Who owns a tattoo? The obvious answer is the wearer, who paid for the ink and is now permanently (more or less) attached to it. Yet recent disputes have called into question the easy idea that if you buy a tattoo, you also own it and can display it as you like. Tattoo artists are increasingly claiming that they, like other artists, own the copyright to the images they create. And when those images, attached to living people, appear on the silver screen — or a computer monitor — the artists want to get paid.
Thanks to all who contacted Hiring Librarians in response to their request for tattooed librarians willing to answer questions about their interviewing practices. The responses are now up in the third installment of a three-part series on tattooed librarians. Go check all three posts out:
If you didn’t get a chance to submit your own stories, you can still comment on any of the three articles to help continue the discussion. Thanks to Hiring Librarians for taking the time to reach out to the tattooed librarian and archivist community.
I’m in the GSLIS program at UIUC and will be graduating with my MLIS in December of this year. I work in the main acquisitions department and the chemistry library here at UIUC. I have several tattoos, but this is my most recent and favorite! It’s this painting by the artist Kathleen Lolley and was tattooed by Marie Sena at Stay Gold in Albuquerque, NM. I love tattooed librarians!
I have 4 tattoos, each with their own personal meanings. I work in a heritage library/art gallery in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Your position title or student status: Library Director
Type of repository/collection you work in: Small rural public library
General location: Western Pennsylvania
Background information about your tattoos if you feel comfortable getting personal about them: Most of my tattoos pertain to Buddhism (10 of them). I also have a tattoo of an open book near my right elbow (self-explanatory, lol) and Optimus Prime on my right shoulder (because, well, who wouldn’t want a tattoo of an imaginary alien robot leader whose tag line is, “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings”?)
I am the librarian at a small university-college in Norway, catering to students and lecturers.
I have wanted to get a tattoo for ages, and finally got my courage up last summer. I wanted an owl, but let it be up to the tattoo artist how and where. He photoshopped together two photos of owls to make them fit my arm, and this is the result. There isn’t really any big story behind the motif, the tattoo just feels right - for me as a person and my vocation.
Museum Librarian - Chicago, IL
Fascinated by bookplates. Love owls. Perfect combination.
Artwork by Bek Huston, Heathen Ink Corporation in Summit, IL.
I’m a library technician at a Bay Area high school in California. I’ve got a paraprofessional library technology certificate and am in my second year of MLIS coursework at San Jose State. Also a huge fan of The Smiths, the source of the quote, natch, this tattoo was my 31st birthday present to myself in late 2012. Artwork by Dan Gilsdorf at Tattoo 13 in Oakland.
Check out this short article and slideshow about western women and the tattoo at The New Yorker. The article reviews the new, updated edition of Margot Mifflin’s book Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo. It looks like a really interesting book, but I feel like it needs to be said that rather than being “a cultural history, with photographs of tattooed women and female tattoo artists through the ages” it appears to be a work that discusses tattoos and tattooing among white women from the middle 19th century and beyond. Women all over he world have been getting tattooed for thousands of years. Regardless, I’m still excited to check this out!