When you think of the 1920s, you probably think of “Hollywood,” a decade where movies were made that made no sense whatsoever, and were mostly filled with the exploits of men.
However, there was a period in American history when women’s careers were on the rise, and the first tattoos in that era were all designed to make you look sexy.
“There was this period where there was this real demand for a tattoo that was alluring,” explains Anna Schulman, a tattoo artist who specializes in the 1920’s.
“Women were becoming more independent and more empowered.
Tattoos were becoming popular, and they were very popular because they weren’t limited to just men, so they could express themselves in ways that weren’t always limited to the male gaze.”
Schulmans work is part of a new tattoo series for Entertainment Weekly, and it focuses on “Black Baths,” a series of images from the 1920-30s that are meant to capture the women’s lives before, during, and after bathing.
The images include images of women like Emily Brontë, Helen Keller, and Elsie Goulding, all of whom would have had their first tattoo during the 1920.
The series has featured images from all kinds of women, from the beautiful to the ugly, from working-class ladies like Mary Pickford to famous actors like Mae West.
The tattoo images are all drawn by the artist herself, but there’s also a lot of collaboration to be had, thanks to the tattoo artist herself.
“I have to be careful with the color,” she says.
“When I’m creating these images, I need to be aware of what I’m going to be putting on.”
Schullmans goal with the series is to capture “a whole range of different things, but one thing that’s really exciting is the fact that it’s a collaboration with artists all over the world.”
She tells Entertainment Weekly that the aim is to make a series that is more about “beauty, femininity, and freedom.”
“I want it to be accessible for everyone,” she explains.
“The first thing that you’ll notice is that this is a work that’s very contemporary, and very stylized, and you’re going to feel very connected to it.”
Check out some of the images below and see what you think.