Tattoo trends for 2016
By Will Morley, 7 January 2016
When it comes to tattoos, slavishly following trends isn’t such a great idea but there are always key movements that you can use for inspiration. It seems – much like 2016’s fashion forecast – minimalist is the way to go for tattoos this year, but it’s your body, so you make the rules. If we were to advise anything, it’s that a sense of humour is a must. Also, never let your first bit of ink be your partner’s name in script on your neck.
Stick and poke
If the thought of being tattooed with a machine freaks you out, then stick and poke tattooing probably isn’t for you. The design is pricked into the skin by hand and has more in common with traditional Maori or Japanese methods than the western way we’re used to. Slower, possibly more painful, but no less intricate, the shading and depth that can be achieved is seriously impressive. The creativity and originality displayed by (mostly) self-taught artists means you’re going to cop a uniquely personal design – like this, from California-based illustrator Stuart Dooley – and an experience you won’t forget. Just don’t call them basic.
We know it’s only the start of the year and we should all be optimistic and stuff, but it’s clear that one theme running through the dopest tattoo designs at the moment is sheer, unrelenting nihilism. Whether people are choosing to adorn themselves with absurdist violence from comic books or picking up on gross-out graphics from notorious graffiti artists like Neck Face, dudes are getting down with the frown. Flicking through artist Sean Williams aka Sean From Texas’s feed (who also happens to work stick and poke style) provides some incredible inspo, as well as key ways to balance the horrible with the humorous.
Although Sean From Texas has a pretty great ‘Vacation Forever’ gravestone design, he’s not the only one with jet-black witticisms. Brighton’s own Mr Heggie – an all-round boss of gloriously sweary graphics, band merch, tattoo design and flat-out hilarious pessimism – has the incredible epitaph design of ‘Everything was adequate and stuff was OK.ish’ . Perfect for all of us not quite reaching our full misanthropic potential.
Can a design be both minimal and intricate? Sure! It can if it’s a sacred geometry pattern. Sacred geometry is the belief that certain motifs and structures have metaphysical meaning within their construction – that there are cosmic or religious forces working within a shape. So deep, you guys. Getting one means you’ll be the Rust Cohle of your Sunday five-a-side squad.
Let’s lighten the mood a little, OK? Going completely against the vogue for simpler, darker tattoos, there’s a whole movement out there comprised of Simpsons fans going big and brash, displaying their love of the animated series with some truly choice designs. The more obscure the reference or character the better, but nothing quite beats our favourite here from season five’s ‘Marge on the Lam’.