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Urban Tattoos

Updated on February 3, 2013

Celeb Urban Tattoos

Stallone's new back tattoo
Stallone's new back tattoo
Angelina and her Billy Bob tattoo
Angelina and her Billy Bob tattoo
A happy Depp with some cool urban tattoos
A happy Depp with some cool urban tattoos
Tyga shows off his tats
Tyga shows off his tats
The Rock always looks amazing in these urban tribal tattoos
The Rock always looks amazing in these urban tribal tattoos

Checking out These Famous Urban Tattoos

Okay, so celebrity tattoos are so ho-hum when it comes to most tattoo sites, but face it. Most of us that are checking out the latest tattoo news on the web are looking for them. From what I can see, an awful lot of the cool looking urban tattoo news stories are of celebrities and their latest indulgence. But sometimes they can be interesting stories. Here is a good example:

Rocky and His Lady Love

Sylvestor Stallone, of Rocky fame, has been showing off a beautiful new tattoo he had done to hide some scarring and a very ugly burst vein from back when he was doing Rocky III. You might recall he tends to do his own stunts, hence the scars. But in his latest film, The Expendables, he knew this old scar was getting to be too big and ugly, so he decide to add to the flock of beautiful tattoos he already has. The end result was the beautiful full back “mural” as he refers to it. Rumors are that his wife is the model for the figure in the middle. Not bad of an old guy of 67, is he?

The Queen of Tattoos

Angelina has certainly had her share of tattoos, often to commemorate either a birth or adoption of a child. Sometimes, though, even an experienced tattoo celebrity like Angelina gets caught in that time warp of the web. This one caught my eye because of her now celebrated long time relationship (and now marriage) to Brad Pitt. This particular tattoo was being shown off when she was with Billy Bob Thornton just prior to meeting Brad. They both had tattoos done to celebrate that relationship. Although I believe she has had this one altered since her relationship with Brad, this brings back memories of when she was showing off her new Billy Bob tattoo.

Always Sexy Depp

Johnny Depp- well heck I think I am just looking for an excuse to put one in of Depp. He certainly has his share of tattoos, and many of them I would consider to be celebrity urban tattoos, even the ones he had done with his last wife. But this picture shows him looking so happy, tats out in the breeze to show to everyone, that I had to include it here.

Mixing it Up - Urban Tattoo Style!

So – who is your favorite celebrity who has gotten a new tattoo recently? Do you like the hip hop styling of an urban tattoo from someone like Tyga? How about The Rock? His look is a kind of merging of urban tattoos with old style Maori tattoos of the tribal tattoo camp. But man, they do look good on him, don’t they?

Inked Cuties!

Cute Schoolgirl wrist tattoo
Cute Schoolgirl wrist tattoo
A yummy looking cupcake tattoo
A yummy looking cupcake tattoo
A Study in Blue - Tattoo!
A Study in Blue - Tattoo!
AAAh! Ain't she cute!
AAAh! Ain't she cute!

The Whimsy of Women with Ink

Ever notice how women, and I can include myself in this tribe, sometimes choose the most offbeat yet cute tattoos? I mean, when you really give it a bit of thought tattoo is just not the first word that comes to mind if you say the word “cute” now, is it? And yet, I have seen women sporting tattoos that have great stories behind them about babies being born or memorials to sisters without that same reaction I get to the cute tattoo design.

Okay, some women do look good in a cute tattoo or two. They just seem to know how to carry if off somehow. Take the wrist tattoo you see here to the right of the column at the top. It’s from a school blog and I am betting the girl wearing it is just that – a school girl and probably not far out of her teens. It has that look, the tattoo patterns high school girls sketch in their notebooks while daydreaming.

Cute Enough to Eat!

Now, the cupcake tattoo is a tattoo I don’t think anyone but a young woman could get away with! I am almost tempted to wonder if it is a temporary tattoo since the color is so good on it. However, I have seen this design on several women and think it is the real deal. Doesn’t it look yummy?

Bluesy Note for a Tattoo

On this next one, I have to admit that the blue flower tattoo is also wonderful because her hair is blue and her dress is a blue floral design. The round red earring just sets it all off perfectly. What could look better! But I do wonder, does this mean she should always wear blue? Of course not – but doesn’t it look great when she does?

Almost Disney - but Better!

Finally- this last one gets the “aaaahhhh award” for just being so darn sweet! I mean – come on! Baby animals with fairy wings and little flowers poking up like antlers?? It sounds weird but somehow whoever did this was a genius because it is done with just the right hand. The butterfly is just icing on the cake, as far as I am concerned.

So – cute tattoos can be worn – if you do it right. I don’t know; I feel like I should do an ad or something. You know, the kind that says:

Tattoos – they aren’t just for he-man guys anymore!

Sailor Jerry Classic!
Sailor Jerry Classic!
Vargas - Still the King of Pinups!
Vargas - Still the King of Pinups!
Classic Vargas-style pinup tattoo
Classic Vargas-style pinup tattoo
Model Jessica - so retro!
Model Jessica - so retro!
Houtkamp is her own best canvas...
Houtkamp is her own best canvas...

Retro Urban Tattoos

I have always loved vintage stuff. My home has 50s curtains and furniture from the 20s, 30s and 40s. It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone who knows me that the resurgence of classic tattoos patterns has caught my eye. There is just something sweet and tough at the same time about these old classic tattoo patterns.

Sailor Jerry

Sailor Jerry was probably the first designs I saw that fit this idea. For those who don’t know – Sailor Jerry was a real person. He had a tattoo parlor in Hawaii, where so many US sailors spent shore leave back in the 30s and 40s. Sailor Jerry did wonderful tattoos learning from the Japanese masters there and for years it was a sign of pride for any navy boy to sport a tattoo done by Sailor Jerry. Even today the designs are immortalized around the world and even inspired some knock-offs.


I have also seen a lot of tattoos based on the old pin-up girls like the ones Vargas did for Playboy back in the 50s and 60s. Betty Page pinups, from the earlier days, are also a big influence on this kind of vintage styled tattoo art. When done well, these pinups are a great example that something can be perky and sexy at the same time. They have such innocence to them!

I recently discovered that there is even a whole movement in retro tattoo photography. The picture you see here is from the Tumblr page for F.ALT Photography and shows off their model Jessica in all her retro urban tattoo glory! How cool is that!

Pop Culture Retro

Women are getting into tattoos from the other side of the pen too these days. TV personalities like Kat Von D and indie tattoo European artists like Angelique Houtkamp continue to give us some cool vintage and modern urban tattoo designs. I love the Dutch Houtkamp’s visual take on what I feel is a “Campbell Soup Kids” look. Very camp!

So whatever you are looking for, if you love that retro look for a tattoo, there is so much to choose from. Whether it is 20s sailor designs of hula girls. 50s pinups or 22nd century retro girls for Holland – it’s all there. When it comes to retro urban tattoos, I could walk the streets and take pics for days!

Rock and Roll Urban Tattoos

Somehow whenever I think of the first time I became aware of tattoos, it was always because I saw them on some rock and roll star. Sure, I know that tattoos were around before then, but rock and roll was where I first saw that having a tattoo could be cool! Nowadays there are probably few rock and roll personalities that don’t have tattoo, but back in the day it was still new.

Here are a few of my favorite rock and roll tattoos and the personalities that made them the thing you wanted above all (well that and a chance to meet the rock and roller who wore that tattoo). Just keep the drooling down to a minimum, okay?

Okay- I started hunting and decided that some guys are just so HOT I gotta include them. I don’t even know who they are, I just started cruising Pinterest and found some really amazing looking guys with ink. So – it may have started as a blog about the rock n roll gods of my youth with tats – but now I just think we have to give the guys some equal time here.

Women Up the Ante for Urban Tattoos

Don’t you just love the kind of really cool tattoos that women are getting these days? It used to be that every girl I knew if they had a tattoo had something simple like a bracelet of flowers or a little bird on their breast. But nowadays- man you just see everything on women.

I love the fact that women have gotten to the point where they can openly where the tattoos and not be considered fast or anything negative. Here are just a few really great examples of some awesome rocking women with some of the best urban tattoos around! Ya – you go girls!

Cool Urban Tattoo
Cool Urban Tattoo

Checking out Some Urban Tattoo Ideas

In the world of tattoos, the concept of the urban tattoo is a relatively recent one. I couldn’t say for sure, but I would be willing to guess that it came out of the recent resurgence in interest in tattoos in the last 20 years or so.

The cool thing about urban tattoos is that they are so rooted in our life today in the city. Since more and more people are moving into cities all the time, it is pretty cool that a new tradition has grown up around the idea of developing tattoos that depict this new urban lifestyle. That is probably why the majority of tattoos you will see that would be considered urban tattoos are basic black and white or grey toned tattoos. It gives them that gritty urban feel.

I noticed that many of these kinds of tattoos tend to center on a certain place, like a tattoo for the city you live in or the neighborhood you have a loyalty for. Some of them are pretty cool looking, with the name of the city, or even a nickname like “City of Angels” for Los Angeles, worked into a design that represents that city.

Of course, the majority of most of the tattoos you will see that you could call an urban tattoo are fanciful ideas of gang tattoos. That is probably where the whole urban tattoo movement got its biggest push and continues to be a mainstay.

So whether you like tattoos for their art, what they say or just because you like tattoos, urban tattoos continue to be a big part of the world of tattoos at large.

Meet Urban Primitive Tattoos

Urban Primitive is a new kind of urban tattoo that combines the best of both worlds. It has some of the most beautiful tattoos seen in a long time, and some of the most lyrical. These are just two examples of the many wonderful tattoos that this little shop has been producing for the last several years.

Celebrity Tattoos

Celebrity Tattoos
Celebrity Tattoos

Celebrity Tattoos

Celebrities, in particular, musicians, play a large role in some of today's urban designs.  Look at musicians like Nikki Sixx, Lenny Kravitz, Eminem, Lil' Wayne and Rihanna and you'll see what I mean.

Although for most, tattoos have a personal meaning, some fans get tattoos simply because they saw the design on their favorite celebrity.  There's nothing wrong with this of course.  In fact, I've seen some awesome designs on many celebrities.  I always like thinking of the reasons why the celeb got the tattoo.  Some special design that "spoke" to them and compelled them to get it inked onto their body.

Here are some of the celebrity designs that I think have inspired urban tattoo designs.

Mark Wahlberg Tattoos


Eminem Tattoo


Kenyon Martin Tattoo

Kenyon Martin "Fear No Man" Tattoo
Kenyon Martin "Fear No Man" Tattoo | Source

Jennifer Love Hewitt Tattoo


Jennifer's "Thug Life" Tattoo

Because I see Jennifer Love Hewitt as a pretty "girl next door" type of actress, I absolutely LOVE the fact that she has several tattoos!  In particular, check out her "Thug Life" tattoo.  I think this tattoo has a great shock factor to it and I love how it makes us rethink her image.  It makes us separate Jennifer Love Hewitt the person from the actress, which is exactly what body art should do - give us the ability to express our inner selves and make people look for deeper meanings of images.

I think this tattoo shows us her sense of humor.

Tattoo Lettering


Tattoo Lettering

The queen of tattoo lettering is, of course, Angelina Jolie, but there are other celebrities out there with nicely placed, meaningful lettered sayings on their body.  This tattoo says:

"All that we see or seem

is but a dream within a dream"

2010 NYC Urban Tattoo Convention


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