Anyone who has met me knows at least one thing with certainty: I have tattoos. And those who have known me for more than a minute most likely know at least one story associated with my tattoos. For me, each is a single artistic image that tells the tale of who I am. Now I realize this in no way makes me unique. From tribal tattoos to service people inking their allegiance, images on skin have long told stories of who we are. Cultures and communities across time and place have used tattooing as a way to communicate everything from ancestry to social standing, body identification to allegory. The wearer may be private in regards to sharing them because they tell of a deeply personal experience. For others it serves as portable art that is meant to be on display. It is the who, what, how, and why that distinguishes style, placement, design, and differentiates everyone else’s from mine.
So whether they are considered fashionable or not, tattoos have been and will continue to be a significant avenue for storytelling. Austin Public Library embraces this art form and has decided to share how staff and the ATX community use story to inspire tattoos, which inspires sharing the tattoo story (meta enough for you?). Visit our Facebook and Instagram to get the brief story on my tattoo seen above and search, follow, tag, and comment using #booktattooatx.
There are many things that divide us as humans, but there is one thing that clearly unites us: storytelling. Stories can vary by culture and method, but at the core they convey something about who we were, are, or hope to be. As cultures develop, so too do the methods in which stories are told. In this four-part blog series, I look to highlight some of the methods of storytelling that are alternatives to the traditional novel.