Get inked for National Tattoo Day

National Tattoo Day falls on July 17

Bikers hang out a the popular Iron Horse Saloon in Ormond Beach, Fla. during Biketoberfest 2022. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Celebrate your creative self-expression on National Tattoo Day, which falls on July 17 every year.

We can love and appreciate artwork any day, but this national holiday is made to recognize the history and culture of this ancient art form.

According to the Smithsonian, the first known tattoo belongs to Ötzi who was “the European Tyrolean Iceman who died and was buried beneath an Alpine glacier along the Austrian–Italian border around 3250 B.C.”

Ötzi had 61 tattoos on his body including his wrist, lower legs, lower back and torso.

The word tattoo itself comes from the Samoan word tatau, which originates from the tapping sounds from the tool made during tattooing, according to the National Park Service.

A primitive tool of bone or boar husk that was sharpened into a comb style shape was attached to a small piece of turtle shell, connected to a wood handle.

The ink in the tatau rituals is made from the candle nut or lama nut. These nuts were placed on a hot fire to smolder and a coconut shell was placed on top collecting the soot that came from the nuts. The soot was then mixed with sugar water.

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Here’s a photo of my space kraken that I had done a few years ago by the talented Steve Roberts at The East Tattoo in Orlando.

A space kraken done by Orlando tattoo artist Steve Roberts. (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Tattoos have been around a long time and some people may still associate them with the military. The Veterans of Foreign Wars even has a webpage dedicated to the history of military tattoos.

During the American Revolution, sailors’ American citizenship papers were often disregarded by British Navy ship. Seamen started to tattooed their identification information as a way to avoid being illegally recruited by the British navy.

The rest, as they say, is history.

So, how do you celebrate this “permanent” day that only happens once a year? Any way you’re comfortable.

Central Florida has many talented tattoo artists. Do your research, look at their portfolio and talk out your idea. If your idea isn’t the style that they specialize in, they may refer you to someone who specializes in that area of work.

Good artists can book months in advance, though. So, of you have an idea, you may have to wait until their books are open for appointments, but getting something that serious is worth waiting for.

Don’t forget to use #NationalTattooDay on social media to share your ideas, show off your tats or just thank your artist.

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About the Author:

Jacob joined in 2022. He spent 19 years at the Orlando Sentinel, mostly as a photojournalist and video journalist, before joining Spectrum News 13 as a web editor and digital journalist in 2021.