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Traditional American tattoos gained in popularity following this time period and had an enormous leap in popularity during World War II, particularly among American Navy sailors.
Today their unique and instantly recognizable tattoo art is undergoing a modernization that is increasingly common in the American South.
The artwork done here is unique, particularly in the way that American Traditional style tattoosincorporate visual elements of Southern culture and Southern life.
Anchors, ships, ropes, (and of course women and liquor) were staples of these tattoo designs. Many common Southern design elements include moths (often moths common to the South, or Virginia specifically), cardinals, roosters (while not particularly Southern, their connotation of rural life meshes well with imagery of the South), tomatoes, blue jays, banjos, and a host of other imagery that carries Southern, rural, or Appalachian connotations.


This, combined with the increasingly common tattoo festivals throughout the US and the world, are spreading the beauty of Southern style American Traditional tattoos to people around the country and around the world who might otherwise never have been exposed to them.Why Southern tattoos are part of the Traditional American styleTraditional American tattoos were known for their simplicity and their individual meaning.
In other tattoo cultures throughout history, a single image might have the same meaning regardless of who was wearing it.
The flowers, waves, and many other design elements of Japanese tattoos are intended to have uniform meaning so that getting a tattoo that contained these images had the same meaning. Uniform meaning in tattooing was often a way to establish rank within a society, group, or organization.
While tattoos, particularly ones with meaning tied to the individual being tattooed, will often have a unique design element, the use of images with both universal and individual meaning is a special feature of the Southern style of American Traditional tattoos.


If you happen to be in Richmond, VA and are looking for a place to get your very own Southern style tattoo, check out our tattoo shop listing page.



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