home is where the heart is
home is where the heart is
evolution of the shoe painting
there’s beauty in everything
final project for intro to art therapy
home (n): 1. A place where one lives, a physical structure
2. an environment offering security and happiness
I’ve found that these definitions are not interchangeable.
“Home” has never been a constant in my life, it’s been a perpetual assortment of places.
I’ve struggled with finding a place to call home that simultaneously feels like home; it’s not as easy as it seems.
heart (n): 1. The vital center and source of one’s being, emotions, and sensibilities
2. the repository of one’s deepest and sincerest feelings and beliefs
I feel it’s more important to feel at home than to be at home.
Physical places are fragile and fleeting. Sometimes they are abandoned. Sometimes they are taken from you, sometimes they were never yours to begin with. Sometimes it’s a temporary space to lay your head, and nothing more.
If a place is lacking comfort and heart, it’s not a home. You can pick up the pieces of what’s been left behind and build the strongest structure, click your heels together and tell yourself what you want to believe. It won’t mean a thing.
Places mean nothing; heart means everything.
Home is not an address. It’s not a place on a map. It’s not a space contained in walls and a roof.
Home is where the heart is.
As the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover, especially when said book is a person, and that person is covered in tattoos. But in today’s society and media portrayal of people with tattoos, it can be hard not to judge.
Body modification, specifically tattooing, has been growing in popularity in recent years. Ink used to be only for sailors and criminals, but now almost everyone and their mother has a tattoo (my mom has 6). There has been a flood of tattoo themed ‘reality’ TV shows, and there has even been a limited edition tattooed Barbie.
Even with all the popularity, the negative stereotypes associated with tattoos are still there. As a tattooed person myself, I’ve felt the dirty looks. People have assumed I’m just some unintelligent, good-for-nothing kid, and I’ve been told many times that I won’t be able to get a job or that I will never be “professional,” which are ridiculous assumptions to make. Body art does not hinder a person’s abilities, professionalism, or character, but that is beside the point. The point is that part of why these negative views are still held is because the media’s portrayal of tattoos is still somewhat negative. I feel that there has yet to be a truly positive picture painted of tattooed individuals in the media. Let me explain…
The tattooed “culture” of people is commonly referred to as a counter culture, which, in my mind, has a negative tinge to it. Counter culture, as defined by the free online dictionary, is “people with values or lifestyles in opposition to those of the established culture,” “an alternative culture, deliberately at variance with the social norm,” and “the culture and lifestyle of those people who reject the dominant values and behaviors of society.” A counter culture is typically seen as rebellious, and in our society, rebellion is typically seen as a bad thing; we’re supposed to do what we’re told and follow the rules and norms, and anyone who rebels is looked down upon. Getting a tattoo is often seen as a rebellious action, since body art isn’t part of the social norm, though when I chose to get tattooed, I never did it because I wanted to rebel, but I can’t speak for everyone. This idea can be seen in TV and movies. There are no heavily tattooed characters on TV (that I can think of anyway), and if a character does have a tattoo, it’s so they will seem edgy or rebellious or because they’re the bad guys. Essentially, what we see in the media reinforces the old stereotypes that people who have ink are criminals and defiant. The bottom line is what we’re told is that bad people have tattoos, and good people don’t.
This concept of good vs. bad/ no ink vs. ink is presented in an ad for a perfume by celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D. There are two fragrances, one called sinner and the other called saint. The ad features two photos of Kat, the “Sinner” with all her ink exposed, and the “Saint” with her tattoos covered by a tattoo concealer. This, again, reinforces the stereotype that people with tattoos are not good people.
A recent trend in TV is the rising popularity of tattoo themed reality shows. Personally, I don’t like these types of shows because, like any other reality show, they seem to focus more on petty drama and not enough on the artwork and the tattoo process. I feel like in any reality show, unnecessary drama is created in order to get more people to watch, and it makes the people in the shows look like immature drama queens, when they should be acting like the professional artists that they are. These shows give the impression that all tattoo shops operate the way you see them on TV, and that is not the case. I have spent plenty of hours in tattoo shops, and the environment was always very relaxed, no drama, no cattiness, no one talking behind someone else’s back. In my experience, tattoo artists are very down to earth and friendly people, unlike how the media portrays them.
Media had a huge impact on how we perceive people, whether we realize it or not. Everyone is guilty of making some sort of judgment or assumption about a person based on his or her appearance. The media in our society gives us a pretty clear-cut idea of how we are ‘supposed’ to look, and tattoos aren’t included in that idea. When we see someone who blatantly ignores those ‘rules’ we generally form an opinion, and it isn’t always positive. Like I said earlier, media tends to portray tattooed people as the criminals, the outcasts, the lowlifes, and since we are so used to seeing those stereotypes, we tend to see everyday people the same way. When was the last time you saw a person walking down the street with full sleeves and assumed he was a doctor?
Work in progress. I’m not sure how I feel about it…
Portrait of myself and my good friend Jaimie. Done in charcoal.