Portraits of grandmas are trendy. Barcodes are so passe. And Chinese script tattoos on Westerners are questionable and already so yesteryear.
Once the realm of old school rockers and rebels, tattoos are booming in Australia in 2013 — one in four people under the age of 30 has a tattoo, according to consumer watchdog Choice.
And there’s barely a celebrity, sports star or model who remains un-inked — even innocent-looking actress Jessica Alba has four tats, albeit a tiny ladybird, dainty flower and the like.
And although skin art is often thought of as a form of decoration or self-expression above and beyond the fickle world of fashion, tattoo trends can change so quickly.
You can almost carbon-date people by their tattoos.Celtic band, gecko, Bart Simpson or tribal style Aztec shield? Did you hit your 20s in the 1990s?
Asian letters, barbed wire bands or a lower back tattoo: inked in the early noughties?
Chinese script is so last decade (at least for Westerners). Latin, Arabic and Sanskrit letters are in (but probably only for now).So what patterns, pictures and phrases are most likely to withstand the vagaries of inky fashion?
Religion is a relatively safe bet.Portraits of Jesus, crosses or quotes from a religious text seem to stand the test of time.
And rockabilly-inspired tattoos, such as 1950s pin-ups, anchors, ships and swallows also have timelessness on their side.
But be warned, even if you think your love is forever, there’s a good chance it’s not as forever as a tattoo. Getting the name of a loved one etched in cursive script courts divorce disaster. Provided you get on with your parents, a simple ‘‘Mum’’ or ‘‘Dad’’ seems a safer bet.
Soccer star David Beckham’s latest declaration of love to his wife is a tattoo on his right hand that reads ‘‘Victoria’’. Ahhh ...
Then again, Angelina Jolie made one of her biggest tattoo boo-boos when she went down a similar path. She has since had her ex’s name ‘‘Billy Bob’’ removed, and replaced it with the longitudes and latitudes of the birth places of her six children with Brad Pitt.
Inking the more generic ‘‘love‘‘, instead of a partner’s name, is the take-home lesson from Jolie’s painful mistake.
Where celebrities go, their fans tend to follow. Stand by for an explosion of nana tattoos. This month, singer Miley Cyrus tweeted a photo of her latest tattoo — a giant drawing of her maternal grandmother.
In August, One Direction’s Liam Payne showed off the feather he had inked in honour of his nan, and last year, Rihanna paid tribute to her late grandmother by adding yet another tattoo to her collection, a mammoth drawing of the Egyptian goddess Isis.
(Cyrus, Payne and Rihanna haven’t been inked to honour their grandfathers yet, but when they do it will give a whole new mening to ‘‘pop star’’.)
But before you rush out to get your granny inked on your chest, take heed of the research by Choice.
It found that more than a quarter of those with a tattoo in Australia are looking to have it removed.
The ink-removal tool of choice these days is a laser, which can and has caused burns and permanent scars.
TV reality star Kelly Osbourne is one celebrity who is now undergoing the painful process of having her tattoos removed.
This month, the 28-year-old posted a video clip of her laser session on her Instagram account. Accompanying her video is the caption: ‘‘I did the crime, now I am doing the time’’.
Some examples of celebrity tattoos:—
— Singer Miley Cyrus’s latest tattoo is a giant drawing of her grandmother. She tweeted a photo of her tattoo on November 5, with the caption ‘‘because I am her favorite and she is mine’’.
— Soccer star David Beckham has over 30 tattoos. This year he had ‘‘Victoria’’ inked in cursive writing on his right hand in honour of his wife. The tattoo matches the body art on his left hand that says ‘‘love’’.
— Justin Bieber sports an array of tattoos: he has a rose tattoo, the Japanese Kanji symbol for music, a bird, the Hebrew word for Jesus and an image of Jesus and the Roman numerals I, IX, VII, V. (If you’ve been keeping up with celebrity news, you’ll know that’s the year his mother was born.)—
— Rihanna has more than a dozen tattoos. During a recent visit to New Zealand she got a Maori tribal tattoo on her hand. Her American ink artists later changed the traditional marks to make them more ‘‘pretty’’.
— Kristen Stewart, of Twilight fame, has four small parallel bars tattooed on her left wrist. She also has an infinity symbol on the inside of her right wrist.
— English model Cara Delevingne has a lion etched between the knuckles of her right index finger.
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