Markings of Art

Our family doesn’t usually take on interstate jobs, but sometimes the money is really good. A big corporation paid us quite a lot to come and ‘take care of’ some of their business rivals, and they threw in first-class flights, so we figured…why not? Never seen Queensland before. We mixed a bit of business with pleasure, and saw how Australians this far north do things. Mostly the same as down south, but ah well. 

I’ve noticed that tattoo culture is quite heavy in Brisbane. Tattoo studios, they are called…places where people may have themselves inked with whatever design seems best to them. What interests me is that these tattoos are applied for decoration, rather than how we apply them in our family: using mystic methods to infuse one’s skin with the power of shadows, demons, spirits and the four elements, so that we may call upon them during a hard times in life. These tattoos vanish after use, unlike the ones applied in a regular tattoo parlour, the purpose of which is to NOT vanish, or indeed fade at all. 

Initially I was baffled as to the purpose of a tattoo that does not have the power to summon a burst of phoenix fire, or one that can shroud a person’s body in mystic shadow. My personal favourite is one that summons my friendly tanuki that grabs things I cannot reach. ‘How can they possibly place markings on themselves without a purpose?’ I thought. Then I remembered how many of our family members practice painting and calligraphy, and how Kiko writes long and terrible poems, and they make her happy, except when we have a family expression evening and she reads them aloud for many hours. Expression is a wonderful thing, and this is what these tattoo parlours provide. 

Why one would go to a tattoo shop open in Bali on holiday and have a tattoo done is another matter entirely, but impulse decisions do exist.