John Samson’s 1975 documentary Tattoo explores its subject with a detached visual sensuality. At times reminiscent of Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising, Tattoo dances between the flesh, the fantasy, the mundane and the marvelous.
Tattoo can be seen as a statement against conventional beauty. Influenced by the imagery of painter, sculptor and print-maker Allen Jones, it examines the art of tattooing and its role in the rise of alternative culture. Featuring interviews with tattoo artists and their clients and exploring the fascination with and reasons behind ‘body art’, for over 15 years it remained virtually the only documentary on this subject.