Notes on “Tattooing in NYC”

The more research I do on my topic, the more I find that tattooing and New York City go hand in hand. Modern tattooing in New York City all began about in 1846, when the first American tattoo shop opened. The history behind tattooing in New York City is quite interesting and I think that playing off that history as I write my article will definitely be to my benefit.

One of the problems that I am having is that I cannot seem to find the book “New York City Tattoo: The Oral History of an Urban Art,” by Michael McCabe. McCabe used to tattoo in New York City and apparently the book is chock full of interviews with tattoo artists who were tattooing in New York City during the underground days of tattooing – these are just the kinds of people I should be talking to. Unfortunately the book costs over $200.00 and I can’t seem to find it anywhere. I believe it is also out of stock and is not sold anywhere.

In all honesty, I’m not as comfortable as I’d like to be with my topic at this stage in the game. I’ve spoken to about a dozen New York City residents who are just your average civilizan who just likes getting tattooed. I thought it was important to integrate that part into my story instead of just interviewing tattoo artist who making tattooing their profession. From talking with all these different kinds of people on why they get tattoos and what tattooing means to them, I have definitely gotten a better sense on why getting a tattoo is such a growing phenomena – or maybe it has always been that way. The reasons for people getting tattooed hasn’t seem to have changed, but the artwork and the way a tattoo artist tattoos a customer certainly have changed.

At this stage in the game, I would feel more comfortable if I had spoken with more old-school tattoo artists who have been around since the prohibition days of tattooing. So far I have only spoken with a handful and it is those interviews I am relying on in order to help me paint a picture of what tattooing was like in New York City during those underground days from 1962-1997.

I am not as confident as I would like to be about this article since I feel so pressed for time. (However, I am usually very pessimistic when it comes to my work). I think I need to do a lot more research on my topic and I also think that I need to get a few more interviews in with old-school tattoo artists in New York City.

My topic calls for good quotes to spill out of a person’s mouth, which is something I’m happy with. I truthfully think that the quotes I have gotten from my interviews tied in with the vast history of tattooing in New York City and what has changed is definitely going to make my article.

Another issue I’m having is finding concrete numbers I can use in my article. The only concrete statistical information I have found is that there are currently 1,700 tattoo artists in New York City.

I have ideas of the kinds of people I want to continue to interview, but I feel pressed for time and a little rushed. For a project I have been working on all semester, I certainly want to do it justice for this class and especially for myself. I think I still have quite a bit of work ahead of me to do before I have to turn in my first draft and have this article live up to its full potential.

One response to “Notes on “Tattooing in NYC”

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