Art over Rebellion: The New Age of Tattoos

Eric Beard Owner & Tattoo Artist at Underground Artworks. Media by Frances Trujillo.

When thinking of art, how often do people consider tattoos as fine art? Tattoos take skill and artistry, just like the Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci. Even though the acceptance of tattoos is still growing in the world of fine arts, the concept of tattoos is not new by any means. There is firm evidence that tattoos are a 12,000-year-old art form. There was even a prehistoric human found with the oldest evidence of tattoos in 3370 BC. Like any other art form, tattoos have gone through movements and trends. For a long time, tattoos were recognized as art, but somewhere along the way, they became a symbol for rebellion. However, they are now making their way back into the art world. Some individuals, such as Eric Beard and Keith Leatherman from Underground Artworks in Edwardsville, Illinois, are not surprised that this multifaceted medium is no longer quite the symbol of rebellion anymore. Tattoos are rich in history, and there are many reasons people get them. Tattooing is a skill and art form. Every step of it takes incredible detail from skin textures to lines, the tattoo machines, the ink, the arrangement of the trays of ink, and the appropriate needles. Each step allows the artist to bring their work to life. Below are some examples of tattoos done by Beard and a quick video of Leatherman, who shares his heart and testament about art and tattooing.

Keith Leatherman at Underground Artworks in Edwardsville, Illinois

“If you don’t have art, you don’t have an appreciation for anything.”

Keith Leatherman

Thank you to Underground Artworks in Edwardsville, Illinois for taking the time to share your thoughts on art and tattooing.

Media by Frances Trujillo.


  1. Another well written article Frances! about some really amazing artist and there specialized trade. Great job!!


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