I have heard people say that if you have to ask what the image is in a tattoo it’s not a good tattoo. The question I have about that is simple: Why? If you have an abstract tattoo that means your view of that thing or concept is simply that: it is a reflection of your perspective on the subject. Other people may not even be meant to get it, which is perfectly fine. The design is between the artist and the individual, the meaning is all about the wearer.
The term “abstract” can have different definitions applied to it. It can mean a formless array of completely random shapes or colors or it can mean a distortion of what people perceive as normal. This second definition is the one that you can most easily apply to the average abstract tattoo.
Quite often, the abstract tattoo is a caricature or overstatement of an average thing, but it can also be seemingly formless, creating a picture whose meaning is known only to the person who wears it. It is important to understand that “abstract” does not necessarily translate to “disorder.” The average abstract tattoo has a specific flow and order to it, just not a standard portrait of the thing it represents.
All great tattoos start the same way: with an idea. Even if you select a design from a book, the finished product almost always carries the unique style of the artist as well as the wearer. As you think about your design, think about ways to manipulate the image, to conform it to a specific thought in your head. What do you see in that picture? What do you want your abstract tattoo to “say?”
Abstract Tattoos Designs
The most popular abstract tattoo designs are focused on a central theme or image that is clearly and readily identifiable surrounded by supporting imagery that becomes more chaotic as it moves further away from that central theme. In most cases, however, this is a very organized chaos that lends to the theme and directs attention back to the main image.
When choosing your abstract tattoo, be sure to start with a theme that has a clear meaning to you and one that you feel deserves the attention it will likely get if it is on a visible part of your body. The point of all that seeming randomness is to create an artistic frame for the central theme so choose a theme and an abstract design that work well together.