An Analysis of the Tattoo
The tattoo serves as a joining medium with others. A joining factor between individuals and groups and helps transform individuals with a community. It’s a uniform between individuals like a flag in a nation. Furthermore, when the tattoo is a duplicated and is placed onto multiple persons the tattoo is a united symbol of art and a ‘relational symbol’ of something more than and larger than life.
At times the tattoo is a defense against external pressures like a dam around the river protecting the individual from the overflowing rush from bursting the self. The tattoo protects and separates. It serves as a divider and space between the self and outside world. Defense mechanisms were systematized by Dr. Sigmund Freud, and his daughter Anna, where they explain how the ego protects itself from traumatic memory through repressing it into the unconscious . Similarly, the tattoo becomes the ego’s shield, the body’s skin, and cells membrane protecting itself from outside force of conformity and obedience and preserving the souls free will.
Tattooing is also a form of “internalizing” an image. Freud speaks of “internalization”; where one internalizes an idea, a person or an image. Children dream of their friends, lovers of their love, scholars of their theories. But through art and ink one can become united within the image or person or idea they so desperately adore and love. It is an attachment! Something meaningful which is beyond the self. The self grows with the image until they’re united.