Masters Thesis

Beyond skin deep: the art of informed tattoo collection

Self-discovery presents itself in a myriad of forms. One of the forms utilized for this purpose is that of artistic expression. Tattooing as a vehicle of artistic expression has evolved over time and today tattoos are utilized as a mechanism for self-discovery. This study seeks to expand on prior research conducted by Kathryn Irwin (2003) in efforts to classify a new subcategory of tattoo collection, that of the informed tattoo collector. Using Peter Burke’s Identity Theory (1996), this study utilizes the concepts of identity, salience, commitment and self-knowledge to gain insight into the process of becoming an informed tattoo collector. In addition, to determine if any informed tattoo collectors exist on the campus of California State University Bakersfield. Research consists of scholarly journals, books and an on-line survey to gather quantitative and qualitative statistics. This study concluded that one respondent met all the specified criteria of an informed tattoo collector and that future research is this area is a viable consideration. It would be of great benefit to expand upon this research by conducting surveys and field interviews outside of the California State University campus and compare/contrast the findings.

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