Just tracking the Sydney and New South Wales tattoo scene sees that from a mere three licensed artists in 1984, there has been a bit of an explosion with more than 50 licensed artists throughout the State. Tattoos were once identified as a moment of drunken stupidity in one's youth, this is clearly no longer the case! The quality of the artwork and the designs are testament to tattooing taking itself seriously as an art form.
I do not hesitate to add here that none of the tattoos that adorn my skin are the product of a drunken night on the town. Instead each has a meaning and each is significant to me as it tells my story and experiences.
Interestingly, in June 2006, Australia's biggest and most conservative employer, the Defence Force, lifted the rule that barred anyone with a tattoo from joining up. About bloody time if you ask me. It was a stupid rule because the armed forces did not kick you out once you joined up and then went and had some art done. If the defence force was serious then the ban should have been uniform and across the board. Perhaps better late than never.
Funnily enough the new defence rules would allow facial tattoos if there was a religious or cultural reason for such artwork. The idea that tattoos still carry social stigmas seems to be fading fast as tattoos become increasingly mainstream. Tattoos are also no longer immediately associated with youthful risk taking. If you do not believe this then watch shows like Miami Ink, LA Ink, and Tattoo Wars. Not everyone with a tattoo is a Charles Manson!
I have no regrets about the tattoos that I have and already have artwork ready for the next series of ink installments to be made on my skin.