Perhaps most notably thought of as a persistent trend during World War II, pin up tattoos, and the magazine pull outs these babes originate from, are still an awesome ongoing trend in the tattoo community. Partly because they're gorgeous, and partly because each one has a personality all her own! It's basically like having your dream gal wherever you go!
During the war, soldiers and sailors would pick up magazines with fold outs or full spreads of beautiful paintings, photographs, and illustrations of lovely ladies, which they then would "pin up" in their barracks or quarters, hence where the name pin up comes from! It makes sense...especially if you consider what it must have been like being on location, far from family or lady company for months at a time...these pin up tattoos were a way for these men to dream of beauty, while surrounded by the brutality of war.
Many of the Traditional pin up tattoos we see today were, of course, illustrated or based on illustrations by our favorite tattoo artist heroes like Sailor Jerry, but the trend of creating the likeness of gorgeous women doesn't start there. People often cite Charles Gibson as the guy who put this art form on the map...at the time he created his famous Gibson Girl, 1887, there weren't a whole lotta camera's around, ya know? So, he illustrated the dream girl, and set off an explosion of pop culture phenomenon. This was followed later by artists like Vargas and Petty who stole the scene in the 30's and 40's with their incredible style and flair for catching the magic of mystery. Soon, of course, when cameras got to be produced for more wide spread use, these illustrations died out...
And although Pin Ups from the 40's are thought to be a mans only art form, with women as the subject, there are actually tons of female artists out there who have made a name for themselves creating pin ups as well. Zoe Mozert was the most famous of her time, frequently painting portraits of classic Hollywood starlets like Jane Russell and Rita Hayworth. She was also known for her more realistic approach. "Sure, these painted ladies were still very much in the realm of make-believe, but Zoe worked to have them look like actual women; tiny waists are great and all, but not when they are so teeny that women need to find somewhere new to keep stuff, like their organs…"
But if you think this pin up art form died in the 60's thanks to Playboy's luscious photo sets...think again! Not only are pin up tattoos highly prized, but there are still visual artists pumping out these busty babes on the regular. Olivia de Berardinis is one of these who actually got her start by working for...you guessed it...Playboy! "When the fine art world was too hard to maneuver, my contrarian streak took over and [I] decided to do erotic work for men's magazines in the sexually 'liberated' world of the 70s," Olivia tells The Creators Project.
"When I started working for the men's mags, I was titillated by being in a man's world. I just wasn't supposed to be there, since women weren't supposed to have a sexual appetite or express it. I was supposed to be married and be home with kids. I liked drawing aggressive, dominant women, everything that I wasn't. This was my personal rebellion. I thought I would play at this and then go back to my 'real' art. But I quickly learned it's tough to make a living as an artist and without realizing it, my path was being cemented." Pretty fabulous, right?! If you're looking for your own dream girl to base you dream pin up tattoo on, you may just want to check out her work!