The “home-made” tattoo is a homecoming shaped glance, while its democratization and that multiple studios with clinical tunes were somewhat sanitized tattoo, long adventure symbol margin. The “homemade” has long been the essence of the tattoo, the only way to practice when he prided himself in the darkness of bridges barque that roamed the oceans or in that of the prison cells. It was then a clandestine art, the sailors and thugs stung on their bodies by mimicry, cocky, melancholy or revolt. It was the era of “snatching”, a technique using three hands linked together by a piece of wire. In Paris, the bad boys came under the “Triplets” itinerant tattoo artists like Remy father on the banks of the Villette, Mederic Chanut who officiated in the back rooms of bars of the Roquette district or the Zéphyrin father who cleaned the saliva skins when there was no water spirits. Indeed, the underground practice is not without health risks, and old remember the bad fevers and other suspicious itching, in the best case. The sensations “before” go together with their possible inconveniences …

At the end of the nineteenth century, thanks to the invention of the electric machine, more and more tattoo studios – the first of which was born in the US in 1849 – multiplied in port cities and the slow standardization discipline began. Over the decades, shops left the shallows to invade the cities and the countryside, letting go through their ever more light windows. Today, tattooing is more accessible than ever, open to all. Almost commonplace, it is less a witness to an unusual career, a “product” of high consumption. Failing to find the strength of the commitment it implied, the home-made may be the way for some to give a soul to the tattoo, finding the intensity of the act and by forging a memory more staff.


A film directed by Marc-Aurèle Vecchione
Résistance Films & Arte France. 2013