There are two sides to every story, but are there two sides to every tattoo? Well, certainly not every tattoo, but this is the case for one very specific kind of tattoo — ambigram tattoos.But what the heck is an ambigram?
Simply put, an ambigram is a visual representation of a word that will read differently depending on what angle it is viewed from. For example, if you wrote the word “poop” on a piece of paper and turned it upside down it would then say “dood.” Go on, try if you want to. Or just type out the word “poop” and turn your computer monitor upside down.
Ambigrams can trace their history to 1893 and the artist Peter Newell, famous for his illustrations for works of Lewis Carroll and Mark Twain. His book Topsys & Turvys contained on its last page the words “The End” in such a way that when read upside down produced “Puzzle.”
Throughout the next century, ambigrams stood as a fun curiosity, published mostly in comic strips for the first half of the 20th century. Later, they would find themselves worked into popular culture. Ambigrams showed up on a few Grateful Dead album covers. The cover to the DVD release of The Princess Bride features the title ambigrammed (we just made this word up!), along with the rest of the cover, in a way that produces the same image right-side up and upside down. But possibly the most famous ambigram can be found on the cover of the Dan Brown novel Angels and Demons.
There are more than 14 different subcategories of ambigrams, which is far too much to go into here, but further reading is encouraged. But what we can go into are some pictures of really cool ambigram tattoos. The style has gained popularity in recent years and there are some very inventive pieces out there. So, get ready to flip your monitor upside down (or to stand on your head while browsing the internet) and get a new perspective on things with an ambigram tattoo.
These tattoos really blow our minds. We’re talking about an Elaine from Seinfeld staring at a pile of rotating tires level of blown minds here. While there may not be two sides to every tattoo, these are definitely a stunning exception.