Architectural Tattoo Designs
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Some structures stand as a testament to humanity’s boundless ambition: the pyramids, the Great Wall, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building. Some speak to us on a more personal level: the home you grew up in, the church where you got married, the ice cream parlor where your wife told you she was pregnant. Inking representations of these structures is on the rise, but is still relatively rare, and can make you stand out even amidst a crowd of sophisticated tattoo know-it-alls. Here are some things to think about when considering an architectural tattoo:
- Consider the scale. Getting a pyramid tattooed on your hand won’t convey any of the grandeur of the actual pyramids; in fact, it may get mistaken for a New Age prism. Inking it on your back, on the other hand, will give a better sense of the majesty you’re undoubtedly going for—especially if it extends up your neck and down around the waist a bit. You could also consider placing a smaller tattoo of a person or object next to the architectural tattoo (in the same design aesthetic, naturally, so that they look connected) for scale.
- Consider the function. The Brooklyn Bridge across your back might feel appropriate as far as size goes, but that’s an awfully static location. Why not have it run across your forearms, so that when you bring your arms together, you’re “bridging” the gap between them?
- Get specific. If the structure is personal, consider including details on it that speak directly to you: the initials of your grandparents, for example, carved into the wall of the ancestral home that you grew up in; the face of your wife reflected in the window of the restaurant where you asked her to marry you; your first dog sitting on the stoop of your apartment building. Tiny details will set your tattoo apart and instantly tell the person looking at it that the tattoo is both unique and personal—as opposed to just a random building.
- Every building needs a foundation. Even when inked, buildings unmoored to land often look disconcerting—like they’re floating on a flesh-colored sea. Placing them on a solid foundation, even if it’s just a sliver of land, will ground your tattoo and allow the eye to focus on the details.
- Tread lightly with color. Structures tend to be largely monochromatic, relying on subtle variations in color to give the perception of depth and angles. This can present a challenge for the artist (although if you choose wisely, he or she should be more than up to the task) but more importantly may limit your range of options for future tattoos to complementary colors. You might consider getting your architectural tattoo in grayscale, especially if the original structure is bright or light colored. Darker inks tend to last longer and require less touch-up work.