Tattoos are really an incredible art form. There are so many different possibilities when you are working with ink on skin. And although tiny, minimalist tattoos are totally having a moment, this is not a gallery of eensy-weensy cutesy tattoos!
The tattoos in this gallery truly work with the canvas they're on to create incredible illusions and clever designs. For some of these, you will see that when the person bends their knee or their elbow, their tattoo transforms into a totally different picture. This is a far cry from the little hearts or anchors you're seeing on many wrists these days. These are huge statement pieces with something to say.
Some of the other tattoos in this gallery are straight-up optical illusions that will mess with your mind and change what you think is possible for the human body.
It might take you a minute to comprehend these tattoos.They are wild. They are unexpected. And, they are ridiculously impressive.
The bird bursts through.
via: ImgurI love a good tattoo that looks like it's actually emerging form someone's skin. And if that skin looks all cool and futuristic-like because it's made out of squares? All the better.
Speaking of squares...
via: ImgurI know it looks like someone is actually disassembling the skin of a normally-tattooed man, but it is, in fact, more tattoos.
via: ImgurListen, the Starship Enterprise is all about traveling to places no man has gone before. So could it one day reach the edge of space and actually come out of a man's tattoo? I mean, it's possible, isn't it?
Get out of here, bee.
via: ImgurIf you tried to swat that bee away from the hexagonal holes in this person's leg, you'd just slap their skin, because that bee, along with the hexagonal holes, is just tattooed on there.
via: ImgurI don't know what I'm looking at with this tattoo, but I am both transfixed and certain it is an important vessel to deliver the information that will be crucial to the survival of humanity.
Aww, don't cry.
via: RedditIt's not actual water dripped on this stunning eye tattoo — that water is part of said stunning eye tattoo.
"Now YOU get to see the skull."
via: ImgurAt first I thought this dude just got a tattoo and then had his finger stretched too far (perhaps from doing the all-time dad favorite "pull my finger" bit?). But then he pointed and it all came together.
This is so awesome.
via: RedditLevar Burton, who played Kunta Kinte in the movie Roots has a tattoo that can be read as either Levar or Kunta, depending on how you look at it. - rexmons
But how do they do that?
via: RedditThese tattoos change color based on blood pH change and metabolite levels. - _WildForever_
It only looks simple.
Who stitched that?!
via: RedditAll right, that's it. When they're pulled off well, embroidery tattoos are officially the coolest kinds of tattoos.
via: RedditI would love to get this tattoo, but I'd worry about too many people in my life seeing me typing and throwing water on my laptop to try and extinguish the candles.
Don't stop looking at it until you've solved it.
via: RedditI actually hate this optical illusion tuning fork tattoo. If it were on my body I would never get anything done, because I would only be staring at it and trying to figure out how it exists.
The writing's on the wall-- er, arm.
via: ImgurThe notion that some people are secretly walking around made up of book pages is very strange, and now, thanks to this tattoo, it's something I have to consider whenever I meet someone new.
I just want to reach in and grab it.
via: RedditDoes the person who has this tattoo ever wear tank tops? And if they do, are they ever able to get just one moment's peace without having strangers trying to reach inside their arm?
via: RedditImagine having a hole like this in your hand. What would you store in it? My first thought was that you could use it like a drink-holder, but then I was like, why wouldn't you just hold that drink? It'd be more cumbersome than it's worth.
Hold still, you dang tattoo!
via: RedditThis tattoo moves the longer you stare at it. Its either an optical illusion or the tattoo of a wizard (it's fair to assume that wizard tattoos move just like wizard pictures do).
Breaking it apart.
via: RedditThere's something so cool about seeing what appears to be a normal tattoo broken up by expert-level 3D-style tattooing. I never want to stop looking at it.
"Are you okay, ma'am?"
via: ImgurI am doing my best — my absolute best — to figure out why any woman would get this tattoo, and I am coming up blank. I mean, on a man it'd at least be ironic.
via: ImgurThis tattoo is obviously rad as hell, but it does have one drawback — this woman can no longer use the old "hey buddy, my eyes are up here" line.
Rocket Power was such a dope show.
Hey man, let's just talk about it.
via: ImgurNo no, this isn't a Norman Rockwell drawing — it's a Norman Rockwell tattoo. (I mean, he probably didn't do it himself, and I also don't know if he was the original artist, but the point is — cool tattoo.)
Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?
via: ImgurWithout question, the coolest part of this tattoo is how the forearm muscle tricks the eye into thinking the snake is actually coming out of the arm. I spent a good 45 seconds thinking "no way is this a tattoo. There's just no way."
via: RedditIn what is (I think?) a reference to a Pokemon, this tattoo looks like someone took a big steel stamp, skipped the ink, and just pressed it into a dude's arm for six hours.
Um, your robot is showing.
via: ImgurGreat, I'd just gotten used to the idea that people might have books underneath their skin, and now I've got to deal with the idea that they might by old steampunk robots? When will it end?!
I wouldn't go near that if I were you...
via: ImgurSure, it might seem fun to boink the circle on this guy's head, but what are you going to do when you get sucked in like a tissue dropped into an airplane toilet, huh?
You've got something on you there.
via: IMgurIf I ran into this girl in real life, I would absolutely try to brush this tattoo off her shoulder, and then be very embarrassed I tried to do so.
via: ImgurThis tattoo makes this leg look like it was carved by a master craftsman.
Can you solve the ancient puzzle?
via: ImgurThe way that square seems to fit inside that hollow makes me want to pull it out, hold it in my inventory, and look for a square-shaped hollow with a circle inside it, and swap them out.
Goku says you're doing allllll right.
via: ImgurObviously this is a super cool tattoo for any Dragon Ball Z fan, but I wish the dude would turn his hand towards camera a little so the optical illusion would be flawless. Right now it looks like Goku is simultaneously trying to give a thumbs up and deliver a palm strike.