For those individuals adorned with ink, body art is seen as something to be celebrated. Not only do tattoos often represent important, significant or meaningful aspects of a person's history or personality, but the tattoos themselves are unique works of art in their own right.
Unfortunately, not all of these works of art could be classified as "museum quality." Bad tattoos are a reality of the field – whether a product of a poor design choice, less-than-stellar work by the artist or some combination of the two, some tattooees walk away with a case of tattoo regret and a desire to research tattoo removal methods. But there are those who view even the unfortunate ink as noteworthy in its own right.
In the age of the Internet, content is king. Websites, blogs and even news aggregators are constantly looking for interesting, funny or bizarre material they can post to bring in more readers and viewers. It's not surprising, then, that more than a couple blogs have surfaced on the Web dedicated to chronicling bad tattoos in all their glory. From designs choices that would make you scratch your head to execution and artwork that would make you cringe, you don't have to stray further than the pages of sites like BuzzFeed, Pinterest or even The Huffington Post to catch a glimpse of some of the most outlandish artwork out there.
Making it mean something
For some, even if the tattoo itself didn't turn out so great, the motivation behind it and the experience of getting it may still be meaningful. The decision to keep a bad tattoo in place gives new meaning to the idea of living with your mistakes.
So you've ended up with a tattoo that's somewhat less than what you were hoping for. Maybe you even chose to go with an outrageous design in the first place. The beauty of body art is that it's incredibly personal, and each bearer of a tattoo is free to interpret his or her own art on an intimate level. If that picture of your grandmother's face came out more horror than homage, it may not matter if the meaning behind the piece is preserved. Similarly, some people have even incorporated getting shocking tattoos as part of their personal identity. Stephen Glover, better known to the rest of the world as Steve-O of the do-it-yourself stunt show "Jackass" is notorious for having a life-sized picture of his face tattooed onto his back. Billy Gibby has discovered a new profession by turning himself into a human billboard, selling spots on his body to companies who want him to tattoo their logos.
Tattoos are enough of a cultural phenomenon now that bad tattoos have started arising as a common talking point in the larger social consciousness. In fact, one publication is dedicating an entire feature to highlighting bad body art. The Houston Chronicle is hosting a contest in 2015 in which it's encouraging inked readers to send in pictures of their most embarrassing artwork. But this isn't just for the sake of polite ribbing and public shaming. The Chronicle is running the feature as a contest. A panel of judges will assess the entries and determine who has the worst tattoo in the group. The lucky winner gets more than embarrassment, however – the publication is offering free laser tattoo removal to the chosen individual.
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