As kids these days, we’re lucky, because the generations that came before us took Traditional Tattoos from the shadows into the mainstream. And while they were paving the way for our easy access to ink, they littered that path with enough cheesy, Traditional Tattoos to fill the lower backs of all of our ancestors. So what exactly constitutes a clichéd tattoo? I asked accomplished tattoo artist JR Tubbs of True Till Death Tattoo Co. in Ashtabula, Ohio. He had great advice: “Traditional Tattoos right now are pretty much anything you’re printing off of Pinterest and bringing in to your artist. The little arrows, the flower turning into birds …”
He has a point. How original could your tattoo be if it has been passed around social media by a million people (or more)? You want your tattoo artist to get excited about your design, not roll their eyes and yawn because your super special, meaningful tattoo was the same super special and meaningful tattoo of nine other random people this week.
So does it mean that you suck at life if you have a Pinterest tattoo? Of course not. Any tattoo, whether trendy or not, can be great if it’s well-done and meaningful to you. And Tubbs admits that he doesn’t hate doing trendy tattoos. He just wants to make sure that you put a good amount of thought into what you’re getting. Totally reasonable, considering how you’re adding permanent art to your body. When in doubt, Tubbs recommends that you veer toward traditional and go with “classic, bold, timeless designs. Things that won’t go out of style in five or ten years. Designs that our grandfathers and great grandfathers wore.”