The tattoo industry is evolving extremely quickly and the mainstream appetite for high-quality eye candy, pushed to new heights by social media platforms, have morphed tattooing into an art form that is easily attainable by anyone. This means that artists are not only supported to create new, exciting aesthetics, but it also means that trends are molded by tattooists as well as their client base. We're hoping, like the feature image by tattooist Andrey Lukovnikov, that this year will be full of vivacity, magic, empowerment, and exciting evolutions in artistic creations.
In this article, we give you our 2020 tattoo trend forecast. We’ll look at styles, techniques, imagery, and other parts of the tattoo community that are developing.
Large Tattoo Projects and Full Body Suit Tattoo Compositions
It’s interesting to note how many large projects and full body suit tattoo compositions are now showing up in tattoo artist portfolios in higher numbers. Back in the day, tattoo collectors would usually get their art piece by piece, starting with the torso and moving outward until they ran out of space. Now, since the rise of popularity for the tattoo industry has reached new heights, newbies have the opportunity to find extremely talented tattooists easily and many of these admirers of tattoo art are jumping in head first! The lack of tattoos means that they are a perfect and empty canvas for artists who are masters at bodysuits.
Neck, Ear, Hand and Face Tattoos
We have plenty of inspiration for those of you who are interested in getting face, neck, and hand tattoos, and we can safely assume that this will be a continued trend of 2020. With tattoos becoming more and more accepted in mainstream society, people are getting pieces that used to be reserved for diehard tattoo collectors, tattoo artists, gang members, and similar. And while tattoo artists and studios used to deny people who wanted hand, face, or neck tattoos if they didn’t have enough tattoos already, these days musicians, top models, and even actors have delved into these particular spots, opening up the doors for others who want to follow suit. We’ve also noticed a growing population getting ear tattoos, replacing piercings as decor.
We could also include freckles in this category, since permanent make-up is definitely evolving as well. Take a look at our interview with Astro-flecks creator Jessica Knapik.
Merging Tattoo Styles
Moving beyond body placement and into styles, a definite 2020 tattoo trend will be the merging of disparate tattoo styles. Already we can see artists like Mat Rule and Thomas Carli Jarlier pushing their well-known Realism techniques into the realms of Surrealism, Illustrative, and even incorporating aspects of New School tattoos. Mashkow is another tattooist who seamlessly combines Realism with Graffiti while Emanuele Sircana continues to develop his vivid Japanese Surrealist style. We’ve also noticed many artists joining fineline florals with Ornamental, Neo-Tribal, or folk art patterns for a particularly stunning and unique piece.
Modern Art Tattoos and Fine Art Replications
Modern art and fine art replications are something we spoke about in 2019 as well, but it really seems to be evolving in incredible ways. As the tattoo industry and community evolves to erase the boundaries between tattoos, fine art, fashion, sports, lifestyle and more, different aspects of human creativity are being embraced. We’re seeing a lot more graphic art and comic-book pieces take on a more serious and high-level aesthetic, while others are pushing the limits of what a tattoo machine can do by creating Picasso and Miro-esque tattoos. Other crafts like embroidery are being turned into beautiful tattoo works, while others have been focusing on replicating the look of crayon and paint directly into the skin. And though we’ve seen tons of famous paintings by old masters recreated in lavish detail, tattooists are also recreating contemporary art as well, like Edit Paints who reproduced one of Miles Johnston’s dreamy illustrations.
The hand poke tattoo technique continues to gain traction with it becoming an even further respected art form thanks to artists who truly resonate with this ancient practice. No longer should this be seen as a kitchen tattooers art form, many high-quality tattooists are turning to hand poke, also known as stick and poke tattooing, as a way to preserve the ancient technique. It can also be more peaceful, intimate and less conducive to skin trauma due to the lack of an electric machine.
Even further, cultural-based tattooing techniques that were slowly being forgotten are being taken back up by Inuit people. Called skin-stitching, many artists are reclaiming the practice that was almost lost due to colonialism. But while skin-stitching may seem like a new 2020 tattoo trend, make sure to go to an artist who is respected for their work and will not culturally appropriate particular markings meant to be sacred. If you'd like to learn more, check out the interview about Indigenous Tattoos with Maya Sialuk Jacobsen and Dion Kaszas.
Continuing Tattoo Trends for 2020
Some other tattoo trends from last year that we predicted will continue: advancement in tattoo machine technology, as well as inks, have made it possible for hyperrealism artists to achieve new heights of technique. People like Inal Bersekov, who only uses black ink to create his pieces in order for his work to heal and age better, are helping to evolve this particular aesthetic. Fine-line will also continue making waves with artists constantly evolving and experimenting with what they are able to accomplish with simply one needle and a tattoo machine.
This was another style that we noticed seriously gaining traction, especially due to the highly talented tattooists in Seoul, Korea who are pushing back against the legality of their art form. Illustrative Realism captures an object, photo, painting, or portrait in extremely wonderful detail, but rather than the slick look of Photorealism, Illustrative Realism takes on a look of being real but as if drawn by colored pencils or pen. This may be in part a reaction to many tattoo artists who were working in a slightly watercolor style, but found their work healed better and aged more gracefully with the edition of a fine black line to hold the pigment in place.
Special Mention: Anime Tattoos
Many people who are deeply devoted to the tattoo industry are worried about the community losing its original depth and unique qualities, and not surprisingly other underground populations are feeling the same. Otaku Culture is an infamous aspect of Japanese culture, and not one that is readily approved of. However, as with the tattoo culture, with information and imagery being more readily available to the masses, Otaku and Anime is becoming more widely accepted and celebrated. Anime tattoos illustrating favorite characters from films, manga, and video games are popping up all over the world as more people resonate with this particular cultural phenomena.
Special Mention: Tattoo Removal
It would be wrong to not include tattoo removal in our list of 2020 tattoo trends. Although the growing popularity of tattooing means that more people are getting tattooed, it also means more people will jump in without really thinking through why they’d like to get tattooed. Tattooing is, in itself, a trend...but trends do have a tendency to peter out at some point. We here at Tattoodo hope that everyone who gets a tattoo has really thought about the intention behind it and why this art form really means something to them. In addition, we’d advise you to do research on our site, consider your design thoughtfully, and choose an artist or studio that has a great reputation for putting out top choice work. If you get tattoos like the ones in this article, we know tattoo removal will not be a part of your 2020, but it certainly will be for some. Make sure to book one of the artists or studios on our app or site, and we promise you'll never be disappointed.
Evolutions in the Tattoo Community Population
Over the past several months we’ve covered many women who are finally getting to a point in the industry where equality is hopefully at hand. Although sexism still exists, many initiatives have made the industry more female friendly and safe for all. The recent resignation of Oliver Peck from Ink Master and the arrest of Alex Boyko has made it very clear to the industry that harmful and violent acts will no longer be ignored or tolerated.
Queer communities are also coming together, with many artists continuing positive initiatives, blogs, social platforms and the like, to support their LGBTQIA+ family. Similarly, Black, Brown, and POC are also getting more support due to those who are working very hard to create visibility and make sure their voices are heard, as well as ensuring that their work is available to communities who need it most. More artists and studios are opening spaces that intentionally provide safe spaces for people who do not feel accepted in the mainstream cis white male dominated industry. And especially as we reach this particular year, 2020 should ring in a new age of enlightenment and positive progressive ideals that make all people feel welcome.
Evolutions in Tattoo Community Collaboration
As we mentioned before, the barrier between fine art, sculpture, fashion, etc. and tattooing is even more frequently becoming blurred and almost non-existent. While the connection of tattooing to music has always been obvious, more brands and mass media outlets are collaborating with tattoo artists, as are small boutique businesses that have close ties to the community. For example, Adele Bryges recently collaborated with Servadio for a collection of hand-painted sensual sculptures and Nothing Holy, by Sasha Skullmaker, is a clothing line that collaborates with up and coming tattoo artists to decorate each item. Seeing cross-community collabs of this nature is one of our favorite things, and we look forward to more exciting projects in 2020.
Evolutions in Tattoo Community Ethics
As we mentioned above, the tattoo industry is becoming much more aware of the need to hold people accountable for their actions. In the realm of ethical tattooing, more safe spaces are being created within tattoo studios, more diversity is being called for, and more tattooists who do not uphold respectful boundaries with people are being held accountable for their actions.
Along with those exciting evolutions in tattoo community ethics, eco-friendly tattooing has become a hot topic, and we hope that a 2020 tattoo trend will see more artists and studios maintaining a healthy relationship with the environment. Tattooing uses many products that are not recyclable so many artists, studios, and conventions create a mass amount of trash that is adding to the global waste growth which, in turn, causes many more environmental issues. Keep an eye on incredible eco-friendly initiatives like Good Judy, which is a supply company that only sells 100% plant-based, compostable, and biodegradable products.
We hope this 2020 tattoo trend forecast has been an interesting look at what we can hope to expect from the tattoo community and industry this year! We're also looking forward to all the new trends that will pop up and help our creativity progress in exciting ways. Here's to a Happy New Year for us all!