American traditional style tattoos are the artistic embodiment of wanderlust and freedom. When they first started appearing on people in American culture in the 1930’s they symbolized a rejection of the American dream and represented a life lived outside the confines of mainstream society. As for today, they say still mean the same thing. Tattoo legend, Norman Collins aka Sailor Jerry pioneered this iconic style in Hawaii during World War II, which was the crossroads for millions of American men at the time. With the revival of Tradition style tattoos, these pieces imbue their bearers with the same concepts they were born of a rejection of mainstream culture and the quest for a different existence.
This style of tattoos are characterized by its clean black outlines, vivid colors, and minimal shading. These are fundamental to traditional style and make it one of the most bold and iconic tattoo styles there is. Traditional tattoos often depict women, daggers, roses, wolves, skulls, ships, and more. Traditional tattoos are a union of boldness and complexity. They represent a unique era in mankind’s connection to tattooing and at the same time pay homage to the tattoos they have descended from.
As tattoos are more acceptable in American culture today this style has evolved into many other categories of body art. Neo Traditional pays homage to the original style with the use of thick, black outlines and well saturated colors with an expanded repertoire of imagery and meanings. Traditional tattoos represent a crucial moment in evolution of tattoos, and a major event that led to the integration of tattoos we see in American culture today.