The queer tattooing scene is young, dynamic, and steadily growing.
The world of tattoos has been dominated throughout history by structures that have not made this scene safe for queer bodies. Queer tattooing has grown in recent years, with boundary-defying artists creating an entirely new, inclusive, and welcoming world for queer, non-binary, and transgender people to play and explore within this art form, thanks in large part to community building on social media.
On this subject, a groundbreaking book on queer tattooing, entitled Queer Tattoo, written by author Andrew Burford with editors Florian Rudolph, Benjamin Wolbergs, and Brody Polinsky, has been released by German publisher Verlag Kettler. The project began in Germany in 2021 when the four joined forces to curate the collection and give readers an inside peek at the emerging queer tattoo scene. Together, they reached out to a diverse cast of contributors and showcased some of their most epic body art, ranging in subject and style.
This special community, which is growing steadily, has been born out of a desire to break with the hierarchies and patriarchal structures of traditional tattoo art. It aims to create safe, tolerant, and inclusive spaces where queer, nonbinary, and trans people can experiment away from the mainstream and develop their own individual styles and techniques.
In their work, many tattoo artists break free from the destructive, heteronormative, and capitalist ideals of beauty, creating a visual language that subverts the long tradition of cultural appropriation which characterizes the traditional tattoo scene. Their designs reveal a unique creative flair for queer iconography. This book is the first comprehensive introduction to this vibrant and diverse queer tattoo community. It presents 50 international tattoo artists with the help of extensive portraits, texts, and a series of images.
Article by Liviu Bulea
Liviu Bulea is a visual artist, curator, and cultural manager. His practice is closely linked to LGBTQ+ rights, pollution, and migration issues. Liviu is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Arts and Design in Cluj, RO.