Tiny but Mighty is our series where have our minds blown by looking at impossibly small body art. This time we’re looking at one of the most adorable trends in micro tattoos: minute portraits of people’s pets. Make sure to check out our previous installments, like this recent collection of delicate oddities or this piece about miniature ornamental blackwork.
It’s only natural to love dogs, cats, and other critters we live and work alongside. We really can’t help it. There’s a number of reasons, even scientific ones, why people are smitten with goldfish, parakeets, puppies, and kittens. Our compulsion to want to surround ourselves with animals comes from a symbiotic relation between our species that spans millenniums. The power of this natural instinct, if you will, is so strong people even get tattoo tributes in honor of their beloved pets.
Micro tattoos amplify the charm of domesticated animals. There’s no doubt about that. But what is it about a pair of puppy dog eyes that makes our hearts melt? The answer’s easy. They’re adorable (and we should know, our boss just got a puppy and now experiences joy). But where does this uncontrollable love of cuteness come from? Evolution — that’s where. Over the course of thousands of years, we have captured animals in the wild, tamed, fed, and bred them and, in doing so, made our species codependent. That overwhelming urge to snuggle with a purring kitten is actually your genes telling you that can’t live without the little furball.
Because of our connection to domesticated animals, pet portraits have become a global phenomenon, but the tiny ones tend to come from countries where tattoos are looked down upon, like South Korea. This is because tiny body art is easy to conceal. The artists featured here work in these kinds of places. Zihee, Sol (who frequently dresses up her dogs and posts photos of them), and Nando operate out of Seoul, where tattooing is outlawed. Mini Lau is based in Hong Kong, a city that’s more tolerant but still considerably adverse to the art form. This is not to suggest that tiny portraits of animals aren’t popular elsewhere, though.
Celebrities like Miley Cyrus have made micro pet portraits a fashion trend. Most people would probably get a tattoo of their puppy over one of their spouse. Baby critters are just that charming, but depictions of pets than cuteness. Tattoos are an ideal way to honor the memory of loved ones, and having the likeness of a departed animal companion on one’s skin is one of the most heartfelt expressions a person can make.
To see more micro tattoos, including more portraits, make sure to visit these artists Instagrams. Should you be a depiction of your beloved pet, consider having one of them capture it’s likeness on your body.