What is Tattoo Flash?

Updated 03/28/19
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What is tattoo flash art?

If you've ever gotten a tattoo when you were young, intoxicated, or both, you probably have a piece of tattoo flash art. Flash art are common designs, usually drawn on paper or cardboard and displayed prominently on the walls or in binders in some tattoo shops. The selection at tattoo studios can be quite mesmerizing.

Tattoo flash art comes in all sizes, but is typically found on 11x14 inch prints. Sometimes it includes a separate line drawing, which is drawn on a different sheet and used to keep the artist from needing to draw his own new outline with each tattoo.

Flash art can either be drawn by the artist giving the tattoo, or can be bought and sold. In the early days, it was usually hand-drawn locally, with shops using their own designs. Later, professional flash artists began to sell prints of their artwork at conventions and then, the internet.

Why did flash art lose its popularity?

Flash has seen a recent decline in the tattoo industry. More people have been getting tattoos, and wearing ink is no longer the taboo that it once was. With the increasing interest in getting tattooed, more people are wanting custom art. Many people have very specific ideas for their personal designs and what their tattoo will mean to them.

Others might not have anything specific in mind, but prefer a piece of art that is unique to them, inked by a talented artist. With notable artists like Kat Von D and tattoo reality shows such as LA Ink and Miami Ink, flash art was increasingly cast aside in favor of custom artwork. The common pieces that everyone wanted were replaced in favor of design-your-own pieces or people willing to tell a custom artist to do whatever they want, and to get as creative as possible.

Wearing your own idea is a very personal statement. You should have some idea what you want whether it is custom or a flash design. Custom art appeals to our own inner artist, and our need to tell the world how we feel. Sometimes, we just want to express ourselves, artistically. For others, tattoos can be a way to tell others their deepest beliefs and passions. With custom work, there are no limitations on self-expression.

Will flash art ever return?

Custom art is all the rage at the moment, and for good reason. Does that mean that flash art will someday be a thing of the past? Don't count on it! There is a timeless quality to well-designed flash art. The bold lines and classic designs are beautiful creations that never go out of style. Flash is great for giving people ideas when they aren't quite certain what they want inked. Flash art has the advantage of being something the artist had practiced, making it easier for the artist and, usually, less expensive for the customer.

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