When Do Tattoos Become Art?

Once the mark of sailors and bikers, body art is now sought after by the fashion-hungry. For many, the difference between fine art and modern tattooing has disappeared.

Many major cities have tattoo artists with huge followings. In New York, Anil Gupta is reported to charge up to $400 an hour. Another Briton living in America, Steve Byrne, also has people seeking him out. "At least half of the people I tattoo have travelled to find me, or caught me at a convention in their area," Byrne said. Tattoo conventions are commonplace now. More surprisingly, so are art gallery exhibits featuring tattoo artists and their skin work. Last year, Vancouver held an exhibition of tattoo art, as did the Noyes Museum of Art in New Jersey, the Arts Center@319 in Virginia and even the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

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(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
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Scott Barbour/Getty Images
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