Tattoos are a bit like mobile phones. 20 years ago they were the preserve of drug dealers and rock stars, but now nearly everyone has one. Society’s begrudging acceptance of body art may well be due to the extremely high-profile celebrities that now sport them – from movie premieres to the Premier League, it seems as if all our favourite famous people are adorned with some sort of ink. And why shouldn’t they be? Their bodies are their own, no matter what their nan thinks. Below we’ve identified a few tattoo types and the people who proudly display them, so check out this bunch of old tat(ts).
What's your tattoo type?
By Will Morley, 18 October 2014
Say what you want about Harry Styles’ music, but his fashion sense is on point. So what happened with his tattoos? A curious mish-mash of old-school and what are usually described as ‘filler’ – a black heart, a coat-hanger, city initials and three nails. These images wouldn’t look out of place on a Camden Town crust punk, rather than one of the slickest guys around. Still, bonus points for the Pingu ‘bro tatt' Harry allegedly shares with Ed Sheeran.
What is it that makes tribal tattoos so cringe-worthy now? When From Dusk Till Dawn came out in 1996, George Clooney’s tribal neck piece was the peak of awesomeness, but much like those other late-90s foibles such as nu metal, the tribal tatt is now rather frowned upon. That said, perennial man-crush and sartorial king Tom Hardy has some huge tribal work on his arm, accentuated by a boxing leprechaun, so perhaps it isn’t all bad? (It is).
Facial tattoos are for the big guns – the people that absolutely do not care what you think. These are the guys that are so enamoured with the idea of their body as a walking piece of art that their face is just another patch of canvas. Gucci Mane’s ice cream on his cheek caused a few (raspberry) ripples at the time, but no one can match Lil Wayne for the sheer amount of illustrations on his mug. His mother asked that one of his three teardrops be covered up, but she was totes OK with the slogan ‘I Am Pimp’ behind his ear.
Getting branded with your favourite band is a no-brainer, especially if you’re well hard like ex-Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins. Among his many, many tattoos are the classic Misfits ‘Crimson Ghost’ logo on his forearm and his own band’s motif of four black bars. But you don’t have to be hardcore to display your influences, as dapper dude Dev Hynes, AKA Blood Orange, shows us. His homage to Michael Jackson’s Bad album, and its graffiti cover art, are emblazoned on his shoulder.
‘EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON SWEET THING’ reads Drake’s all-caps inspirational tattoo. Whether someone close to him said that or whether he got it out of a fortune cookie has yet to be revealed, but much like David Beckham was (‘So That I Love And Cherish’) or even Mario Balotelli is (‘I am the punishment of God’), he’s at the top of his game and a multi-millionaire to boot, so perhaps they actually work?