Skip to content


Art and Science: What Is a Tattoo?

Few subjects have their relationships portrayed as wrongly as science and art. Popular culture presents art and science as natural opposites, one the domain of emotion and the other of hard math, with nothing to say to each other.

We here at Talk Science to Me disagree completely. Art and science are the most natural partners since gravy and cheese curds. (Ask your favourite Canadian if you don’t get it.) Getting people to understand difficult topics requires more than mathematical formulas and dense, precise prose. Art brings to science an understanding of what affects people, what connects ideas in a helpful way, and how to arrange the pieces of a story to make sure that the person receiving it comes away with the desired message. Conversely, science is also necessary for creating art. Science has studied how narrative structures create effective or ineffective stories, how visual composition affects the impression made by photos and paintings, and numerous other details about how art works. More than that, art depends critically on science to understand the materials of which it is made. Materials science explains how textiles interact when bonded together, which inks mix with or overlay which other inks in an artwork, and how to safely store and handle old books to keep them from disintegrating. Far from being opposites, art and science are in endless conversation, and nowhere is this more evident than in the art of tattooing.

Read More »Art and Science: What Is a Tattoo?