12 Mar 2012

literary tattoos

| | 24 authentic responses
The tattoos I have are images. I've always wanted one great quote, but how to choose? I tend to believe it chooses you, so I guess mine hasn't found me yet.

The Word Made Flesh by Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor, is a book all about literary tattoos. 150 colour photos depicting words, quotations and literary figures, into flesh, from Dickinson to Shakespeare.


According to Justin, "...as far as the aesthetics of the tattoos themselves as pieces of art, we didn't try to critique or weed that stuff out. The criterion we were really using for inclusion was "Is this an author we've seen represented before? Is the story that comes with it interesting? Is the photograph interesting?"


Justin claimed that, "The people that seem happiest with their work are the ones that picked something that they really cared about."

The authors found that there were favourites out there. Eva said, "Vonnegut for sure. I think that's the most popular by far. Shakespeare, David Foster Wallace, Sylvia Plath, James Joyce and Beckett. Oh, and e.e. cummings is maybe second only to Vonnegut in popularity."


Also, if you fancy looking at countless literary tattoos, take a peek at contrariwise.

photos: Harper Perennial


read: jenny's post on a travel giveaway
taste: oven-grilled sandwiches
see: Julia killed word verification, that's worth a mention in my books
hear: see/hear Lhasa, rising, c/o la gitana
think: of the busy week ahead

24 authentic responses:

  1. I am also in the market for a perfect quote, but obviously what's perfect for me, won't do for you and vice Versa. My tatts are currently: A hug Tribal stretching from my shoulders and coming down my back in a triangular form; Guppy's name in Sanskrit along with her birthdate on left inner arm below the elbow, and on my right wrist, a lotus with a peace sign coming out of it. Currently looking into getting an OM sign and a dragonfly, but my heart yearns for this perfect quote...

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    1. i like the idea of an image representing my daughter. soooo many great quotes to choose from though. it would have to be like a summary of many or something. lol

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  2. PS- looking at all these photos, just makes me want it more.

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  3. Literary quotes are my favorite kind of tattoos. The words that have such importance to the person, the font chosen and the way the ink flows on the skin. Love them.

    I've wanted one for two years, but haven't had the courage to find out how bad the pain is. When I was going through a really shitty spot in life, they were the words that turned everything around. The words that gave me the courage to stand up and fight back.

    "I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul." from Invictus. To remind me that no one controls me, no one makes the decisions for me. No one gets to choose when I'm happy. I'm in total control. Someday those words will be tattooed on my skin. :)

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  4. How very unique - they should make temporary literary tattoos. I would totally rock those

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  5. I love that people are so daring about their passion... wonder which book and lines I would have picked?
    Have a great afternoon!

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  6. i have no tattoos..but i have often thought about what i would want, if i ever got one.
    I am really drawn to simplicity.
    I have not thought about quotes much..i should really look into that.
    mostly i have thought about images..and where i would put them.
    i would really like a small feather and some beads done behind one of my ears.
    or even the changing of the moons on my side?
    something peaceful. something i can hide if need be.
    anyways, you have got me thinking!
    -m

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  7. ~love this post mon and the art of tattoos...deeply powerful being inked with a lasting image...especially when you choose something that represents a moment in your life or lasting words to linger...my love and i have been pondering thoughts for another...my long is working on a life story for his arm and i am working on a new piece for my back...my father was not a fan of tattoos, his only request was that i waited until i was eighteen and that i really thought long and hard about what i wanted to have placed on my body...a lesson at the time was frustrating {being 16 and little patience for parenting...i wanted one so badly} but i waited and its a lesson i respect greatly...thank you for sharing this book and video with us...much love light and blessings~

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    1. it's something so wonderful, to have words, that others can read, and have them say... hmmmm, and ponder. :)

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  8. what an interesting post! - and book. would love to spend time time browsing through it ;)

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  9. Oooh, interesting! I'm on the cusp of my next tattoo, which is an image but I also want some text. I looked into it and the tattoo artist I spoke to said you can only make text 'so' small, but I don't believe her now I've seen these! Onwards, then. :)

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    1. hmm... perhaps find a different artist! :)

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  10. This is a bit of synchronicity, I was just listening on the radio to a woman who had had a Shakespeare tattoo!

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  11. Interesting post...I never associate words in a quote form with tattoos...I have wanted a tattoo for a long time but could never find one I liked....maybe it is words I am looking for...thanks for posting this!! :)

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  12. thank you for the book suggestion- this is right up my alley. i'm partial to quotation tattoos; the written word is quite beautiful + i think fonts are a legit piece of art in themselves. i've been rolling around this quote (although it's not literary)~ 'siamo ognuno di noi gli angeli con un solo ala e siamo in grado di volare solo abbracciando un l'altro' ('we are each of us angels with only one wing and we can only fly by embracing one another' by luciano de crescenzo). i'm thinking this will take a lot of real estate on my body, so not too sure where to put it just yet...

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  13. ooh, that is a long one, but such a sweet sentiment.

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  14. oh love the tatttoo book! I could peruse through that one for hours.

    I mentioned in a reply to your comment that I'm surprised you didn't find Bon Iver on grooveshark! here's a link to put in your browser: http://www.last.fm/music/Bon+Iver that hopefully comes up with something more! they really are an incredible band, especially live.

    as for John Carter, please do go check it out! it's a great movie, and with far less media coverage than Avatar with much better content! we're hoping people will go see it so the sequels can be made! it's based on a book that's over 100 years old!

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    1. Now I'm interested in looking into John Carter! Thanks. Off to Google I go :)

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  15. These is a very cool concept. Small world - I blogged about these same folks, too a while back. I don't have a tattoo, but have been considering getting one recently. I think I'd like a quote or verse/image combo.

    I don't do well with too many choices! I'll usually do nothing. ;)

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  16. Oh, WOW, so many great literary tattoos. I love the idea, but I couldn't think of a just one quote. I love so many different ones, and so many different authors, it's super hard to decide!

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  17. omg - ummm, yeah ....WAY. TOO. COOL. ....beats my peace sign of daisies :)

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    1. Daisies + Peace Sign = can't go wrong there! :)

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  18. These are all fabulous ideas. Seriously.
    My latest one is a Latin phrase
    Acta Non Verba
    It mean so much to me. I am looking to get another. Literary ones always call out to me. But what to get? Now that is a hard one. One of my favorite recent lines: "I, myself, am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions" It's from Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs.
    But there are so many classics out there. I love Mark Twain as well, and he as many amazing quotes.

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