Tattoos are a great form of self-expression and creativity. No matter what tattoo you get, it’s always going to be unique to you and feel personal, even if there’s no particular meaning around it. Tattoos have only grown in popularity over the years and show no sign in slowing down. As tattoos have become more accepted, more people feel comfortable getting one of their own.
Just like anything else, tattoos go through particular trends and phases. From dreamcatchers to poker tattoo trends, there isn’t any subject matter that hasn’t been covered. We’ll be taking you though what’s hotting up in the tattoo world right now and what might be on its way out.
But first, let’s take a look at a brief history of tattooing and how it started to increase in popularity again.
A history of tattoos
Tattoos have been around a lot longer than you might think. In fact, they date back to 3300 BCE, way back in the Bronze-Age. The first tattoos were found on a man archeologists nicknamed ‘Oti the Iceman’ who had 57 tattoos. He was found in a glacier of the Otztal Alps and is the oldest human known thus far to have been tattooed.
However, the earliest evidence that has been found of tattoo art was even earlier in 5000 BCE. This discovery was made in Japan but it wasn’t on an actual human. Instead, they found tattoo like markings on clay figurines inside tombs which seems to suggest the practice had already been used.
Tattooing seemed to go out of favor when the Greeks and Romans came around as it was associated with barbarianism. In fact, the word ‘stigma’ comes from the Latin which means to make a mark or puncture, especially when made by a pointed instrument. As we know, the word ‘stigma’ means a distinguishing mark of social disgrace so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to think that this was where the popularity of tattoos started to decline.
Interestingly, tattoos started to come back into fashion for the elite as early as the 19th century. King Edward VII was tattooed on a trip to Jerusalem in 1862 and after that, everyone wanted to be in on the craze.
In the 1930’s, social security numbers were introduced which led to hundreds of people rushing to get theirs tattooed onto them. I guess that’s one way you can ensure you never forget it!
Ever since then, tattoos have kept gaining popularity. And in the last ten years, there are more and more studios and artists than ever before. What used to be condemned to the back alleys and side streets is now completely in your face.
There are thousands of tattoo artists on social media and everyone from millennials to Gen Z and even into the older population are decorating their bodies. It’s now seen as a right of passage when you hit 18 to go and get your first tattoo – although some might come to regret it!
Even those in their forties and fifties are marking the occasion by making their mark on their bodies. And what better way to celebrate?
Top current tattoo trends
Now that tattoos have become the norm, they’ve started to follow different trends. Much like fashion, the type of tattoos that are most popular changes with the season. That’s why it’s super important to make sure you’re getting a tattoo because you know you love it rather than just because it’s cool right now.
There are some tattoos that won’t stand the test of time – but that’s what cover ups are for, right? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular tattoos right now.
- Hand poke tattoos
Rather than using a traditional tattoo gun, hand poked tattoos go right back to the early days of tattooing by just using a single needle. Most tattoo artists will use different size needles for different parts of the tattoo (outline vs shading etc) but it’s all done one at a time by hand. The benefit of hand poke tattoos is that they don’t hurt as much as there is no vibration from the tattoo gun. This makes it a great choice if you’re being tattooed on sensitive areas such as the ribs, elbows or knees.
- Traditional style tattoos
Traditional tattoo trends are instantly recognizable by the thick black lines and their use of mainly primary colors. These tattoos are generally of subjects such as animals, pin up girls and vibrant patterns. Traditional tattoos have never completely gone out of fashion but they’ve definitely come back into the mainstream in recent years, here you can check out animal tattoo trends to find your spirit animal or other popular designs.
- Hand placements
It’s not just styles of tattoos that go through trends but where you get them as well. Hand tattoos are becoming more and more popular as it’s becoming more acceptable to have visible tattoos in the workplace. They’re also great if you just want something small and cute.
- Realistic tattoos
Realistic tattoo trends do what they say on the tin – they look exactly what they’re supposed to look like. There’s been a resurgence of realist tattoo artists who typically use fine lines and gentle shading to create their realistic masterpieces.
Now you’ve got your inspo, it’s time to ink up! Just make sure you’re choosing your tattoo artists carefully and are 100% sure on what you’re getting. And enjoy decorating your body in any way you choose!