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Tattoo Trends
By Laurrel Allison 12/09/2020

With the year already complete, it is clear that 2020-2021 brought with it no shortage of tattoo styles. Though many of these styles have been around a lot longer, they have only recently begun to make waves in the tattoo community and beyond. With changing employee standards, some businesses may not even think twice about letting your tattoos be showcased during the work shift. For some people, tattoos are part of life. Picking which one will be next and where it shall fit are typical musings. For others, the following trends are an alluring temptation to get inked. While I’m only going to touch on a couple different meanings and methods of these tattoos, there are undoubtedly many others applicable. 

1. Watercolour


With many tattoos, the artist likes to start out with an outline— or even the complete tattoo— drawn up beforehand. In some cases, the design is temporarily transferred to the client’s skin. After this is done, the artist shall go over the design with their tools in order to embed the image. However, watercolor tattoos work a little bit differently. There are high levels of focus and work that go into creating the perfect watercolor tattoo. While there may be a rough outline of the piece, the color is done completely freehand. Carefully applying different methods such as bleeds, blurs, shades, runs, and fades creates the stunning effect of a watercolor image. 

2. Koi


There are many meanings behind the koi fish. The reasons why people choose to have this type of tattoo are personal to each individual. There is a myth of the koi fish which tells a tale of the koi swimming upstream and fighting against the current for a hundred years. Upon coming to a waterfall, many koi turned back while a number remained to continue struggling forward. When one koi finally made it to the top of the waterfall, the Gods were so impressed with his strength and determination that they gifted him with the form of a dragon. Among other things, koi tattoos may represent tenacity, bravery, good luck, and the objective to go above and beyond. 

3. Skulls


Skulls can be quite controversial. Looking upon skulls and skeletons, one may perceive only death and destruction. Others see transformation and connection. Skulls are one of the most popular designs in the tattoo community. They also hold a myriad of connotations. It all depends on the wearer. Perhaps they have experienced great change and see the skull as a symbol of that metamorphosis. Maybe they appreciate the morbidity of life and associate skulls with gloom. When I look at a skull, I am reminded that underneath our fleshly houses, our structures are exactly the same and that strangely comforts me. 

4. Symbols


The beautiful thing about shapes is how ambiguous they could be. When I first got the tattoo pictured above, I chose it because I’m somewhat of a fan of Harry Potter. To me, these three symbols represent the Deathly Hallows. For my partner, who grew up in Greece, they have the makings of a Greek word. Others have asked me whether they’re PlayStation controller symbols or in reference to my love of eating pizza on plates. Symbols can mean so much while betraying so little. 

5. Semicolon


A simplistic grammatical symbol, the semicolon has been quickly gaining traction as a tattoo choice. While a few may get the tattoo for the sole reason of appreciating the pedantic effect of it, there is a much deeper meaning tied to this. In 2013, Project Semicolon was born. Their mission was to educate others about suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Their stance was simple but significant: “Your story isn’t over yet.” Semicolons arise amidst sentences where authors could have finished that sentence but continued on instead. For many individuals across the world, that holds a very personal parallel.  

6. Japanese Style


Tattoos done in Japanese style have very ancient meanings tied to them. Lion and Fu-Dog tattoos are thought to symbolize protection and strength, like the statues did. Tiger tattoos represent longevity and are considered as wards against bad luck and ill health. Snakes are considered protectors from illness and conveyors of wisdom. They are said to prevent against unfortunate backlash from bad decisions. Traditional Japanese tattoos, or “wabori”, also include portrayals of koi fish among other revered animals. 

7. Minimalism


The birth of minimalism dates back to the 1950’s. Pieces created by the likes of Josef Albers, Mark Rothko, and Frank Stella displayed a lack of personalized attachment. There was no evidence of the artist himself within the creation, rather just art for art’s sake. Minimalism has spread from being just an art form to a way of life as individuals sought to reinvent their closets, homes, and lives in favor of something simpler. 

8. Geometric


Geometry is all about simplified images. Any image can be broken down into basic patterns and shapes. With geometric tattoos, symmetry is a huge theme. Though geometric tattoos are oftentimes created grey-scale, they can also include vibrant colors and shades. These types of tattoos can draw attention to the importance of balance and symmetry. If predatory animals are part of the design, their significance could represent the animalistic side of humanity. 

9. Mandalas


“Mandala” literally translates to “circle” in Sanskrit. These designs are created starting from the center and working outwards. Mandalas have deep roots in Hindu and Buddhist religions. The significance of this design will differ from person to person. Aside from being viewed as a gentle, calming image intended to soothe the mind, mandalas are also seen as models of perfection or symbolic of a spiritual journey. 

10. Woodland Animals


Wildlife or woodland themed tattoos make for exquisite pieces. Some choose these sorts of tattoos due to a spiritual or emotional connection to specific animals. Others hold deep fascination and appreciation for them. There’s such a large range of animals to choose from, it could be difficult to make a decision at first. But more than having a beautiful reminder of an elegant animal, wildlife tattoos hold deep significance. Depending on the animal chosen, there will be different meaning. For example, bears portray power and bravery as well as calmness and peace. Foxes carry alternate meanings with the most popular ones viewing the animal as a source of cunning, trickery, playfulness, and strategic thinking. Lions portray a sense of nobility, dignity, and authority. Hummingbirds convey vitality, affection, and joy. However, each animal could bear a different meaning altogether to the wearer. 

11. Ornate Sternum 


Over the last couple of years, sternum tattoos have been swiftly becoming a thing of admiration among tattoo lovers. From small and delicate to large and elaborate, they are a truly an artistic marvel. The sternum is the perfect place to get a tattoo if ladies and femmes want to wear revealing clothing which could tease a little at the existence of such a tattoo. Designs vary and are based on the wearer’s inclinations. 

Laurrel Allison

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