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Highbrow, pierced brow — Highbrow culture for a lowbrow art form? Depends on what your definition of lowbrow is, but that's how needled.com is trumpeting itself: an intellectual blog for connoisseurs of permanent skin art.

It's run by Marisa DiMattia, a heavily inked lawyer and self-proclaimed "tattoo snob" who's married to acclaimed tattooist Dan DeMattia. As she states on the site, her goal is "to educate the masses on the artistry of the craft versus mistakes made over spring break."

The site is updated frequently, with topics ranging from new health study findings on tattoos and infection, to The Daily Show's recent lampooning of "tattoo discrimination."

"Just like high art shouldn't be limited to the rich, tattoo art doesn't have to be restricted to the underground," Marisa said in an recent issue of Inked, (inkedmag.com) another venture in tattoo connoisseurship that looks sort of like Vogue meets Tattoo Flash. Glossy and thick, it's extremely stylish and features profiles on a wide variety of tattooed brethren, not just the heavily tattooed. In fact, the issue on stands right now has a feature on Detroit's own Trent Vanegas, a rising star of the celebrity blogosphere, and proprietor of pinkisthenewblog.com.

Other than the highbrow crowd, it seems there's a Web site for just about every niche in the tattoo culture: The Christian Tattoo Association (xtat.org), traditional Japanese tattoos (horimono.net), even bad tattoos (badtattoos.com).

Speaking of the latter, there's even a version of "Am I Hot Or Not" for tattoos: rankmytattoos.com (predictably, most of them are of the tiny, blurry fairy or Tasmanian-devil-chugging-a-beer variety).

Know of an interesting, bizarre or educational Web site you’d like to see featured here? Send it to backslash@metrotimes.com

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