- In this Style Guide, Tattoodo digs into the Ignorant Style tattoo trend, popularized by celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Machine Gun Kelly. This controversial style embraces humor and irony over tradition and aesthetic quality, becoming a rebellious force in subculture that has become more socially accepted. Dive in to learn more.
Ignorant style tattoos are a hot button topic in the industry right now – while their irreverence appeals to some, more traditionalist tattoo enthusiasts dislike them for the same reason. We think there’s enough room at the tattoo shop for styles of all kinds though, so let’s give Ignorant style tattoos a moment of consideration. Where did they come from, and why are they controversial?
Beyond the Connotations
The word “ignorant” carries with it some negative connotations – the word itself is formally defined as “lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.” While a critic of Ignorant style tattoos might mean this literally when describing the style, fans will wear them as a badge of honor, because it gets to the heart of the style itself. It has less to do with a lack of knowledge and more to do with irony and humor.
Ignorant tattoos are defined by their simple, sketch book-like quality, comprised of line work and typically no shading. They tend to look DIY, as tattoo Youtuber Celle Est said in a video on the topic: “Markers of good tattoos like straight lines and cohesive designs aren’t really relevant to the ignorant style of tattooing. The subject matter of Ignorant style tattoo designs tends to be ironic and very tongue-in-cheek.”
The style has connections to old Russian-style prison tattoos and other underground practices that pre-date modern tattooing as we know it today. Their popularity has grown with the availability of tattooing equipment, and through the internet, particularly through the tattoos worn by celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Pete Davidson, and Machine Gun Kelly, who are covered in these types of tattoos, at least until Davidson began getting his removed!
Ignorance is in the Eye of the Beholder
The style began in Paris, France, largely spearheaded by the work of ex-graffiti artist Fuzi Uvtpk. He popularized his style of simple, cartoonish illustrations in his graffiti before he turned to tattooing in the ‘90s. In an interview with Vice, Uvtpk explained that he believed his tattoos appealed to people because “Now so many people have tattoos but they are meaningless, but people are beginning to want something more authentic.”
This point was reiterated by another tattoo Youtuber called Struthless, who argues that “as tattooing has become more mainstream, it’s lost some of its grit and cache. Therefore, in rebellion to what the tattoo industry deems to be ‘good art,’ ignorant style has gained prominence. Because simply getting a tattoo is no longer an act of cultural defiance, ignorant style enthusiasts have found a new way of laughing in the face of permanence.”
Tattooers (and tattoo collectors) who are more committed to the cultural history and rich tradition of tattooing might not understand this notion, but ultimately, giving or wearing a tattoo is a form of self-expression, so it’s really a question of what appeals to you aesthetically. If you’re interested in the Ignorant tattoo style, check out the work of Fuzi Uvtpk, as well as Sean from Texas, Auto Christ, and Egbz.
Looking for an Ignorant tattoo artist in your area? Tattoodo can help! Share your idea here and we’ll get you connected to the right artist for you!
Article by: Mandy Brownholtz