Possible Project Proposal

For a while I’ve been interested in tattooing and different forms of body art and modification. I’m still saving up for my first tattoo, but I do have a few piercing and I’m looking to get a few more. I’ve had a nose piercing, monroe, cartilage, and two in each of my ear lobes. I’ve been researching different tattoos and I’m looking for a large phoenix on my right shoulder.

However,while it’s very common to see facial piercings and visible tattoos in the United States, I know that it is not as common or accepted to see these forms of body art in other cultures. I want to look into a different society’s view of this. To look at the culture surrounding body modification/art and how people in Beijing society who have body art are perceived/if there is any stigma surrounding the practice.

Chinese tattooing has a very interesting history, here is a link to a brief article on it. While I haven’t done extensive research on this particular topic, I am very interested in delving deeper into the art and technique itself and how body art is viewed in Chinese culture today.

In order to carry out this project there will be certain problems that I will have to overcome, like the constriction of time, the fact that I’ll only be in one, very large city, and the problem that I will probably have to restrict the project to just one tattoo parlor/ tattoo venue. Obviously, I have a feel for good or bad tattoo places in Beijing right now. I have the disadvantage of not living there to understand the perception of the artists around the city. I’ll be going in blind, and that is scary, but I think I will be able to overcome these challenges.

Money, time, and distance are all constraining factors for possibly carrying out this project.  Right now, unless I get extremely lucky, I’m thinking that I will have to take a taxi or some other form or transportation (which will take longer) to even reach my destination. Transportation is going to cost money and time, then there’s trying to find a place that will allow me to interview and generally just hang around the place.  I think my biggest challenge is going to be finding the best place, one that is most representative of a “typical” Chinese parlor that’s also in a safe area that I can get to, to conduct my research.

At the end of my stay there I hope to have done good research that will be able to explain/define the cultural perspective of body art, and that explains the typical Chinese tattoo technique.

In addition to having a good report, I also want to get my first tattoo while in Beijing. Whether I choose the same place where I will be interviewing or not, I don’t know. But, I suppose I will find out come the summer!