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By Durb Morrison

Today, tattooing is growing at a rapid rate. What once was a guarded and secretive industry is now a booming, educated and artistic industry currently in its renaissance era! The search for new inventions, new products, new approaches and new thought processes have essentially put us into the “Age Of Reinvention.” Tattooing has taken tremendous steps over the last decade, not only with the artistic levels of artists picking up tattoo machines to create unique and amazing tattoos, the equipment and tattoo supplies have also had a reinvention over the last few decades.

There are many modern innovations that utilize new technology, but also other inventions that have refined old products, inventions, and the approach to making tattoos, allowing for never before seen tattooing styles becoming dominant. Watercolor tattoos, color portraits and stippled tattoos were once deemed impossible or against the “rules,” but now they are common within the vast world of tattoo artists.

Tattoo conventions have brought together tattoo collectors and tattoo artists around the world to showcase their styles and canvases. Many artists have made a complete lifestyle around traveling and conventions. Tattoo convention crowds (pre-covid) have been as large as sold out rock shows featuring live bands, competitions, car shows, pinup girl contests and art galleries in addition to all of the tattooing. With so much more to entertain and educate the audience about the art of tattooing, entire families are attending conventions, inspiring future generations to get tattooed or to become tattoo artists themselves.

The introduction of innovative tattoo products and the era of safer, disposable tattoo products has given tremendous traction to tattoo artists and studios worldwide. These new products have given modern artists the ability to push the boundaries of tattooing on skin like never before. Disposable tattoo products have increased the safety of not only clients but also the artists who no longer need to expose themselves to the painstaking procedure of scrubbing hundreds of dirty tubes during the sterilization process.

This “Age of Reinvention” can be seen through a wide array of innovative tattoo products including cartridge tattoo needles, rotary machines and rotary pens, wireless batteries for machines, wireless machines, adjustable click grip tubes, eco-friendly and disposable tattoo products, disposable tubes, memory foam grip covers, pneumatic tattoo machines, iPad and the Apple pencil, advancements in tattoo ink, bluetooth power units, rinse cup solidifiers, ergonomic tattoo furniture, thermal fax printers for stencils, Russ Abbott’s Color Wheel, and stencil application solutions and gels. There have also been a slew of new theories pertaining to tattoo aftercare that have led to the use of products like Saniderm and other similar bandaging that enables better healing.

Technology is one of the leading contributors to the growth of tattooing. Smartphones have amazing cameras that capture tattoos like never before. The technology behind tattooing has also contributed and changed how the equipment functions as well as allowing artists to go wireless with their machines and power units. Digital technology has been a huge advancement and reinvention for tattooing and the artists that use modern digital tools like photoshop, Procreate for the iPad, Russ Abbott’s Tattoo Smart brushes for the iPad, Wacom tablets. Z brush, Ink Weasel Machine App that runs off of audio signal and the Tattoo Stencil app by Pony Lawson.. This is just the tip of the iceberg as there is new tech emerging every single day.

The surge in popularity of social media has led to many tattoo artists using it as their main platform to show their work, in many ways replacing their tattoo portfolio. The days when you had to mail in photos to magazines are long gone, replaced by sending files over email. There are many great social media apps, pages and networks that today's artists use to showcase their work, participate in online groups, take seminars and more. Guy Aitchison’s Reinventing The Tattoo app is probably the most thorough app available if you’re looking to learn and participate in some great tattoo projects, discussions and more. Instagram is obviously the most widely used and popular platform, but artists also utilize Facebook, Google, Pinterest, TikTok and more!

Many tattoo artists have contributed to the reinvention with modern day tattooing styles and products. Today’s tattoo artist typically has some form of art training that allows them to produce the high caliber tattoos we’ve become used to seeing.. It’s clearly visible how the art of tattooing has changed with styles that were never considered tattooable being achieved on the skin today, as artists bring new ideas and mindsets to the industry. The artistic styles of tattooing have been refined over the last few decades, carving a new path for future tattoo generations to develop upon. The last decade has brought so many new inventions, tattoo styles and reinventions that the world of tattooing has never been more exciting and it’s thrilling to see what the future of tattooing holds!