Say what you will—but long gone are the days when getting inked is considered anything but a taboo topic. In the days of old, the very idea of a tattoo will conjure up skewed images of a male-dominated scene, oft associated with the idea of a gang or individuals that pose an intimidating presence; a sentiment probably imbued by one too many negative portrayals on the silver screen, coupled with the fact that the likelihood of our Asian parents ever accepting the idea of us getting one ourselves, would be close to zero.
But even with such misconceptions aside, there’s the strange, almost-archaic notion that getting a tattoo has to mean something to its wearer. After all, why can’t they just be cute, youthful and a visual representation of something someone likes? In recent times of course, a light-hearted approach to getting inked has swarmed the in-crowd, with more and more people leaning towards tattoos that are framed like art pieces on their body, more than anything else. And the range varies: from graphic, geometric line work to quaint, kitsch-like drawings boosted with vibrant hues. Evidently, the latter steers clear of any manic stereotype; rather, it imbues a fresh perspective that tattoo art is indeed exactly that—art. The permanence of it all, is but a mere indication of how much it stirs up your senses from within.
As of late, an explosion of quirky maximalist imagery have started to rule the roost, some with a penchant for building upon existing animated characters whilst others enacting a dark, comical twist on usually saccharine sweet motifs such as their much-adored pets or favourite scenes from a movie. And when you think about these ink designs as art—it’s hardly unsurprising that many of these are dosed with a splash of colour here and there, bringing with them a whole new realm of potential inspo for tattoo artists to try their hand at.
However, to enter this abstract, kitschy world via means of a fresh ink all on your own might pose to be a tad intimidating—especially when there are a plethora of designs to choose from out there. That’s where we come in; scroll on to glean a Vogue-approved curation of quirky and maximalist tattoo designs that might just tickle your fancy, before booking your next ink appointment.
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The artist becomes art
Take cues from this Jean-Michel Basquiat inspired tattoo and deal your ink in the same art style which your admired artist would as well.
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Tapestries on the wall
Don’t forget that your skin is the canvas for any art—including minute versions of exquisite tapestries.
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Get in touch with your most natural self with an abstract portrayal of the woman within you.
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Put a finger on it
There’s no need for relying on gemstones to dress up your tips. See this visual cascade of mini tattoos for a colourful step-up.
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The bigger, the better
If you’re a maximalist at heart—this is the only mantra to keep in mind.
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For those of you who love your animated characters, don’t be afraid to incorporate them into your body art—see Calcifer here from Howl’s Moving Castle, imbued with a cute look that’s contrary to his character.
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Let’s face it: tattoos are a beautiful way to love your body and perhaps your one tattoo of choice should excavate that emotion to its fullest. With @epithumia_rose’s botanical line work that spans across large expanses of the body, the ink quite literally epitomises how beauty is skin deep.
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Your most-loved animals in their natural habitats might just do the trick.
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A duck, on a skateboard. Need we say more?
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For the new mom
Mark a new milestone in your life with this personified floral imagery.
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Fresh ink, but make it fashion
Express your love for the sartorial realm not just via your wardrobe, but through some fashion-forward ink as well.
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Bring out the fangirl
If you’ve sworn loyalties to that one K-pop group, then perhaps opting for a related tattoo as proof of your devotion isn’t a bad idea at all. Talk about an if-you-know-you-know moment.
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Shark meets shark
Be smarter with your body art: there are three different tattoos here, not just two.
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Imbue a mysterious mood: where a human face is used to reveal whatever lies beyond.
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These birds of prey take on a different arena and are fused with an alternative art style—transforming geometric formations into their playpens.
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Going abroad? A surefire way to remind yourself of home: some local treats.
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Dial up all the way on the quirky: in strangely-drawn characters and bold, eclectic hues.