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The Aesthetically Meaningful Tattoo: A Gadamerian Case Study

Jhuren Vicson C. Santander
Institute of Arts and Science
Far Eastern University
Manila, Philippines





The paper focuses on Gadamer’s philosophical aesthetics, explaining the artistic meanings and experiences of contemporary tattoos and tattooing. The paper discusses further by looking specifically at the following sub-concepts concerning an aesthetically meaningful tattoo from the perspective of tattoo artists and enthusiasts. Contemporary tattooing is considered mainstream; it is also one of the fastest growing industries globally. This provided different perspective in the development of contemporary tattooing. It includes the understanding and interpretation of the aesthetic experience and meaning. The paper sees this opportunity of investigating under the philosophical aesthetic perspective contemporary tattooing through the accounts of the artists and enthusiasts in a community. The study with phenomenological approach under Gadamerian aesthetics interviewed different contemporary tattoo artists and enthusiasts under one community. The study used the qualitative methodology by doing key informant interviews. It provided the qualitative in-depth interviews with people who have the knowledge of what was going on in the community. The study focused on the aesthetic experience of the artists and enthusiasts while interpreting it on Gadamer’s aesthetic and the concepts of pain and permanency. The study also discussed the aesthetically meaningful tattoo explained through the fulfillment and realization of the aesthetic concepts. Through this, the paper arrived in the signification of contemporary tattooing.

Keywords: Tattoo, Contemporary Tattoo, Aesthetics, Hermeneutics, Philosophy, Philosophy of Art, Gadamer

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