“I smoke a brown pipe like the breast of a little negress.” -Francis Jammes
About four years ago i bought my first pipe. I have been utterly obsessed with them ever since. i own somewhere around 50 of them and don’t want to even think how much money i have spent on pipes and pipe accessories. I once sold a guitar to cover half of the total price of a pipe i HAD to have. i love everything about them. I get giddy every time i see one on a shelf in a junk antique mall, or an old add with some guy smoking a pipe. But being a tattooer i get a bit of EXTRA excitement when i see a tattoo or tattoo flash incorporating pipes. I love history in general, so, when i particularly love a topic i enjoy looking into its history all the more. Europe and America’s “civilized” cultures have a relatively young history when it comes to tattoos. Roughly 150 years. If you go back and look through the flash designs there are mainstays that have stood strong through the changing of times. Snakes, dragons, eagles, flags, skulls, hearts, and things of this sort will always be classics. But there are other types of designs that did not remain part of the traditions. Hordes of strange and corky designs were ignored for decades. BUT, more recently there has been a great resurgence in traditional tattoos. More and more people are reaching into tattoos past to rediscover the images people once chose to adorn themselves for whatever reasons. Even the weirdest and most obscure of designs.
Pipes and Tobacco are intimately tangled with western society’s culture and history. So it is a given that in classic american and european tattoo designs pipes would be quite present. I think this is the reason that there has been such a boom in tattooers using pipes as a common theme in their work. And as for me, I think its awesome. think about it. A skull makes a great tattoo, but maybe you want to spice it up a bit… BAM! Put a pipe in it’s mouth and you got something.
I think also pipes have become something of a nostalgic iconic image so in nearly any context it adds something aesthetically eye catching to the design, whatever it may be.
I stole a few random tattoos and paintings from tattooers websites as some examples, I didn’t have permission but i took them with all esteem and respect. There is so much more tattoo work out there continually incorporating pipes as a theme but these were a few i knew i could conveniently find. Hope someone can appreciate this topic as much as me.
These first four are by Robert Ryan.
I love this crazy one by Mr four eyes