There is absolutely no doubt that social media and its ever-expanding reach has changed the entire spectrum of the tattoo community across the world, in the last decade. It has given birth to thousands of tattoo artists across the world, as secrets no more remain so, and technology has equalised the platform for one and all. But what this availability of information and standardization has done is allowed half baked hipsters from all over the world to be recognised as established tattoo artists without them being so. Since YouTube and Instagram have made it extremely easy for anyone with a trust fund to become a social media celebrity tattoo artist, it has become extremely difficult to figure out the real artists from the crap. How do you? Instagram and its world of filters allows almost any tattoo picture to look good, regardless of whether it looks good to the naked eye, or is any good to begin with, at the first place. Raised levels of highlights and shadows on photoshop make the shoddy tattoos look unbelievably good, and forget that even, because there is a breed of fame mongers on these social media platforms who simply download the tattoo pictures of other artists from other parts of the world, and go on to repost the same as their own work, sometimes. #Blasphemy
And, in the tattooing world, it’s an issue of extreme importance now. For the layman who doesn’t understand much about tattoos, it is easy to get fooled by edited pictures of fresh tattoos. Why fooled? They are still tattoos, right? Absolutely right! But not true tattoos, maybe. A tattoo is not a print on top of your skin, and doesn’t look the same for the rest of its life, like a print on a t shirt. It is a settling down of the ink under your skin. It settles down into the epidermal layer of your skin, and ages and matures with you and your body. A lot of my friends often ask me why the blacks on my tattoos seem to be turning green as time passes by. And I explain to them how it’s not green, but the level of melanin in my body. The ageing of a tattoo will always differ from person to person, and artist to artist. Tattooing is not an easy craft that any Tom, Dick and Harry can master in a few months. It takes tremendous artistic skill, and technical expertise that can only be acquired with experience. THERE. IS. NO. SUBSTITUTE. FOR. THAT.
In order to tackle this growing epidemic of photoshopped tattoo pictures on the internet, two tattoo legends, Mike Cole (@mechmaster_mike) and Paul Booth (@paulbooth) started the #TrueTattooChallenge on Instagram.
CHUCK THE PHOTOSHOPPED!! If there’s a tattoo trend that needs to exist, it is THIS. The only true test of any tattoo is time. It is how a tattoo heals over time that tells you how good it is. It is easy to fool the eyes looking at tattoos on cell phone screens, with a thousand filters on them. … #TrueTattooChallenge: Tag your tattoo artists friends and ask them to take on this challenge. 6 healed tattoos. 6 months old. 6 straight days. NO EXCUSES. NO EDITS. … Huge shoutout to the legends, @mechmaster_mike and @paulbooth for raising their voice for such an impending issue in tattooing today. … #truetattoochallenge #fuckthephotoshop #healedtattoo #healedtattoosonlyplease #calloutthebullshit #tattoos #tattoocultr
Simple and straightforward. Share 6 healed tattoos. 6 months old (at least). 6 straight days. And in a long time, I feel proud of the internet. What a response this movement has had so far. The true artists have taken up the challenge more than happily, as everyone realises there can’t be a better way to show real tattoos to people. #FuckThePhotoshopped
Challenge Accepted!! Did this realistic hermit piece almost 2.5years back. This is how it looks now, all healed and tight. Check out this realism piece done by our artist @prakritikmanushya #truetattoochallenge #blackandgreytattoos #realism #realistictattoos #artistsfromhyderabad #sindhicolony #koruink #paradise #hermit #wisdomseeker #seeker #tattoocultr #healedtattoos #divine #gullygangboy
Ok so will be uploading couple of my healed tattoos just to show you what’s the real deal out here I am great full to accept #truetattoochallenge stay tuned as will be uploading more of such healed tattoos this week thanks for looking. #mechmastermike #inkkrafttattoostudio #offthemap #tattrx #tattoocultr #besthealedtattoos #itattyou #indiantattooartist #customtattooing #abstracttattoos
I’ll start off my #truetattoochallenge with this piece I did on @anupam7886 2 years ago and is still in progress. A super dark coverup on a huge forearm. Took me light years to finish it 🤦🏼♂️😂 #healedtattoo #healed #paulbooth #mechmastermike #tattoo.cultr @tattoo.cultr #ironbuzztattoos #mumbai #ericjasondsouza
The response by Indian tattoo artists to the #truetattoochallenge has been tremendous to say the least. Artists from all over the country have been actively putting up healed tattoo pictures to show what real tattoos look like. And it is heartwarming, to say the least. There has also been a faction of artists who have criticised this campaign, claiming it to be a witch hunt of realism tattoo artists. Now, these allegations are absolutely baseless. This is a movement, not a challenge to a particular set of artists. This movement has been started to focus and bring forth the primary factor that determines whether a tattoo is truly good or not; longevity and how it heals.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO BE A PART OF IT: Take pictures of your healed tattoos, and upload them on Instagram with the hashtag #TrueTattooChallenge, and mention the name of your artist and how old is your tattoo.