Most tattoo artists agree that tattoos are art. Most philosophers would also agree- if they ever thought about tattoos. Philosophy can help us talk about why tattoos are art and, when they are not art. Tattoo art raises unique questions about what counts as the artwork, the role of the artist, and, how to assign value. These differences may contribute to tattoo's "outsider" status. But instead of concluding that tattoos aren't *real* art we should view tattoo art as a distinct art form with its own rules and values. We should develop a philosophy of tattoo art.
A different understanding of why tattoos are art; an exploration of what makes tattoo art a unique art form.
Laura sizer is associate professor of philosophy at Hampshire college