Ever since I saw Dominic Monaghan’s bicep, I’ve been interested in word and phrase tattoos. That is, tattoos comprised mostly or entirely of English words and sentences.
I don’t have tattoos. I do think that getting a word or phrase takes more courage than getting a bird, maple leaf or kanji character. A hummingbird can represent love or speed or freedom or whatever, but “Yo Mamma” on your inner thigh is far less ambiguous.
I went looking for a site dedicated to textual tattoos. My 40 second search came up empty, so I turned to Flickr. After the jump, you can see my growing list of word and phrase tattoos. If you’ve got one, know of such a repository, spotted a photo of one on the Web or otherwise have something to contribute, leave a comment or email me at darren at darrenbarefoot fullstop com. I’m not interested in Asian characters–there’s a great blog for them already.
- “It’s not meant to be a strife, it’s not meant to be a struggle uphill.” Lyrics from a Bjork song.
- “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” A quote from Ghandi.
- A definition of the word ‘bibliophile’, complete with pronounciation and source.
- “Legalize”, above a pierced male nipple.
- An entire freakin’ song on this guy’s back.
- “I am the dictactor”. I’m no tattoo expert, but I’m not sure if this one is permanent. Lyrics from a Clash song.
- “You Fail Me” on a forearm. From a Converge album, methinks.
- “Your name”. An old joke.
- “Many want to be, but can’t be me. For I am the one, the truth.” Couldn’t find the origin of this one.
- The seven deadly sins on a forearm. They’d be a handy reminder for the owner if they were easier to refer to.
- “What doesn’t kill me eventually will.” Heh.
- “snapcult”. Apparently refers to “a multi-disciplinary cult hailing to the luminescent and dark arts.”
- “Day shall come again”. Beside the state of Virginia.
- “I have a strong will to love you for eternity.” From Milan Kundera’s Immortality.
- “</body>”. Heh, again.
- “country,”. Possibly from Shelley Jackson’s Skin project?
- “memorious”. Possibly also from the aforementioned Skin project.
- “Live by the drum, die by the drum”. What about the bass?
- “every being is the author of his own health or disease”. Google search comes back empty.
- “Freedom”. Across a chest. Honourable mention: an emoticon.
- The first three lines of “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas. Thanks, Caterina.
- “Car the Helen or Ray. Needs and tune up. Money to Max and Sylvia. Furniture to George plus $137 I owe him.” Apparently from the will of a psychiatrist
in the twenties, written just before he killed himself. Thanks again, Caterina.
- “Lookin’ for my missin’ piece”. From Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece. This woman also has a couple of quotes and images from Gorey.
- E to the power of X on the back of a neck.
- Mike writes with his tattoo, which reads “bruises”. It’s part of the Shelley Jackson Skin project.
I think my favourite, in terms of a selection of text, is the line from Milan Kundera. It’s a lovely sentiment and esoteric. Having collected these, I’ve realized an advantage of getting a textual tattoo–you can improve your odds of having a truly unique piece of body art.
Jo writes with this impressive, lengthy textual tattoo, which reads: “There are two sorts of curiosity — the momentary and the permanent. The momentary is concerned with the odd appearance on the surface of things. The permanent is attracted by the amazing and consecutive life that flows on beneath the surface of things.–Robert Lynd”.
Here’s a nice message on somebody’s arm: “Believe in forgiveness”.
Jacky sends this quote which in English means “what nourishes me, destroys me”. It looks like that might have been a bit ticklish.
Caitlin sent along this shot of her back, which is another example of that Ghandi quote:
Andrew writes with this simple message on his forearm: