Even though tattooed people are highly individual, there are a lot of tattoo designs that show up more often than others. People like hearts and flowers and butterflies and stars and military symbols. They like dogs and religious symbols and tattoos that show they love their mothers. They like dragons and Celtic knots and abstract tribal designs.
But what about the ones that are more offbeat? Like a bar code, or an outline silhouette of a person with an arrow pointing to the tattoo’s location and the caption YOU ARE HERE. How about a tattoo that looks like a window through the person, or an open wound, or that contains deliberately misspelled words?
My own tattoos are a combination of the common and the offbeat. My first tattoo was a “swoosh” of seven stars amongst multicolored dots. (Yes, I had a reason for wanting that, but it’s really too personal to explain.) My second was a dragon, which is a common motif, but I adapted it into an abstract, multicolored design to at least make it a bit less common. And my third was a scarab and Eye of Horus, which was later expanded into a larger Egyptian-themed design. I felt it was important to make my designs as uncommon as I am.
But yet, I have seen lovely work done with standard flash. Those pictures are on the tattoo parlor walls for a reason. They are tried and true. And of course the artist is free to adapt a standard flash design to make it a bit more original while it’s being applied. But truthfully, if a person wants the Marine Corps symbol or a classic butterfly, no need to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.
So which do you think is best–a completely original new design, or a good piece of standard flash?
photo credit: graphic.ward