Authored by Douglas Mefford in Body Arts
Published on 05-12-2009
While the old cliche, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, has a well understood philosophy behind it, words themselves can still be very profound and evocative. This can be especially true when the words in question are permanently inked into your skin with a tattoo. Using written quotes as tattoos has become a fashionable way to make an important statement that will help define a person permanently.
The traditional picture tattoo can be used to express many feelings but was formerly seldom used for quotes. Simple names of children, loved ones, or parents, the jailhouse “love” and “hate” across the knuckles, and slogans such as the Marine Corp’s “Semper Fidelis” tended to be the primary source of word tattoos. With the new acceptability of tattoo art, bolder statements are now being made. Words and quotes can evoke deeper feelings and meanings than mere pictures, as they are less likely to be misinterpreted by any given individual than a picture.
The style and placement of quote tattoos can vary as widely as traditional picture tattoos. Short, memorial or reminder quote tattoos are often incorporated into a wrist wrap design so that the lettering blends in and becomes a part of the design. Short quotes can also be placed in banner and ribbon motif tattoos on just about any part of the body. They are especially effective when used in conjunction with a graphic design to help give meaning and emphasis to the overall effect of the tattoo.
The most important consideration when contemplating a quote tattoo is the same one as with a graphical design. Tattoos are permanent body art decorations so the words you place under your skin should be considered well and be something that has a great deal of meaning for the individual. Once you have decided what you want your new quote tattoo to say, deciding where to put it and the style of lettering will be next. Discussion with your tattoo artist can help determine if fancy script or plain lettering would help convey the most legible results. Color can also play a large role in the effectiveness of your quote tattoo’s presentation. Also, if you are thinking of getting lettering from a language different from yours, double-check on the translation; be sure it says what you think it does.
As for what type of quote and where to find a meaningful quote to permanently carry and display, that is as varied as the individual. The quote tattoo can be humorous, sentimental or profound. Meaningful statements from a family member are as legitimate as quotes from your favorite author. Philosophy and poetry also have found a place in body art quote tattoos. You can read through books or websites of popular quotes to see which one most effects you if you want a quote tattoo but are not sure just what you want to say.
As tattooing has begun to lose its old stigmata of being an art form for “criminals”, it has begun to be a more acceptable medium of religious expression. Texts from the various holy books available can help one not only share an important message but also demonstrate their faith in a very open and permanent way. The Protestant religions are especially beginning to realize that tattooing is not the dreaded horror Victorian England made it out to be and have started utilizing it more effectively as the twenty-first century has progressed.
As with any tattoo, having it created by a talented, professional tattoo artist will give you the best possible results. Taking the time to study and make sure what you want to say will stay relevant throughout your life will give you a beautiful and meaningful work of art.