Inked. To mark words or a design with ink. Tattooed. To mark a person or a part of the body with an indelible design by inserting pigment into punctures in the skin. Both are words defined by Oxford Languages – Google’s English dictionary.
Ink, invented by both the Egyptians and the Chinese around 4,500 years ago. Tattoos, in the form of art on clay figurines were first recovered from tombs in Japan dating to 5,000 before the common era.
Ink is a liquid or paste containing dyes and pigments used for writing or drawing by a pen, brush, or quill or for marking a text, design, image, or coloured surface. Tattoos are an artistic expression used for protection or as a source of power, as an indication of group membership, a status symbol, for religious purposes, or as an adjunct to reconstructive surgery.
Through time and around the world, the use and purpose of ink and tattoos has varied. The most romantic love letters were written with ink. Tattoos immortalize loving memories of those departed to reminders of past struggles and the recovery from things like addiction and depression.
With electronic equipment evolving, one might ask ‘If the need for a means to write manually will disappear, or if technology will become the pen of the future?’. Similarly, one might ask ‘Why have tattoos become the hottest fashion accessory?’
Although I appreciate the speed at which I can type on the computer, and the ease of erasing an ill-placed thought, I respect the effort that accompanies putting pen to paper, contemplating the recipients’ reaction with the curvature of each handwritten letter. Additionally, much like the personal connection I have to a Montblanc fountain pen my dad gave me, I appreciate the sentimental reasons and rationale I impart when telling others about the tattoos I have.
It’s not that the Montblanc is made out of gold, has excellent nibs, or the right amount of springiness without being too boring, but rather, that it was one of my dad’s most treasured gifts, given to him in recognition of his academic achievements. A treasured gift he passed on to me. And it’s not that my tattoos are visible, unless I want them to be, but noting not everyone is fond of any form of tattoo, I make no apologies or rationalizations about the stories I’ve chosen to have inked on my body. Stories of people, possibility, and potential.
So whether you choose to use ink, be inked, find tattoos as a form of art or not, remember to temper your reaction with passion, purpose, and respect.
Jacqueline Biollo is a leading authority on innovative business solutions, government relations, economic development, and community engagement. This former politician participated in the Municipal Partners for Economic Development (MPED) program, in Cambodia (2012). Jacqueline used this and other experiences as the basis for her MBA thesis ‘Economic Development in Small- to Mid-Sized Municipalities’. The photo depicted reads ‘Jacqueline’ in Cambodian. And although she has yet to get this tattooed on her body, someday, she might.