As with anything, tattoo trends change and evolve over time. In the 90’s it was tribal and barbed wire, in the early 2000’s it was cute tramp stamps and nautical stars; fast forward to this brand new year and we’re seeing some incredible technological, conceptual and design-oriented advances! In this tattoo trend forecast for 2019 we look at some of the styles we expect to see more of.
Perhaps one of the most obvious tattoo trends we predict will continue strong into 2019 is highly detailed fineline pieces. Created by incredibly skilled tattoo artists, these pieces are usually small to medium, and focus on a range of design iconography. From tiny swords with impeccable blades to beautifully rendered animals, these tattoos are usually illustrated in black and white ink. Some tattooists blend sacred geometry and abstract concepts with realism, while others focus on portraiture or illustrative designs. Artists like Mr. K of Bang Bang NYC fame, Cold Gray based in Seoul, and Pawel Indulski. Perhaps the reason why these types of tattoos will continue to spark imaginations throughout this year is not only due to their mind-blowing details and beauty, but also due to the incredible skill that it takes to create them.
Much like the fineline pieces above, photorealistic tattoos rarely look like actual tattoos. Far from the traditional Sailor Jerry approach to ink, photorealistic and hyper realistic ink takes its cue from the art movements of the same name. The tattoo trend of replicating photos started with a few different artists in the 70’s, including tattooist Freddy Negrete, known for his Chicano style. These days artists are astonishing tattoo aficionados and collectors around the globe with their skill and ingenuity. Within the style of photorealism you’ll find everything from portraits of celebrities, examples of dark art and horror, to perfect copies of your favorite foods. The possibilities are literally endless. So, with the future looming, it’s no wonder that people are clamoring for tattoos that are exemplary of modernity. Alex Rattray, realism tattooist, says, “I think people love realism tattoos so much because art has always come from what people are passionate about. With popular culture forming such a huge part of people’s lives, realism tattoos mean they get to wear the iconic imagery from their favorite movies, bands, and musicians on their bodies forever.”
Within all styles of tattoo trends, pop culture phenomena continues to lead the way. Tons of Marvel comic book superheroes came to life last year with box office blockbusters such as Avengers and Venom, which quickly became the source of tattoo art. We also saw a few Mr. Rogers tattoo portraits with the release of the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. Perhaps the most stand out, however, was a kid and his grandpa: the infamous Rick and Morty. Chock full of characters, the series inspired an insane amount of tattoos, two of which grabbed a spot within Tattoodo’s Top Tattoos of 2018, as well as numerous blogs and social media accounts devoted completely to tattoos inspired by the beloved cartoon. Tattoo artist David Peyote says, “I think people love Rick and Morty because the show is unique. The makers are exploring various science themes and they sparkle it with humor. It’s different than the average cartoon family portrait and lots of youngsters can relate to it.” We can only hope the Rick and Morty tattoo trend will continue, especially considering the series has been renewed for a whopping 70 new episodes!
Although a slightly controversial style within tattooing, watercolor does not look as though it will be going anywhere. However, the style has certainly evolved. Many artists are adding tiny black lines to solve the issue of spreading, while other artists have also blended the watercolor style with traditional bold black outlines in hopes of creating vivid tattoos that will last for years to come. It is also worth mentioning that, within this tattoo trend, tattooist have taken to replicating famous painting in wonderfully accurate detail. Although not the usual splatter or brushstroke effect watercolor tattoos used to be known for, the textural quality of many of these works is astonishingly like real paint. Turning the skin into a true canvas, it is no wonder that tattooist are using the tattoo art form to reproduce artistic masterworks by the likes of Van Gogh, Monet, and Degas. Talented tattooist Hakan Adik says, “I think people like to carry the works that touch their lives and souls on their bodies. They are inspired by them. They show their admiration in this way.”
Blackwork is another tattoo trend that has become increasingly popular due to its vast aesthetic uses and varieties. From bold tribal, to sacred geometry, and even illustrative works that look remarkably like ancient etchings or engravings, the simple fact is that black ink stands out and heals better than almost anything else out there. And although you may think blackwork tribal is a thing of the past, artists like Jondix, Nissaco, Gakkin, Helen Hitori, Victor J Webster, and Haivarasly are keeping the tradition alive through their personal predilections. Fusing their style with cultural influences from around the globe, the end product is powerfully eye catching. Easily argued as the oldest form of tattooing, Blackwork tattoos have foundations in the earliest of human creations which makes it undeniably one of the strongest tattoo trends out there.
With modern years comes modern thought, a progression forwards, and there are many tattooers who are leaving almost all traditional aspects of tattooing behind. Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, ultra avant garde fine art-esque tattoos, all of these tattoo trends are more are beginning to thrive thanks to artists and clients who are choosing to do something unique with their skin. Stick and poke, or non-electric tattooing, is also continuing its revival, and DIY tattoo art scenes are flourishing thanks to an influx of open-minded and supportive communities around the world. Queer tattooers are also thankfully getting a lot of press, in fact Playboy recently published an article covering that particular community. Tattoodo has also interviewed many queer tattooers, including Ciara Havishya who runs a blog specific to queer people of color within tattooing around the world. The importance of this visibility and progressive awareness is important, especially with an industry that is constantly trying to leave behind its old reputation of being an exclusive male-dominated scene.
With progressive, more evolved, philosophies enveloping the tattoo community, different art forms, aesthetics, and concepts are being praised and uplifted. This sort of positive reinforcement is even starting to saturate the mainstream market. 2018 saw a huge surge in face, neck, and hand tattoos. The tattoo trend towards these may have something to do with famous rappers taking the lead in current fashion. However, although face and neck tattoos are still regarded questionably, hand tattoos continue to be more and more accepted within general culture. They still may hinder your chances of getting a corner office on Wall Street, but hand tattoos, also known as “job stoppers”, may be losing that nickname sooner than you may think. Tattooist Guy Waisman says, “I think that there is something about hand tattoos that makes you feel powerful, if you have them you know what I mean.” Whatever the case may be, and what the impetus behind it, 2019 is sure to see the hand tattoo trend continue.
Once regarded as an underground art form only suitable for misfits, gang members, and sailors, tattooing is now a “$1.7 trillion dollar mainstream industry”, says Forbes. Thanks, in most part, to the internet, the tattoo community now highly saturated with artists, materials, designs, and more. As with the fine art industry, more now than ever it’s important to stand out. Thanks to multiple social media platforms, and apps like the one Tattoodo offers, finding archives of incredible tattoos, as well as new artists, is easier than ever. The Tattoodo App, with more than 2 billion monthly content views across our platforms, as well as more than 45 million followers combined on social media, our reach for connectivity is vast. At the forefront of tattoo news, we provide a directory that upholds the highest quality of tattoos and artists around the globe, which is good news for those trying to keep up the latest in tattoo trends. From hand tattoos to insane Blackwork, and more, we’re ready to hook you up with an artist to make your 2019 tattoo dreams come true.