Lots of people in Toronto have tattoos, but although we see them peeking out from under sleeves, collars and pant legs we rarely know the stories behind them.
Someone in the city has started an Instagram account cataloging tattoos of the people in Toronto, sharing simple photos paired with short explanations of the body art straight from the people who have them.
"Tattoos of Toronto started in January of 2020 as a way to showcase stories and art. With a background in social work, and a fascination with tattoos, I've had a curiosity of people's experiences and the meaning behind their tattoos. In many communities, there still exists a stigma about tattoos," Zeba Tayabee, who startedTattoos of Toronto, told blogTO.
"I wanted to show that there's more than just ink on a body,there is a story. As someone with a tattoo as part of a culture where both tattoos and mental health are taboo, I weaved my narrative into art to redefine and reclaim my body. After reading the stories featured on the Humans of New York page, I had an idea to combine my interests and do something similar."
The Humans of New York Instagram acccount has been around for a while, and is now a verified account and has an IRL book counterpart. Tattoos of Toronto follows a similar formula to Humans of NY, pairing simple photos with stories.
"When the project first launched, I asked friends and family, found people through word of mouth, walked around the streets and handed out printed cards with the Instagram handle or left them at different places hoping people would message," says Tayabee.
"COVID-19 has limited my ability to reach out to people in person, but I have used the power of social media and tattoo artists in the Toronto/ GTHA area to connect with people who want to share."
The compelling and sometimes heartbreaking stories behind people's tattoos on the Toronto account range from 18th birthdays to grandmothers battling cancer to past gang ties. Tattoo styles range from illustrative, to extremely simple linework, to lettering, black and white, full colour, old school, ornew school.
"There has been such a positive response to the project from both the people involved and outside observers. For some participants, it was the first time someone asked them about their tattoo, for others, it brought back memories of where they were in their lives when they got the tattoo," says Tayabee.
"People were more than happy to share their stories and found the experience cathartic. For those reading the posts, I often get messages about how people can relate to the story, who want to share their own story, or know someone that might. The richness of the stories and the unique artworkkeeps observers wanting more. It has also become a platform to tag artists."
Some of the tattoos are crisp and absolutely stunning, some muddy and aged, but regardless they all have a story to tell and a deeper meaning. So whether you want to shine some light on the brilliant artist who tattooed you or want to open up to the Internet about the art on your body, Tayabee is looking to hear from you.
"You can follow the project on Instagram @tattoos.of.toronto," says Tayabee."If you would like to share your story, please message me and I would like to hear from you."
- 5 Best Tattoo Artists in Houston - Kev's Best - February 19th, 2021
- Ink Evolution - Flathead Beacon - February 19th, 2021
- It doesnt get easier with time: Smiths continue to move forward while honoring loved ones - Fox17 - February 19th, 2021
- Arteta refuses to confirm whether Aubameyang broke rules by getting tattoo - BT Sport - February 19th, 2021
- Irish tattoo artist recalls the day Britney Spears came to Bray - Newstalk - February 19th, 2021
- Did you know entrepreneur Naman Arora is a top-notch tattoo artist? Read to know more about the creative genius! - News Track English - February 19th, 2021
- 3 Men Shared the Stories Behind the Epic Tattoos They Got to Cover Their Scars - menshealth.com - February 19th, 2021
- Want to get a finger tattoo? Here's what to keep in mind before taking the plunge - VOGUE India - February 17th, 2021
- Arsenal investigate Aubameyang over reported COVID-19 tattoo breach - ESPN - February 17th, 2021
- Tributes paid in memory of talented Blood Rush tattoo artist - Leighton Buzzard Observer - February 17th, 2021
- Artist and Influencer Mikey B Made It is legally trappin art from the hood to Hollywood - Press Release - Digital Journal - February 17th, 2021
- Charlie Cartwright: The Godfather of Black-and-Grey Fine Line Tattooing - Scene 360 - February 17th, 2021
- Exploring the process of becoming a tattoo artist - Argonaut - February 14th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Share the Tattoo Ideas So Bad They Actually Refused to Do Them - menshealth.com - February 14th, 2021
- Tattoo artists reveal the one inking theyve been asked to do but had to refuse - Daily Star - February 11th, 2021
- Show what you love: Manchester resident Lizzie Wright in the running to be Inked magazines next cover girl - Baltimore Sun - February 11th, 2021
- Tattoo artists reveal the one tattoo they have had to refuse to do - Buzz.ie - February 11th, 2021
- These Tattoo Artists Shared the Worst Mistakes Theyve Ever Made - menshealth.com - February 11th, 2021
- Feel the Bern: Warm up with the top 10 Bernie Sanders memes The Rocky Mountain Collegian - Rocky Mountain Collegian - February 11th, 2021
- Tattoo artists reveal their worst mistakes ever and how the clients reacted - Daily Star - February 11th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Tattoos They Love Doing the Most - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 10th, 2021
- Halsey Doesn't Want To Go 'Overboard' On Pregnancy Cravings - OK! - February 10th, 2021
- Becky G Just Got 2 New Tattoos in One Day, and I Thought I Had a High Pain Threshold - POPSUGAR - February 10th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Best Tattoos They'll Never Get Tired of Doing - menshealth.com - February 10th, 2021
- Nine things tattoo artists hate clients doing when they get inked - Daily Star - February 10th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Tattoos They're Most Sick of Seeing - menshealth.com - February 7th, 2021
- Student, 23, who cant tell her left from right gets L and R TATTOOED on her hands as a permanent reminder - The Irish Sun - February 7th, 2021
- 'Basic' tattoos artists secretly hate doing - and the ones they'll refuse to give - Cambridgeshire Live - February 6th, 2021
- With Pastel Devil Studio, these artists are reimagining today's tattoo parlor - St. Louis Magazine - February 6th, 2021
- Marijuana law reform in Japan contingent on the message - The Japan Times - February 6th, 2021
- Bricks placed in Southern Indiana remember those who have died from drug overdose - WHAS11.com - February 6th, 2021
- Vans Tapped 4 Artists to Design Shoes For Black History Month, and We Talked to Them All - POPSUGAR - February 6th, 2021
- 20 Interesting Facts About the South Korean Boy Band BTS - Music in Minnesota - Music in Minnesota - February 6th, 2021
- 10 Celebs Who Have Face Tattoos | TheThings - TheThings - February 6th, 2021
- Walter Suza: A city along the Mississippi seeks to defeat hate - Ames Tribune - February 6th, 2021
- If Norman Rockwell were alive today: North Jersey photo exhibit updates iconic artists works - NJ.com - February 4th, 2021
- Jhene Aiko & 9 Other Celebs Who Got Huge Portraits Of Their Partners Tattooed On Them - TheThings - February 4th, 2021
- Columbus rappers and engineers embrace work from home with new DIY spaces - Columbus Alive - February 4th, 2021
- Chris Evans Has Way More Tattoos Than You Think - menshealth.com - February 4th, 2021
- The sweet side of a sour pandemic - IU Southeast Horizon - February 4th, 2021
- Student, 23, who cant tell her left from right gets L and R TATTOOED on her hands as a permanent reminder - The Sun - February 4th, 2021
- No one said folding clothes was easy, but this folding board makes it quick - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 4th, 2021
- Bedford Has a Year-Round All-Horror Shop - Dallas Observer - February 4th, 2021
- 'Basic' tattoos artists secretly hate doing - and the ones they'll refuse to do - Mirror Online - February 4th, 2021
- One Arm Willie makes his mark on the local tattoo industry - Mountain Xpress - February 4th, 2021
- How to plan your tattoo - Nation Online - nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper - February 4th, 2021
- The most basic tattoos artists secretly hate as they reveal the one inking they will NEVER do - The Sun - February 2nd, 2021
- Six tattoos artists secretly hate doing and the one inking they refuse to do - Daily Star - February 2nd, 2021
- 90 Day Fianc Recap: They Really Titled This Episode The No Bang Theory - Vulture - February 2nd, 2021
- Brett Young Honors His Children By Getting Tattoos Of Their Heartbeats By Bubba Irwin - Music Mayhem Magazine - February 2nd, 2021
- Rye grads put a spotlight on Toronto's diverse artists with How T.O. Art - The Eyeopener - February 2nd, 2021
- Cara Delevingne & Other Models Who Made It In The Industry With Visible Tattoos - TheThings - February 2nd, 2021
- Heres What Halseys Mysterious Matching Seeds Tattoo With Her Boyfriend Alev Means - Cosmopolitan - February 2nd, 2021
- Denver tattoo artist goes viral for her take on the wildly popular Bernie Sanders meme - The Denver Channel - January 31st, 2021
- For the love of Ink - Daily Pioneer - January 31st, 2021
- Michigan family mourns death of son they say was pushed to the breaking point by stop in high school sports - MLive.com - January 31st, 2021
- Style 'The Bernie Meme' Is Forever Immortalized on a Denver Man's Body - ourcommunitynow.com - January 31st, 2021
- Halsey and Alev Aydin Have Matching Tattoos and the Meaning Behind Them Will Make You Melt - Seventeen.com - January 31st, 2021
- For artist Tim Eakin, each tattoo has 'got to be the best thing ever' - Canton Repository - January 30th, 2021
- Pattaya tattoo artists have only red ink - Pattaya Mail - January 30th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Talked About Their Mistakes and Now We'll Think Twice Before Getting a Tattoo - nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper - January 30th, 2021
- Arrow Brings The El Duce Tapes & Shogun's Joy Of Torture In February - Inside Pulse - January 30th, 2021
- Kim Jones, roller derby and haute couture debuts: whats in fashion? - i-D - January 30th, 2021
- Can You Wear Floral on Your Buzz Cut? - The New York Times - January 27th, 2021
- #Balancetontatoueur: one of the accused tattooists files a complaint against the Instagram account which wanted to break the omerta - Inspired... - January 27th, 2021
- Is The King of Staten Island based on a true story? Which parts have been fictionalised? - Republic World - January 27th, 2021
- Integrity Ink Provides Fast, Effective, and Affordable Full-Spectrum Laser Tattoo Removal in Crosby, TX with the Astanza Trinity Laser - GlobeNewswire - January 27th, 2021
- New Year New Me LifeChanging Scalp Micropigmentation For Men and Women - Pro News Report - January 27th, 2021
- Missing and Murdered in the Midwest Crime Chat: Hello 2021 & Bloody Good Book Club - WQAD.com - January 25th, 2021
- Ireland Baldwin Tugs Down Her Pants To Show Off Her Lace Panties, Butt, And Tattoo - The Inquisitr - January 25th, 2021
- Socceroo Jackson Irvine explains his viral Simpsons tattoo that won over a writer from the show - Sporting News AU - January 24th, 2021
- From Grassroots To Grand Circuit Glory - Standardbred Canada - January 24th, 2021
- Face tattoos give Indigenous woman a chance to reclaim traditional form of self-expression - CBC.ca - January 24th, 2021
- Tattoo artist Les Bowen reflects on 61 years inking bodies and change from underground to art form - ABC News - January 22nd, 2021
- Sherbrooke-based tattoo artists ready to get back to the studio - Sherbrooke Record - January 22nd, 2021
- The Dangerous Risks of Eye Tattoos, According to Body Modification Artist Who Invented Them - Yahoo Lifestyle - January 22nd, 2021
- Denver Tattoo Shop Owner Finally Gets Some Attention From the City - Westword - January 22nd, 2021
- Travis Ross makes another visit to Accelerated Charter High School - YourCentralValley.com - January 22nd, 2021
- Remington Tattoo Parlor and Gallery Claims To Be The Best Option For Those Searching Online For "Female Tattoo Artists Near Me" In San Diego... - January 20th, 2021
- Getting inked is becoming more acceptable - The Signal - The Signal - January 20th, 2021