I hope you’re ready for this one—today’s gallery focuses on badass tattoos and nothing else. I finally get to break out into swear words for these entries! The term badass has been around since about the time that the English language was first getting its bearings. Its definition varies depending on who you talk to, but the consensus on Urban Dictionary seems to be ‘ultra-cool motherfucker.’
Yep, that’s badass!
Batman and van Gogh?
The actual meaning that you could take out of a dictionary focuses more on the toughness of a badass. It cites their uncompromising nature and intimidating stature. So how do you collect all that badassery into a tattoo? Well, this gallery can show you a few ideas to get started, but the answer is really quite easy. It’s all about what you have inked and how you wear it.
One of the biggest indicators of badassery is toughness. Tolerance of gritty, gory visages goes hand in hand with a badass, and badass tattoos are often filled with graphic displays of blood, guts, and horrific wounds. It is human nature to fear gory or gruesome images, and even 2D photos or drawings can cause the weak-stomached to wretch, despite not being real. A badass, with their magnificent ability to not give a fuck, is perfectly fine wearing these kinds of tattoos.
To a certain extent, all tattoos are a little gruesome—they are essentially colored scars that are put there by a mechanically powered needle. The inks of today might be synthetic, but they were once made out of things like blood, crushed beetles, and whatever colorful animal that dye makers could find and grind. If that’s not gruesome and badass, I don’t know what is.
As with gruesome tattoos, frightening designs make for badass tattoos. They can scare and intimidate even better than gruesome tattoos, and whoever is wearing it doesn’t have to worry about walking near a preschool and accidentally scarring the kids from second-hand gore tattoos. Okay, maybe they still do, but that’s not the point. The point is that only a badass would dedicate a piece of his skin to the dark side of reality.
This fearless display is part of what makes them a badass, but their disregard for the fear of others is what really cements it. It adds to their intimidating nature, instilling a tiny hint of fear in whoever sees it. It can also be assumed that anyone with a frightening tattoo can likely stomach the horror in a real situation, promoting them straight to badass, even if they wouldn’t otherwise make the cut.
Morbid Badass Skull Tattoos
This is where badass tattoos get a little abstract. Badasses don’t know the definitions of fear, compromise, or weakness. Death is the epitome of all three of these factors. It strikes fear into the hearts of the living, it dooms all people to their eventual death, and it instills weakness in anyone it touches. Illness, disease, and death are the dark antagonists that plague reality. Despite its incredible reputation, a badass pays it no mind. In fact, they are quite content to flaunt death-inspired tattoos in the face of the grim reaper.
Skulls and bones proliferate in the baddest of the badass tattoos, screaming to others ‘Death will get me as it gets everyone else, and I could not give a fuck.’ Of course, this might be laying it on thick, as these morbid tattoos are some of the most common, and not everyone who has a tattoo can be badass. At the same time, there might be a good reason that a tattooed person can be assumed to be a badass, even if they just have little hearts and stars stamped on them.
A huge part of what makes a badass tattoo is not just its content, but its craftsmanship. As we noted in the Gruesome Tattoo section, getting a tattoo is a badass act on its own, and it can be very painful. Large, elaborate tattoos are the hallmark of a badass. They were brave enough to devote a huge swatch of skin to beauty, and they weathered through the pain as their artist carefully and obsessively filled in the little details of their tattoos. Just as a peacock can give off an imposing and beautiful figure, a large and beautiful tattoo can intimidate and entrance anyone who gets to see it. That awe-inspiring trait of intimidation is what makes for some badass tattoos.
Lastly, technique can define a truly badass tattoo. The needles used, inks used, and risks taken while getting a tattoo are fearful in and of themselves. And when we talk about ancient tattoo techniques and art? Well, that’s where things get downright scary. Thanks to the proliferation of tattoo machines, getting a tattoo has become a very safe procedure. Your biggest risk is you yourself—if you don’t take care of your tattoo properly, it could become infected.
You could always go to the doctor to treat that infection, but that isn’t an option for many people around the world who choose to get a tattoo anyways. The painful procedure of using a needle made of bone and inks made of charcoal is revered in many societies where doctors are not prevalent. Taking that risk and getting that tattoo is what makes them a badass. Many places—but especially Japan and Samoa—still practice traditional tattooing.
So there you have it—all the ways that comprise the badass tattoo. We’re forgetting one important part, though. A tattoo might be badass on its own, but if its wearer is kind of a pushover, the badass tattoo may not be enough. If you want to match your tattoo, you have to follow the rules: Don’t be a tool; Don’t give a fuck; Be brave, confident, and courteous wherever necessary. The courteous part is especially important, as there is a thin line between a badass and an asshole. You need to know when you should act with bravery and when you should act with patience. It can be difficult, but with time, anyone can make the transition and wear their tattoo with pride and confidence.