Tattoo culture has grown leaps and bounds over the last few decades. Permanent body ink was once considered fringe and associated with prison life, motorcycle clubs, and gang activity. Sailors coming back from active duty were tattooed, but in many places, tattooing was illegal until very recently. However, through cultural fusion and years of technological advancements and cultural integration, tattoos have seeped into the mainstream, all over TV, media, pop culture, and everyday life.
While the tattoo industry is booming at an exponential rate on a global scale, there are still regions of the world where tattooing is frowned upon and often perceived as criminal. While Europe, the UK, and other regions of the world are pushing the boundaries and elevating tattooing to fine art, tattoo artists in Iran and other places in the middle east continue to practice underground, working under the radar and relying on the import business and word of mouth to keep running – a shame considering how Persian tattoos can be incredibly beautiful and inspirational.
Specifically, in Iran, tattoo culture is indeed thriving, though it’s increasing noticeability is grabbing the attention of authorities who consider it too “western.” Many Iranian tattoo artists practice in the back of beauty salons in private, and those with body art are often arrested, with their Persian tattoos used as “proof” of their guilt. Though there are no direct laws that prohibit tattoos in Iran, many artists go abroad to hone their skills and learn the tricks of the trade, as it is hard to be properly educated in their home country. The irony comes in the fact that most tattoo clients in Iran are men who want some kind of Persian tattoos or imagery, text, and expression of their love for their country.
For Persian tattoo artists, obtaining proper materials is a different story; getting your hands on a decent machine is a difficult task and often requires smuggling, the same goes for proper tattoo ink. In any case, art appears to be prevailing, as business isn’t slowing down.
How do you feel about Persian tattoos and cultural restriction? Is it just a case of a different cultural identity a country is trying to implement or is it a travesty that art is being restrained despite the public demand for Persian tattoos? Let us know in the comment section below