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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pin up girls and pin up tattoos – a short history

While I’m too indecisive and afraid of commitment to actually get a serious tattoo, I’m still very much in love with the eccentricity and beauty of tattoos, which is way I prepared a new article in the series dedicated to them. 

Body jewelry on the other hand have the temporary component on their side and are something I could  realistically consider which is way I sometime spend unjustified  amounts of time on sites like freshtrends. I'm pretty sure in a another live I was one of those wonderful, brave people covered in tattoos form head to toe - or that's what I tell myself to justify my long time obsession for these cool adornments.

Getting back to tattoos – today we’re covering the influence of the emblematic pin ups on this controversial form of art. It all started in the nineteenth century with the actresses and burlesque performers who used photos, posters and calendars to promote themselves. 

With time the term pin-up was used to describe women who were so attractive and beautiful that you would want to pin their photo to your walls.

The pin up tattoos were extremely popular during the first and second world wars when soldiers used to get these types of tattoo before going to the battle fields. However the pin-up tattoos, considered part of the retro trend, have become popular with more than just soldiers and sailors. 

Betty Grable is known as the original pin up girl and her iconic bathing suit poster (included in the “100 Photos that Changed the World” list made by Life magazine), transformed her from a movie star to the number one pin up girl.

She was known for having the most beautiful legs in Hollywood and the movie studios didn’t think twice to widely distribute posters and photos with her “million dollar legs” (and that was more than just a figure of speech as her studio insured her legs for 1 million dollars). 

 Even now, her famous pose in a swimsuit with her hands on her hips, looking back over her shoulder is used as a model for tattoo art.

But Betty Garbles fame was nothing compared with what Bettie Page achieved. Even today she is known (she was famous in the 1950s and 1980s), as the queen of all pin up girls. She was the first real life pin up model to be considered as good as the artwork (mainly drawings and paintings), made by artists back then. The artwork portrayed idealized versions of what was considered as particularly beautiful or attractive in a woman.

Pin up girl have a pretty long history when it comes to tattoos - they are part of the original Old School tattoo design. The Old School characteristics are still kept in the new designs but they are combined with New School style. While the designs are still iconic, the theme of pin-ups has evolved and still continue to do so.

There are different characteristics that can be used in a pin-up girl tattoo: you can choose an 1890’s pin up inspired girl or a modern version. In vintage pin-up tattoos the girls are exposed in sexy positions, wearing swim suits, hula girl costumes, navy uniforms, patriotic or sailor outfits, while today’s pin-up girl tattoos copy the old school design but they transform the style into a current one. 

The modern day pin-up has become more scandalous, wearing outfits that leave little to the imagination or venturing into bizarre areas like zombie land. Pin up zombies have become quite popular; they still look like the old ones but have the characteristics of zombies: weird colors like green or red. Basically an Old School pinup tends to be somewhat like a cartoon while the New School tattoos are more realistic in style.

The tattoo design is usually based on vintage pin-up girl posters. The details have to be very accurate with full make-up, big eyelashes, red lipstick, smoky eyes and perfect hairstyles. 

No matter what kind of pin up you go for in a tattoo: the original Bettie, the classic old sailor pin up girl with anchor, cartoon or photo, these tattoo designs are making a comeback and in a big way. It’s true that pin up tattoos never really got out of style, because let’s face it, beautiful girls and tattoos can never do that!

In fact the modern pin up girl is as popular now as it was in the 50`s and if you don’t believe that just look at the popularity of Dita Von Teese and other burlesque models.

There are so many options and variations on this theme that choosing the right tattoo can be really challenging. The placement it’s also essential, being one of the most important aspects of getting a tattoo.

As for the meaning of this tattoo it all depends on the person getting inked. It can be a symbol of femininity, old school ideals, female empowerment or just a picture of a beautiful woman. 

   Photos: 1, 2, collages made by Sara

Any of you  would ever consider a pin up tattoo? It's the pin up look something you're into or not so much?

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