Janis Joplin’s Wrist Tattoo – A Symbol of Feminine Power

Janis Joplin

Janis Lyn Joplin born on January 19, 1943 was unassailable one of the biggest if not the biggest female rock star idol in the history. Janis’s nickname was Pearl. Somewhere in the 60’s she buried the old Janis Lyn and started the second part of her life as Pearl. “I’m tired of being Janis, call me Pearl” she said. Not only Janis Joplin but her wrist tattoo as well are still a subject of imagination to many.

Janis Joplin’s Wrist Tattoo

Her wrist tattoo is not only a symbol of the legend Janis Joplin still is but also a symbol for the liberation of women. The design represents a Florentine bracelet and was placed on her outer wrist. The tattoo is black, with a mix of another color. The exact colors are difficult to determine because of the fact that there are only a few black and white photos of the design available. A Florentine bracelet is a historic piece of jewelry. Fifteenth century century Florentine goldsmiths engraved metal with a chisel and filled up the engraved ornaments with a compound made of lead, sulfur and silver. The result was a highly contrasting very visible design. Just like Janis ,one of the first famous wearers of a wrist tattoo in modern pop culture, being very visible and contrasting.Janis Joplin said this about her tattoo: “I wanted some decoration. See, the one on my wrist is for everybody; the one on my tit is for me and my friends.” She paused and chuckled, “Just a little treat for the boys, like icing on the cake.”

Lyle Tuttle

Lyle Tuttle born in 1931 is one of the biggest legends in the tattooing industry. He started his tattooing career in 1949. Tuttle has had a great positive influence into taking tattooing from underground to mainstream. The great artist tattooed the famous design on Janis’s wrist in his shop on Seventh Street in San Francisco. When asked for his explanation for the fact that tattoos gained popularity in the 1950’s he replied: “Women’s liberation! One hundred percent women’s liberation!” Women were free to get a tattoo if they wanted. This development resulted in Tuttle tattooing almost nothing but women and changed the perspective tattooing was in. “Women made tattooing a softer and kinder art form.” Tuttle said. Lyle Tuttle retired from tattooing in 1990.

Janis Joplin’s Wrist Tattoo as a Symbol of Female Power.

Tuttle’s most well known clients are pop stars Janis Joplin and Cher. These are both women who are known for being strong. Their tattoos have certainly contributed to image. Joplin is said to brake that male barrier. She made women stronger, more assertive and self confident. That must be one of the reasons the Florentine bracelet design is a very popular design for a wrist tattoo for women until today.On October 4, 1970 Janis Joplin died on her hotel room as a result of a heroin overdose.