Tattoo Times in Portugal

Since we have a first Porto Tattoo Workshop, we want to dedicate an entire article to this beautiful form of art. 

Let’s start by first diving deeper into the history of tattoo art.

1. History of Tattoo Art

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Tattoos are known as one of the oldest forms of art. Apparently, the oldest documented tattoos belong to Ötzi, the Iceman. Ötzi's body was found in the Alps between Austria and Italy back in 1991. Researchers and scientists calculated that he must have died 3300 B.C.

However, the practice of inserting pigments into the skin started a long time before Ötzi's time. In the 8th - 6th century BCE, that were the early Greek and Roman times, tattooing was associated with barbarians. The Greeks learned tattooing from the Persians and used this practice to mark slaves and criminals so they could be identified if they tried to escape. The Romans in turn learned this practice from the Greeks.

The American traditional tattoos can be traced back to the early 1900's, when they were first made popular by sailors. These early tattoos were often done manually with homemade needles and ink. These tattoos were often seen as symbols of rebellion or resistance. Now that we got a bit of background knowledge about the history of tattoo art, let's dive deeper into the meaning of it.

2. Meaning of Tattoo Art

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There are many different meanings of tattoos. What they do have all in common though, is that these permanent works of art are always personal. They can represent amulets, healing and social symbols, declarations of love, signs of religion, jewelry or even a sort of punishment.

Tattoos started to become more and more trendy and mainstream in the 1970’s. Before this time, it were mostly sailors and military men that wanted to get inked. During the Seventies, tattoos got a reputation as a form of self expression. Especially symbols of peace gained a lot of popularity.

Next to the idea of tattoos as an expression of a person’s character, people also started to see them as symbols of spiritual devotion and decorations for bravery. Besides the meaning of the actual tattoo, for which other reasons do people fancy getting their bodies tattooed?

3. Most common reasons why people want tattoos

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People have always liked to express themselves through their appearance. Next to fashion, cosmetics and jewelry, tattoos are just another way to do that. A further reason why people want to get a tattoo is to improve their self-esteem. It serves as a way to show the world that they are confident and proud of who they are.

Especially when they went through a tough time in their lives and have overcome it, people often get tattoos to show that they are survivors. These tough times could be an addiction, an accident, an illness or a death of a beloved person. The tattoos remind them of their own strength and resilience that they were able to overcome these tough times.

People also do like to get tattoos to show their uniqueness, to experience a new sensation and to have a new adventure and thrill. Tattoos can also be seen as a daily reminder that they are alive. Tattoos can also be a sign to belong to a certain group of people: To a biker or prison gang, to a political group or to a punk rock or vegan community to give you a few examples.

The reason why people love to get tattooed usually changes over time though. When there was still a lot of meaning in each of the initial tattoos, soon getting inked can become a habit, for some people even a kind of second nature. And yes, sometimes people even get addicted to the pain when the needle starts hitting their skin.

And then there are people that have no reason at all to get a tattoo. They might simply be bored, see a tattoo shop instead of a pizzeria and decide to spend their free afternoon getting a new, life-lasting arm decoration.

4. 8 Types of Tattoo Art

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Nowadays, most tattoo artists use sterile machines and inks. It is estimated that there are more than 50 unique tattoo styles worldwide.
The top 8 tattoo styles most people choose are the following:  

1. Traditional
Styles from the tattoo starting era back in the 1700’s.

2. Realism
Photographic images are transformed into tattoos that can look super-real.

3. Watercolour
The modern watercolour tattoos are the body equivalent of watercolours on paper or canvas.

4. Tribal
Often very dark in colour and featuring elaborate patterns or aboriginal symbols.

5. New school 
Filled with colour and fun artwork with cartoon style.

6. Neo traditional
Vibrant colours and strong linework in illustrative quality.

7. Japanese
Often filled with orange and blue colours with a distinctive look that dates back to the Edo period.

8. Blackwork
All tattoos where the main focus and only colour used is black.

Now that we have learned a lot about the history, the meanings and the styles of the global tattoo world, let‘s break it down to the Portugal Tattoo World and find out where we can find the best Tattoo Shops in this country.

5. Portugal Tattoo Shops

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Portugal’s capital Lisbon is a very creative city, full of artists and creative entrepreneurs from all around the world. How come?
Next to the great sunny weather, it’s mostly because of its competitive pricing compared to other capitals like London and Paris that people are attracted to make Lisbon their home base by choice.
Lisbon’s tattoo artists and shops have a steady presence at international fairs and are regularly featured in tattoo magazines from all sorts of places.

The Top 7 Tattoo Shops in Lisbon

- Ink & Wheels
Known for its friendly atmosphere in the shop, Mariza and her team are praised for their high quality work, their humour and their kindness. 

- Alla Prima Lisboa
This trendy tattoo studio is specialized in Fineline and Black and Grey styles.

- Familia Amorim Tattoo Shop
Customers like the professional and gentle style of this studio, especially tattoo artist Daniel's custom drawings.

- InkBravel Tattoo 13
This shop is known for its old school and cartoon-style tattoo work. 

- The Vênus Room Tattoo
 Beautiful Fineline Tattoos.

- El Diablo Tattoo Club
Cosy and clean studio with a lot of history.     

- Lisboa Ink Tattoo
People especially talk about the shop's fantastic music and tattoo artist Cristian's amazing work. 

6. How much € is a Tattoo in Portugal?

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The tattoo price usually depends on the size, the experience, popularity and style of the artist, the degree of details, and the design complexity of the desired tattoo. Usually, you pay between €30 to €50 for a small design or single word tattoo. When you prefer to get tattooed by one of Lisbon’s top artists, it costs between of €150 to €200 per hour. For big tattoos you pay between €450 to €700.

The Top 3 Tattoo Shops in Porto

- Heavy Handers Tattoo
The shop has a great vibe and people praise tattoo artist Sergio for being so professional.

- DarkFox Tattoo
This tattoo studio ist based in Vila Nova de Gaia, the city you can see from Porto across the water and can access via the bridges. They have a great reputation for their Realism and Blackwork tattoo styles. 

- Minimal Ink Tattoo
This Private Studio is specialized in Fineline, Geometric and Sketch tattoos. It's also the place where our "Learn how to Tattoo Workshops" take place with well-established and very kind tattoo artist Rui.
During the workshop you learn during 10 hours all the basics you need to know to get your tattoo artist career started:
From client request over client consultation, the drawing process, the actual big Tattoo Day, the meeting with the client, the preparation of all the equipment and the tattooing process itself. 

Find out everything and book your spot here

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When this article was helpful to you or you'd like to add something, please leave a comment in the section below.

Until the next subculstory! :)
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