The Truth About Your Favorite Tattoos

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Tattoos have been around a long time. So long, in fact, that there’s no real consensus on when the practice began, where it started, or why. Historical and archeological evidence shows tattooing was practiced throughout the world in antiquity, rising in popularity in recent years. In fact, nearly 40% of millennials have at least one tattoo, according to the Pew Research Center.

And after speaking with several tattoo artists, we’re pretty sure we know which one’s the current Pinterest favorite: “The feather that’s breaking into a million birds,” says tattoo artist Megan Massacre, cofounder of Grit N Glory clothing and tattoo studio in NYC. “There must be tens of thousands of people on the planet with that tattoo right now. If I see another one, I’m going to puke.” Noted.

Here, a quick history of Western tattoos of the past and present, plus a peek into the future.