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Research Proposal (draft)

Jinnan Xie, MA Applied Imagination In Creative Industry


The research would be focused on psychological activity during the tattoo process. The idea generation process before tattooing, which is the way to draw the abstract interior elements (emotions, memory, thoughts) out and visualize them on the body through the painful process.

The question I am asking here would be: How to use tattooing as a tool to enhance psychological well-being for people who intend to have a tattoo but not yet know what they want?


The tattooed community is growing rapidly in recent years according to statistics. Getting a tattoo is much easier not just physically because of the number of tattoo parlours, but also emotionally since this kind of body modification is much more socially acceptable in the pop culture compared to the 1980s.

There are TV shows such as “Tattoo Fixers”, about cover the intolerable tattoos which had been constantly affecting people’s lives and careers. Humanity is complicated and fluid. People go to consultants about career changes and marriage decisions, but there is no expertise helping people to make a permanent body modification decision, such as tattooing.

Once people with bad tattoo decisions start to aware of the negative influences brought to them by the tattoos, they rarely reflect on themselves about how they got it, they will start to tell everyone they know about how getting tattoo is a bad decision, which would certainly stigmatize the tattoo industry.


Researching about the connection between psychology and tattooing is diverse and thorough. But the more I dig into the journals and articles, the clearer that I can identify the gap between academic researching and public acknowledges.

Enlightening the public awareness of serious tattooing is a huge project. I want to do it through two different methods.

For the individuals, I would design workshops with systematic presentation and interactive activities to raise their awareness about the connection between their inner-self and tattooing. Art is only valid when it connects to people, I will guide them using creative skills to visualize their true requirements and convert those to tattoo designs.

For public awareness, I would start to simplify the academic research that to small pieces of phases, post them on social media with illustrations to make them more approachable in the social media content.


If people can truly understand the logic behind my design and start to be genuine and responsible for their tattoo decisions, tattooing would become a beautiful tool to acquire psychological well-being.

It will start a trend of spiritual tattoo or people being their own artist to design their own permanent art pieces.

And I believe that if more people start to recognize tattooing as a path to the inner peace and artistic form of self-branding or self-identification, it could neutralize the negative social impression of tattooing and make the tattoo industry much healthy and sustainable.

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