Tattoo Book

A wide look at aesthetics in contemporary tattooing and the art form's global history


It’s estimated that one in four Americans has at least one tattoo. Once associated with criminality (at least in certain cultures), tattoos have become overwhelmingly common. This is not new news. Taking a deeper look into the phenomenon, contemporary tattooing and the art form’s more global beginnings is “Tattoo,” a new book published to accompany an exhibition at Paris’ Musée du Quai Branly. While there certainly is no shortage of tomes taking an anthropological look at the popular subject, “Tattoo” takes a more journalistic approach thanks to editors Anne & Julien, founders of the art magazine “HEY! Modern Art & Pop Culture,” along with the long list of contributors. Insightful written commentary accompanies a wealth of color photographs, paintings and archival images.


From Russian criminal tattooing and turn of the century traveling arts to European sideshow culture and Japan’s heyday during the Edo period, the well-researched book intrigues both outsiders and those ink-wearing members of the ever-growing community. Visit the book’s publisher, Artbook/DAP for more information and to purchase for $60.

Images by Cool Hunting