Not everyone is compelled to tell stories through their tattoos. Some people do little or no research before going under the needle whereas others have meticulously selected every inch of their design with a purpose. It is always a matter of choice, but have you ever wondered how well your tattoos fit your personality and style?
Whether you care or not, tattoos tend to carry a message. Intentionally or not, people tend to interpret tattoos the same way they would interpret a painting in an art gallery or museum. Everything from the colors to the quality of the work is subconsciously scrutinized by some and just completely ignored by others. This raises yet another question: do you care?
Flipping through a local publication, I came across an article about local tattoo artists and their different points of view regarding tattoos and their experiences. Isobel Hitchcock, who owns Ancient Art Tattoo in North Fort Myers, told the Fort Myers Florida Weekly that a person could be over-thinking the message or the meaning of a tattoo when you put ‘too much thought into it.’ The twenty two year veteran got her first tattoos at a very young age and when she was asked why she did it, she just replied: ‘because they are pretty’.
As a living canvas, it is good to have at least an idea of what a commonly used symbol represents. It is most likely empowering to know that your tattoo is being ‘read’ by others in a positive way and that it all entices with the reasons why you got tattooed in the first place, or so we hope.
There are thousands, if not millions of symbols used in tattoos. Here is a short list of my favorites:
- The koi – The precious Japanese fish, known as carp in our hemisphere, carries a very strong meaning of worldly aspiration and advancement. It is also a symbol of positive qualities. In tattoo imagery, especially in combination with flowing water, it symbolizes courage, the ability to attain high goals and overcoming life's difficulties.
- The tiger – It is probably the most tattooed animal in the world representing several meanings, most of which many people can all relate to. Strength, beauty and fearlessness are some of the meanings given to this popular tattoo symbol.
- The lotus flower – This beautiful symbol has been associated in the tattoo world with wealth, rebirth, purity and enlightenment. It has also been associated with the human soul, gods and goddesses in multiple legends and ancient stories.
- The scorpion – Fierceness and determination are meanings commonly associated with this symbol. Many people get a scorpion tattoo in representation of their horoscope or zodiac symbol.
- The black bird – Usually relate to people who do not give up their secrets easily. They are also associated with mystery and the light versus dark concept.
Meaningful or not, feeling proud of your ink is important. Being a living and breathing canvas is, in essence, an honor and a responsibility to those who admire, promote and encourage tattooing. If you are rocking meaningful tattoos, we celebrate you. If not, we encourage you to find out. You never know the inspiration that could come out of those little symbols.