It seems as though society becomes more and more tattoo-obsessed every day. We went from tattoos being a total taboo to people making entire Instagram accounts dedicated to cool ink. Even celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon and become more heavily tatted in recent years, especially actors and models – who used to be told they’d never get jobs if their tattoos were too noticeable.
Learning about celebrities’ tattoos can give you a glimpse of who they are and what’s important to them, which is why some of their unusual tattoo choices raise eyebrows. Some of these are sweet enough to want it yourself, and others are admittedly a little off the wall. Either way, we appreciate the concepts.
18. Shawn Mendes’s guitar tattoo
At first glance, Shawn Mendes’s guitar tattoo on his forearm is a little cliché. A singer-songwriter with an instrument tattooed – we’ve seen that. But actually, the tattoo is a heck of a lot more meaningful than it initially appears. The body of the guitar is the forest reflecting on water, which is connected to the city Toronto (where he was born) by a soundwave of his parents and sister saying “I love you.” If you weren’t swooning over him yet, you probably are now. His music already breaks our hearts and simultaneously puts them back together again. Now, just the thought of his heartfelt tattoo is enough to have us head over heels.
17. David Beckham’s stick figure tattoo
It’s an interesting tattoo choice, a stick figure. It’s on your body forever, and tattoos always elicit questions from people about their meaning. Good thing David Beckham has a great explanation for the drawing of a stick figure little girl on his right hand. His 4-year-old daughter, Harper, drew it there and Beckham decided to make the doodle permanent. Most parents just hang up their kids’ drawings on the fridge, but the British soccer player took it another step further. Some people get their kids’ birthdays tattooed somewhere, but this is a more unique way of showing his little ones how much he cares.
16. Rihanna’s Maori tattoo
Honestly, just call Rihanna the queen of tattoos. All of her ink is unique and well done, from the camouflage shark on her ankle to the Goddess Isis on her chest. This traditional Maori tattoo on her hand may be the coolest of them all, though. She got the tat in New Zealand, and it reflects the traditional Maori and Polynesian Tatu. The ink runs from her fingernails to the middle of her forearm. Instead of a needle machine, which is how most tattoos are done today, this tattoo was done with a chisel and mallet, just like traditional Maori ink. She eventually had her tattoo artist from New York finish off the piece. Just thinking about that process is painful, but props to Bad Gal RiRi for putting up with the pain for this awesome piece of art.
15. Joe Jonas’s geometric hand
There’s something about geometric tattoos that make them extremely satisfying to look at, especially when they have a unique aspect to them. Joe Jonas has a couple tattoos, but this one on his forearm of a simple triangle with a hand inside of it definitely meets the criteria of a unique geometric tattoo. The art was done in Canada by a folk traditional tattoo artist named Curt Montgomery. It doesn’t seem to have any special meaning to it (that we know of), but not all tattoos need to be sentimental to be cool. Like Jonas’s other tattoos, this one is simplistic, yet intricate. It clearly took some attention to detail with its fine lines and subtle elegance.
14. Kristen Stewart’s Guernica tattoo
While filming Clouds of Sils Maria, Kristen Stewart had multiple fake tattoos drawn on her for her character. They were all famous paintings, and she took a special liking to this one. It’s part of a Pablo Picasso painting called “Guernica,” and she said she first saw in Madrid when she was 18 and it really spoke to her in a way no other painting ever has. This part of the painting — a black rectangle with an eye in the middle, the center of which looks like a lightbulb — was drawn on her for filming, she decided to make it permanent after the film ended.
13. Cara Delevingne’s pair of eyes
You know that old saying that your parents used to say about having eyes in the back of their head to see everything you do? Well, Cara Delevingne actually does – though they probably aren’t much help in the vision department. The actress has an extremely realistic pair of eyes tattooed on her back of her neck, just below her hairline. When her hair is up, does it seem like the second pair of eyes is staring at you? It’s kind of a creepy tattoo to have, but the eyes are very detailed and well-drawn, which makes them a solid piece of work either way.
12. Zosia Mamet’s heart on her hand
A heart might seem like a super basic tattoo that everyone has (and it totally can be), but Zosia Mamet made this basic tat all her own by having it drawn on the palm of her hand. It’s a simple, one-lined heart, but the placing and size are interesting. She explained the meaning in an interview with Byrdie, saying “I knew I wanted a simple heart tattoo, but that can look so cheesy. I had just fallen in love and this kind of just came to me. And I like the sentiment that when you shake someone’s hand it’s with your heart.” What a way to make a simple tattoo pack so much meaning behind it.
11. Ben Affleck’s phoenix
Ben Affleck isn’t the only celebrity to have a pretty large tattoo, but his is pretty eye-catching. The colorful phoenix rising from the ashes takes up pretty much his entire back, and it’s extremely intricate. When photos of it originally surfaced, he claimed it was fake for a movie he was filming, but that clearly wasn’t true. He’s never hinted at the meaning behind it, but it’s not common for actors to commit to such large tattoos because they’re more difficult to cover up or explain as part of a character. We really just need to know WHY he did this.
10. Steve-O’s tattoo of his own face
Some people get portraits of other people tattooed on them, but Steve-O got his own face tattooed on his back instead. The portrait takes up his entire back, and has his signature with the words “yeah dude I rock” at the bottom. Steve-O is quite the character, so it’s not a surprise that he decided to tattoo his own face on his back. Most of his tattoos are a bit crazy and definitely make you wonder what he was thinking – or doing – when he got them. They make us laugh, though, and they probably make him laugh, too. Honestly, that’s probably the whole point!
9. Miley Cyrus’s vegemite
In honor of her beau Liam Hemsworth’s favorite food, Miley Cyrus has a jar of vegemite tattooed on the back of her arm. Whether or not we agree that vegemite is the best food in the world (it’s an Australian thing), we have to admit it’s a pretty cute and unique way for her to pay tribute to her love. Miley has some other tattoos that are pretty interesting, like the talking dog Floyd and the aliens on her knuckles, so she’s made it clear she’s willing to get almost anything inked on her no matter what others may think. It’s probably safe to say that her vegemite tattoo, like many of her other tattoos, is one of a kind.
8. Iggy Azalea’s Venus
Rihanna isn’t the only celebrity to have a goddess tattooed on her. Iggy Azalea has a portrait of the Goddess Venus tattooed on her forearm. It’s a rendition of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus painting, and it covers up a flower tattoo that Azalea used to have on her arm. She calls it the “Disney-fied” version of Venus, meaning that it’s a little more modern and cartoonish than Botticelli’s original depiction of the goddess. When she got the new ink, she posted a photo with a caption calling Venus her “wifey,” so we’re guessing that means that she loves both the goddess and her tattoo.
7. Paris Jackson’s chakra tattoo
Paris Jackson is pretty heavily inked with some great pieces of art and we’re jealous. Sometimes multiple, very distinct tattoos can clash, but Jackson manages to pull off her ink no matter how many tattoos she gets or where they’re located. All of her tattoos are unique and personal, but her spiritual chest tattoo blows them all out of the water. The chakra tattoo, which represents energy points, is drawn down the center of her chest. The model is open about her spirituality, so the chakra tattoo is beautiful yet unsurprising. She’s also spoken out before about the number of tattoos she has, saying that she appreciates them as an art form and that’s why she keeps going back for more. We dig it!
6. Demi Lovato’s pinky tattoo
Demi Lovato also has quite a few tats to her name. The singer has a realistic portrait of a lion tattooed on the back of her hand, a “stay strong” wrist tattoo, a flock of birds on her forearm, and this cute lil’ guy. Perhaps her most interesting tattoo, this pinky smiley face is simple and kind of adorable. When she got inked, she posted on Instagram with the caption “cause life’s too short not to tattoo your pinky.” There were stories that her rumored boyfriend at the time, Luke Rockhold got the same tat. Juicy!
5. Drake’s portrait of Denzel Washington tattoo
Drake loves to pay tribute to his faves through portrait tattoos. He has one of his mom, his dad, some of his friends who have passed away, fellow rapper/mentor Lil Wayne, and he also has one of actor Denzel Washington. In the portrait, Washington is depicted as his character Bleek Gilliam, from the 1990 jazz movie called Mo’ Better Blues — most likely one of Drake’s favorites. Denzel Washington reacted to the tattoo on Jimmy Fallon, saying “that’s crazy.” It IS pretty crazy, considering the number of faces that Drake has inked on him. We can’t say it isn’t unusual.
4. Kesha’s Narwhal tattoo
Who else would have a narwhal tattoo besides Kesha? In addition to being ridiculously cute, the ink reminds her of a Halloween she spent with friends dressed in a narwhal onesie. When she got the tattoo, she posted about it and wrote “when u find the real ones hold on tight for dear life y’all. they’re what’ll keep u laughing when life throws you shitheads and douchebags.” One of her fans gave her the onesie on her tour, and she was super excited to wear it. The ink definitely holds more meaning than meets the eye and the idea that great friends are tough to come by is one that can’t be understated.
3. Keke Palmer’s Kingdom of Kush
Keke Palmer’s pyramid tattoo on the back of her neck isn’t just the Kingdom of Kush, an ancient African Nubian kingdom that reached the height of its power in 700 B.C. It symbolizes female empowerment and her passion for learning about African history. When introducing her fresh ink on Instagram, she said “what I love most is its history of female rulers! In school, we very rarely ever learn about female rules and never about African rulers. Amanirenas was one of the most famous Queens of Kush….” A tattoo and a history lesson for everyone who asks about it… cool.
2. Ellie Goulding’s galaxy tattoo
To match a similar piece on the other side of her ribcage and to go along with her eight other tattoos, Ellie Goulding has a galactic design on her left side. The tattoo is meant to represent stars, planets, and galaxies, and it was done by celebrity tattoo artist Dr. Woo. The lines are so delicate and detailed, the piece is stunning. At first glance, it might seem like some pieces that can be found on any hipster Instagram or Pinterest, but Dr. Woo drew this from inspirations that Goulding brought into the shop, so it’s entirely her own.
1. Harry Styles’s heart tattoo
Harry Styles wears his heart on his sleeve, quite literally. The singer has an anatomically correct heart inked on the inside of his bicep. Whether it’s romantic or slightly unsettling that the British heartthrob has a bulging heart muscle on his arm is to be determined, but either way, it makes for some cool artwork. The meaning is unknown (if there is any meaning at all), but it is quite similar to a tattoo of an anatomical heart that Miley Cyrus has, which was inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketch of the human heart. Maybe Styles was inspired by Cyrus or Da Vinci. Harry’s tatted up with all sorts of tattoos – including one that says “Late Late” after he lost a game with his One Direction mates on The Late Late Show with James Corden. LOL.