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Beneath tattoos are the meanings they have for the people wearing them. A philosophy of tattoos must recognize the personal and particular identities, values and ideals of those who wear them. Although meaning lies invisibly on the other side of the skin, it is crucial to understanding tattoos as an art form. A "human canvas" is not a two-dimensional surface. What does it mean when art is intrinsically connected to living persons? The "art” in question is charged with evolving social and personal histories. In this talk, Maureen Eckert will discuss how this invisible side of the tattoo arts plays a role in its popularity and commercialization while it paradoxically resists full commercialization and challenges the traditional fine arts. There is something radical about tattoos, although it is not anything obvious.