tattoo can also represent self-preservation, self-empowerment, and that you still have control over your own life. Tattooing is an act of your own choosing. Prison tattoos are often not properly engraved and rudimentary inserted into the skin. Since there are no professional tattoo machines in prison as well as a lack of hygiene, getting a tattoo becomes all the more difficult. A razor with a needle is often used in replacement of a tattoo gun. The ink is a mixture of urine and burnt rubber.

If you undertake such a procedure, it shows the value a tattoo carries for the person in prison. Depression and anxiety on the one hand, the powerful and lasting statement, as a tattoo, on the other. This experience hits us all at once:

How can I regain control of my life!?

What would your prison tattoo look like?
Now that the reader is affected by the curfew, he can think about how he would make his tattoo as a “prison statement.” What is his statement about freedom and what are his last words that still deserve tobe said. The claim of life, in a sense.

Tip: Prison inmates usually have to be prepare for longer periods in custody. As a prisoner, you have to take some inconveniences for your tattoo. We, on the other hand, can (if things go well) count on it in orderly social situations.

Conditions to return. So before you put a needle on your razor in the hobby cellar and massacre yourself, it is advised to wait. Think about possible motives and visit your trusted tattoo shop in the time after the curfew. We, the tattooists who do their job with a lot of commitment and passion, will

T H A N K  Y O U.

Here are a few suggestions for motives:

Clock without hand: The inmate is locked up for a very long time.

Tear: The bearer has committed a murder. If the tear is not yet filled, this means that the act has yet to be carried out.

Five dots / three dots:
Five dots – the tattooed man with this motif has been in custody before. The three dots – symbolize the prison stay, they stand for the code of honor of the prisoners: faith, love, hope (the three monkeys of the Japanese god Vadjra)

This tattoo proclaims freedom. The greatest value in a person’s life. The value of freedom is, of course, strongest for those affected: all those imprisoned!
(Text: Julian Bachmann / Illustration: Jonas Bachmann BACCO)