Some time back, very few artists flaunted tattoos. The majority of celebrity tattoos were seen on rock stars who felt the need to snub convention. Janis Joplin, being amongst the first to openly sport a tattoo, wore an almost flowery design around her wrist; Ozzy Osbourne has a wider selection featuring bats, faces, even his name printed on his fingers. However, as time has gone by tattoos have developed a broader following, and this can be seen by the fact that there are more stars exhibiting their body art.
Celebrity tattoos can be seen in print, movie theaters, even on the playing fields. Two of the most recognizable tattoo buffs are Angelina Jolie and David Beckham. Angelina Jolie has many tattoos such as a Buddhist Pali incantation written on her shoulder, a Tennessee Williams quote on her left arm, and a Bengal tiger on her lower back, amongst many others. David Beckham brandishes a whole plethora of tattoo art, most of which carry a good deal of meaning. Some of his tattoos feature scripts and pieces of art that are meant to represent his wife and children. He also shows Roman numerals, kanji script, angels and crosses in his tattoos.
Some of the more popular celebrity tattoos have mystical or religious connotations. These tattoos often feature quotes from religious writings — usually in the script’s native language — and even signs such as the Aum, enso (or circle of enlightenment), or Shield of David symbols. Many other celebrities prefer to express their passions through their tattoos. These passions may be of their particular art, or their passion for those they hold dearest to them.
Conversely, given the fascination that stars hold for most folks, it is not uncommon to see people wearing celebrity tattoos. These designs can range from exact replicas of a favorite star’s tattoo, to a portrait of a well loved artist. Portraits can range from classical to modern artists. For instance, one of the more popular classical artists used for celebrity tattoos is Ludwig van Beethoven. Not only was his music an inspiration to many, but the appearance of his lion’s mane, passionate stance and determined expression, make him one of the most recognizable archetypal figures. A more modern equivalent would be Madonna. There have been several tattoo portraits done of this musician, most of which feature her in her earlier incarnations; teased hair, heavy makeup and sheathed in revealing clothing. She is usually displayed before a microphone, or lounging on a bed with a lace covered arm behind her head.
Whether you agree with body art or not, tattoos show no sign of going away. These symbols have blossomed from the underground and have now firmly planted themselves in modern popular culture.