Best and worst tattoos of the past year

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Skin art has enjoyed a rich, vibrant and colorful history right from the beginning of time until the present day. Here we look at the evolution of the tattoo, as well as the best and worst tattoos of the past year.

Skin art was valued in ancient cultures for therapeutic, religious, tribal and cosmetic reasons. Today, people wear tattoos more as a form of decorative skin art,
although some sport tattoos are tokens of love and promises.

There was a time when tattoos were stigmatized as a mark of slavery, crime, and disgrace, especially during the Greek and Roman era. In fact, the Latin word for tattoo is Stigma.

Tattoos have now evolved from being a taboo to a pop-culture obsession thanks to celebrities, rock stars, and influencers.

Over the past 20 years, tattoos have enjoyed enormous popularity as the craze for skin art exploded. It’s hard not to follow suit when scantily-clad celebrities flaunt their gorgeous tattoos on Instagram.

Tattoo trends in 2018

The year 2018 saw the tattoo trend of artists working directly over the top or around existing tattoos, using thick dark lines.

Frequent requests also included black and gray fine lines, smaller Illustrations that use black ink with little or no shading at all, minimal tattoos that include scripted lettering,
and blended tattoo styles from different countries.

The most popular tattoo locations were the wrists, hands, and fingers, behind the ears and under the boobs.

The trend for minimal tattoos continued in 2019, with any shading discarded
altogether. In addition to scripted lettering, popular designs now include faces, flowers, and bodies. Even men are sporting tiny little balloons on their forearms!

 

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But with all the trends that come and go, many tattoo artists still prefer traditional tattoos. Black and grey, photo-realistic tattoos, ultra-realistic tattoos, and geometric work still dominate the scene.

 

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Ten Best Tattoos of 2018/9

Choosing a tattoo design is like choosing a partner in life – some of them you’ll regret, some of them you’ll cherish. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned tattoo enthusiast, your luck in finding the perfect tattoo boils down to your personal preferences. So here are the coolest tattoo designs that have impressed over the past year.

Our Picks

Emma Watson’s Time’s Up Tattoo would have made it to this list, not because it’s a typo but because of the buzz it created. But sadly it doesn’t qualify as a tattoo, so here are our best picks of 2018-2019.

1. Mamba Out! The sweat beads tho.

 

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Steve Butcher doesn’t have a million followers for nothing. It was only two years ago when the ink he made of McCaw’s bloodied face on a fan’s leg was dubbed by NewstalkZB and NZME broadcaster Tony Veitch as “the greatest sports tattoo”. This time, he has outdone himself with this ultra-realistic, painstakingly detailed rendition of Kobe Bryant. It’s not even photorealistic because it doesn’t look like a photograph, it looks life-like! “The hardest part about realistic tattoos is getting the likeness 100 percent because unlike a painting, you can’t paint over a tattoo.” says Steve.

2. Finger Candles

 

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This wicked piece freaked us out the first time we saw it! Jak Connoly’s clever manipulation of negative space, extraordinary attention to detail, and profound symbolism make this incredible skin art absolutely phenomenal!

3. Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?

 

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This freaking fantastic killer work by Mark Wosgerau made our jaws drop, literally. The perspective of depth, the sharpness and blurriness, the contrast and the subtle transitions come together to create this dramatic effect. It’s, quite simply, a masterpiece.

4. The Brave, the Dead and the Beautiful

 

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This wondrous portrait of a girl with a tiger headdress was rendered by Guzman Perez of Miami Florida, the man behind the name of Bolo Art Tattoo. According to Guzman, the girl is his client’s daughter, and by the looks of it, no one can mess with her. Guzman’s lifelike
renditions, glamorous compositions never cease to amaze us.

5. New Legs!

 

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This biomechanical tattoos by Cheyenne artist Roman Abrego just blew us away! They’re so realistic you’d think that the wearer is capable of giant leaps. Uncanny photorealism on a live canvas!

Best Tattoos Picked by Tattoo Artists

Asking tattoo artists to pick the best tattoo other than their own is like asking Miss Universe contestants to pick their winner for Miss Universe. Of course, they would be coy about picking their own works so the next best thing to do is choose the work of someone whose style resembles theirs most. So we choose 5 well-known tattoo artists and peeped on their preferences.

1. “It was all started by a mouse!” – Walt Disney

bullmantattoons

Revered cartoon tattoo artist, and illustrator aka “Tattoonist” Thom Bulman certainly did not start with a mouse, but his playful and wonderful colors caught the attention of fans all over the planet and admirers in the tattoon world including Steve Sklepic. For Steve, this Mickey Mouse rendition of Thom Bulman is a total stand out. Steve has over 10 years of experience in tattoo art and enjoys all things colorful – from portrait realism to cartoons and pop culture. It’s little wonder he loves Thom Bulman then.

2.Top of the Game

 

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Marc Roy loves the black and grey realism of Thomas Carli Jarlier. “His level of realism is just off the charts,” Roy says of Jarlier. Many fans of Jarlier share Roy’s sentiments, and needless to say, Roy’s works are also outstanding pieces of real and surreal black and grey. He enjoys inking ornate and intricate subject matters, especially subjects that are off the beaten path.

3. Wait till you see the eyes open…

 

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Daniel Armitage, a hyperrealist and surrealist, points to Dmitriy Samohin’s hyperrealistic work. “Dmitriy Samohin has always been a big inspiration”, says Daniel Armitage. We totally agree. Ukrainian tattoo artist Dmitriy Samohin takes tattoos to a whole new level. The details are uncanny – the beard, the hair and the beads, this work is so lifelike you can’t help but wait for the eyes to open. But sorry to disappoint you guys, only Pinocchio comes to life. Or does he, really?

4.The Man with a Dragon Armpit.

 

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Lexi Hanna of Honor Bound Tattoos goes for Jeff Gogue’s masterpiece. “I love solid big pieces that cover the body and become a part of you,” says Hanna. JeffGogue is considered by many as one of the best in the tattoo industry. Seeing the quality of his works, it’s easy to see why clients travel from distant lands just to get tattooed by Jeff. You can also see traces of Jeff Gogue’s influence in Hannah’s amazing full sleeve tattoos.

5.The Most Famous Tongue in the World

 

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Carlos Torres picks the work of Robert Hernandez. “He’s the one who influences me the most. He’s the Dali of the tattoo world, I love his surrealism”, Torres says of Hernandez. This 3d tattoo is so mind-boggling you can almost feel Gene Simmons’ tongue stick out of the wearer’s skin. Torres himself is a popular surrealist. “Black & grey was something that I was attracted to. I find it timeless; like a black & white photograph will always look cool no matter what. It also works well with tattoos. I am happy to just do black & matter what” bulmantattoons.com

Best Tattoos Picked by Users

1. “Is it weird that I want to peel the rest of the skin off?”

This tattoo is easily the most popular tattoo of 2018, not because it is extremely good or a horrible tattoo, but because of the attention it attracted on the internet. The first few layers of the above tattoo were burned, exposing the dermis that holds tattoo pigment. Man, you won’t believe the funny comments and responses that it got.

Posted by Chris_Isur_Dude

2.The Prettiest

 

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“I love permanent makeup if done tastefully. There is a tattoo artist here where I live who does areola restorative tattoos for breast cancer survivors. Terry is a master though she’s humble. Check out the 3D nipple tattoo. This has got to be one of the most beautiful
tattoos… there are so much love and meaning in these,” says Dianna Sierra, Disabled Veteran at U.S. Army

3. Simply stunning!

One of Sheila Hughes’ picks for the year 2018, she just saw this on the internet and posted it as one of the best tattoos she has ever seen.

4. Those lines tho.

 

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“I admit to an inordinate amount of bias, but I think my niece Andy Revenant does some of the best workarounds”, says Loretta B DeLoggio. We agree!

5. Aweficent!

 

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“As they say, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, so it’s pretty subjective.
But the most amazing tattoo I’ve ever seen was done by Nikko Hurtado, says Dean Hamack

Worst Tattoos of 2018/9

And then there are the shitty tattoos that make you cringe. Here are a handful of those monstrosities

Worst Tattoos: Our Choice

1. A fashion statement or a lifestyle?

sucky tattoos
Uh-uh… Is she auditioning for the Drag Queens of Comedy, or is this intended to be a carnival mask? Whatever, not even a Jessica Rabbit hairstyle can help this.

2. You get what you pay for!

This is the price to pay for hunting bargain shops. Angelina Jolie surely looks great here in Day of the Dead, or is it Halloween?

3. Don’t do it when you’re drunk

Imagine wearing this monstrous depiction of your daughter on your arm for life. Judging by the size of the father’s arm, we have a bad feeling that the artist who did this is already six feet under.

4. The Vagina Monologues

Vaginas just keep turning up everywhere but the last place you expect to find one is at the nape of a guy who is standing in front of you in a moving bus as it takes a sharp turn.

5. Sinfully Delicious

Just what every woman needs if they can’t get it between their legs anymore.

Worst Tattoos: Tattoo Artist’s Section

If it’s difficult to get tattoo artists to pick the best tattoos other than their own, it’s even harder to get their public opinion on their fellow artists’ worst work. We’ve found at least two tattoo artists who can openly comment on bad tattoos, and here are their worst picks.

1. Badass Kitty

This is the definition of disgusting. “If I see you take off your shirt for the first time and see this tattoo, I would think ‘This man needs help, I should take him to a mental hospital”, says tattoo artist Tamia Overes.

2. One Love

Alex Vashuta is critical of this tattoo’s composition. “Why are the L and the O so close together and then everything else is so widely spaced apart?” Alex asks. He also commented on the O’s and the E’s irregularities. Talk about getting into the minds of tattoo artists. Ha!

3. Fuck the World

“This is taking ‘I want to fuck the world’ to a literal extreme,” says Alex Vashuta. “Why would you even fuck the globe? Don’t you even realize that there’s molten lava in the middle? You put your thing in there, you’re gonna die.” Hilarious.

4. BFF

Both Tamia and Alex just ran out of words looking at this ridiculous piece. “You just have to be dedicated…” was all Alex could say in between guffaws.

5. One Direction

“As if he needed confirmation”, Alex bursts out with laughter. Both agree that this piece is just so gross.

Worst Tattoos: User’s Section

We looked for users’ recommendation for the worst tattoo award and here’s what we found:

1. The Black Hole

The thing is, it’s not even a hole, it is a rape of human flesh as one commenter
observed. Austanaa found this on Facebook

2.Tattoo or Infection?

“It looks like a butthole with a tennis ball coming out,” says one of the comments. I’m not sure which is more hilarious, the tattoo or the comment section. Submitted by Turkay Lurkay

3. Guess What

Viewers are having a hard time identifying the subject of this tattoo. “Skull puking scrambled eggs onto a dead hairless dog while blood shoots out its eye?” goes one wild guess. “Don’t draw your own tattoos folks,” a commenter shares his wisdom. Uploaded by kerryd88

4.Tinder Dating Tips

The perfect way to attract serious women online! This tattoo speaks volumes about the wearer. He’s not a perfectionist, he can’t tell beauty apart from ugliness and he’s not difficult to please. Carly Elizabeth Schmitt found this on Tinder and cast her vote.

5. Shitty Cover Up

“Looks like someone popped hemorrhoid’, says one viewer. Makes you want to wear elbow pads even when you are sleeping. Or consider amputation. Submitted by user “fetus-wearing-a-suit” on Reddit
We can’t stress this enough, but unless you can afford laser removal, you really have to be careful on the selection and placement of your tattoo, because you’re going to live with it the rest of your life. 
Not all areas of the body are ideal spots for tattoos because some parts of your body stretch as you age, or fade due to so much exposure to the sun. So we’ve compiled the best and the worst body part tattoos for your reference.

Best Body Part Tattoos

Best Neck Tattoos

1. David Beckham Rules!

So who hasn’t heard or seen pictures of David Beckham’s four birds of prey flying upward from beneath his ear to his hairline?

 

2. Rihanna Rocks!

Don’t you find Rihanna so alluring with this elegant textual neck tattoo? She surely rocks it! 

Best Hand Tattoos

1. Intense Dragon Eye

It’s hard to ignore the intense yet dreamy gaze of this dragon eye that seems to penetrate the soul. A rare masterpiece!

2. Winged Grace

This 3d butterfly tattoo just nails it! Butterflies are powerful and deep representations of life. They stand for rebirth, metamorphosis, beauty and transcendence of the soul.

Best Ankle Tattoo

1. Innocent Charm

 

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This delicate and detailed rendition of a dainty bouquet is a sure-fire winner!

2. Moon Hammock

 

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The charm that this pretty tattoo exudes is simply alluring.

Best Arm Tattoos

1. Dreamcatcher

This is simply gorgeous and enchanting, something you’d love to flaunt anywhere

2. Solid Marble

 

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This sculpture effect is just incredible, it can easily take you to another dimension!

3. Beyond

 

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Incredible torso tattoo with a touch of mystery and the dark world.

2. Bold Move

1. Tribal Eagle

The balance, color harmony and execution of this chest tattoo is simply incredible!

2. Lotus in the Valley

Worst Body Part Tattoos

These tattoos will make you feel thankful you did not get inked.

Worst Neck Tattoo

1. Redneck

2. Head Over Head

This man is proud of having another man’s head under his own Worst Hand Tattoos

1. Oh God, Why?

Staying true doesn’t have to be bloody messy.

2. Child’s Play

Would you like to wake up with this creepy hand next to you every morning? 

Worst Ankle Tattoos

1. Beach Party

The best outfit for your beach date. Good luck!

2. Socks Galore!

The best alternative to socks!

Worst Arm Tattoos

1. All Seeing Eye

Now You See Me

2. Mama’s Boy

The worst thing you can do to your Mom

Worst Full Body Tattoos

1. I Want My Skin Back!

Not that it’s that horrible, but this man from Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire regrets having a full body tattoo and is now willing to undergo 10 years of laser removal just to get his skin back.

2. Vintage

Can’t tell which is worse, his green face or his vintage print style duffle bag body.

Best and Worst Tattoo Themes

Sporting an ordinary tattoo has lost some of its allure. A 3D tattoo on the other hand promises to captivate and intrigue, such as these amazing pieces:
There are endless possibilities for expression, and tattoo has proven to be a versatile medium. Dallas Cowboy fans, for example, show their love and support for their favorite team with a slew of awesome skin art.
Some women express their freedom, independence, and confidence through skin art! It’s not every day that you can find women who have the balls to get inked on their intimate areas.
But of course, there are also epic fails. You’ve heard a lot about misspelled tattoos. But did you know that Ariana Grande’s misspelled tattoo actually netted her a cool $1.5 million?
But not everyone can get so lucky -as the owners of these phallic tattoos will know.

NBA players have their share of the best, and worst too.

Some of the best, and worst, NBA tattoos
NBA players are the most front-and-center of all athletes. Football and hockey players wear helmets, as do baseball players when they bat and caps when they are in the field. They wear long pants and long sleeves most of the time too.
Baseball players, David Beckham doesn’t fail to amaze us with his profound, well-thought-of tattoos.

We love this Chinese proverb etched vertically on his sexy side.

David Beckham Chinese Tattoo, Proverb Tattoo Meaning
Celebrity David Beckham has a tattoo with philosophical meaning. This is a Chinese proverb. It reads “death and life have pre-determined appointments”. Riches and honor are from heaven. His etching received a lot of media attention and the press praised Beckham for being so thoughtful with his tattoos.

Simply delicious! And who doesn’t love Zayn Malik’s glow in the dark light saber?

Adam Levine’s sexy whole back tattoo is still a hit.

While Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott’s matching butterflies are still the buzz

But although celebrities can afford the best tattoo artists in the world, they can still end up with the most ridiculous tattoos.

If there’s anything that Kendall Jenner learned about tattoos, it’s that you should never get inked when drunk.

And if we can learn anything from Ryan Gosling, it’s that we should leave it to professionals.

“One of my tattoos is supposed to be a monster’s hand dropping a bloody heart,” he explained, “but I did it myself with a tattoo kit, so it looks like a cactus.”
Then there’s Ed Sheeran’s botched “Galway Girl” tattoo that ended up as “Galway Grill” because Saoirse Ronan is the ultimate prankster and she spelled it wrong on purpose.
Saoirse Ronan Tells The True Story Behind Ed Sheeran’s Tattoo Fail Don’t blame Ronan for this mistake!

Which celeb are you most like according to your tattoos?

And as you have probably seen, fans of celebrities can take their devotion to a whole new level, to the point of getting their favorite celeb’s face inked on their skin. This stunning Queen Rih Rih tattoo on a fan’s arm is one of the best out there
Beyonce has her own set of dedicated fans too, and this very detailed representation of her on a fan’s arm is absolutely stunning!
It’s impossible not to have at least one lifelike fan tattoo of Angelina Jolie’s face. Once hailed as the “Most Beautiful Woman in the World, Jolie’s face has been subject of countless masterpieces, including this sultry version of her.

You can feel the love for Michael Jackson here, but it just doesn’t resemble him a bit.

“Mama, just killed a man”… We’re wondering if Freddie was referring to the artist who did this?

How to Cover Up or Remove a Tattoo Gone Wrong

So the above information may help you to decide what kind of tattoo to get, but what if you already made the wrong decision or your tattoo artist messed up?

Maybe you got it right in the beginning but you’ve fallen out of love with it.

Or your relationship did not work and you need to totally erase your ex’s name out of your life and skin. There are several options to handle a terrible tattoo.

Live With It

Many people do, and so can you. Hide It. You can hide it, using makeup or clothing.

Cover it

You need a really good and creative tattoo artist who can work over your existing tattoo. Here are a few brilliant ideas:

Remove It

There are several ways to remove bad tattoos. A quick search will yield natural methods such as this,

But good luck with that one!

Laser Removal

The most effective way to remove tattoos gone wrong is through laser removal. Laser centers have popped up anywhere, but if you don’t want to make another mistake about your skin, the safest place to go for a laser removal is a Dermatologist’s office.

Myths About Laser Removal

Myth #1 Laser Removal is a Quick Solution to RemoveBad Tattoos

Laser removal is not a magic eraser. It may take several months or up to two years to complete the process, and sessions can be at a 2, 6, 8 or 12 weeks interval.

Myth # 2 Laser Removal is Accessible to Anyone

Sorry to break the news, but it’s not. It may cost hundreds of dollars per session over a period of two years.

Myth # 3 It’s a Simple, Painless Procedure

On the contrary, it’s an invasive procedure that can cause swelling, bleeding, and pain.

Myth # 4 It Works for Everyone

Laser removal works best for lighter skin. It can cause burns and hyperpigmentation to those with darker skin tones

Myth # 5 It Works for All Kinds of Tattoos

Brightly colored tattoos are difficult to remove, especially white, yellow and purple. Tattoos done by professionals can also pose a greater challenge than amateur tattoos.

Myth # 6 It’s a very safe method

Laser removal works by breaking up the pigments which will be carried to the lymph nodes through the bloodstream and may cause a systemic reaction. Hypersensitive patients may be at risk for anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition. People with allergies must opt for the abrasive laser which removes the top layer of the skin. Healing may take 4 to 8 weeks depending on your health condition and aftercare.

Laser Tattoo Removal Aftercare

After each laser removal session, you may experience bruising, swelling, and blistering. Here’s how to care for the affected skin.

1. Apply a cold compress for the first 24 hours to ease discomfort and inflammation.

2. Keep the area bandaged with sterile gauze over an antibiotic ointment for at least 3 days. Keep the area dry and clean during the healing period.

3. You may take a pain reliever but never aspirin as it can increase the risk of bleeding and bruising

4. Never pick any scabs that form

5. Avoid baths, hot tubs, or swimming to protect the affected area from infection.

6. Avoid the sun and avoid wearing make-up on or around the affected area

7. During the healing process, use Aquaphor, Vitamin E ointment, or hydrocortisone cream to counter the dehydrating effect of the laser treatment.

8. If you suspect infection – spreading redness, oozing and honey-colored crusting, seek medical help immediately

Here are some examples of tattoo removal gone wrong because of cheap laser therapy options:

If laser tattoo removal can cause disasters, what can we say of cheap, questionable options? Pasuda Reaw of Thailand learned this lesson the hard way. Because she found laser removal expensive, she settled for a cheap, chemical alternative applied with a small tattoo gun which is said to raise ink pigments to the surface of the skin. This was how her tattoo looked like before it was removed:

Her skin formed scabs and started peeling away after the procedure:

Two months after enduring unbearable, excruciating pain, this is the final result of Pasuda Reaw’s chemical tattoo removal:

Student reveals painful scars left when tattoo removal went horribly wrong The 21-year-old got the tattoo a year ago. 

In light of the horrible testimonies on laser removal, perhaps the best way to remove a bad tattoo is to avoid a tattoo. Seriously, should you really decide on getting a tattoo, don’t settle for less, lest you regret your decision. Remember, choosing a tattoo design and the right tattoo artist is like choosing a lifetime partner. Blow it, and you will suffer the consequences for the rest of your life. Removing it is as costly and harrowing as having a divorce, so choose well. 

How to Find a Reputable Tattoo Artist Near You*

The easiest way to locate an amazing artist is through referrals. If you know someone who has a really cool tattoo, ask who did it.
* Most tattoo artists are now online. Research every studio within your vicinity and check their portfolio and online reviews on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumbler. Read the negative reviews first because some reviews may be fake and are only posted to counterbalance negative comments.
* Try to attend a tattoo show and observe tattoo artists at work and collect some business cards.
* Use  online resources such as InkLocations

* Study the artists’ work. Check their lines, gradation in shades, contrast, smoothness, and accuracy. Remember, your tattoo is meant to last a lifetime. Give it enough effort to find the best.

* Visit the most likely candidates and check their hygiene standards. You should feel better if they have hygiene certificates to ensure that your tattoo turns out to be everything you ever hoped it to be, take a quiz here. 

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