A Daunting Task: Divergent

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A Daunting Task: Divergent

We chatted with production designer Andy Nicholson, who designed the tattoos that play a prominent role in the new movie Divergent.

INKED: What kind of research did you do for the tattoo designs?
ANDY NICHOLSON: This film is set 150 years in the future, so I didn’t want it to refer to existing tattoo art. All of these people have been isolated from the world for 100 years, so anybody who was alive and had tattoos has died. I was really keen on using some Russian constructivist imagery, and I’m a huge fan of an English tattoo artist named Nigel Palmer. His stuff is some of the most interesting, nonrepresentational abstract art I’ve seen applied onto a body. That was sort of the starting-off point.

What elements did you take from the book, and what did you add?
The tattoos on the character Four—you only see them in a couple of key moments in the movie—they’re part of his culture and represent so much about what he stands for. We started off with just the tattoos down his spine [that are described in the book], but then we thought it would make his character better if you could see hints of them on his neck or over the back of the hand. It’s obviously some kind of massive tattoo.

How many tattoos designs did you do before getting it right?
Many designs—30 or 40, at least. We spent a lot of time on the ones for the characters Four and Eric because they’re so obvious and important [in the books]. What we’re doing is serving the story, and that’s more important than anything else.


DIVERGENT OPENS IN THEATERS AND IMAX AT MIDNIGHT, MARCH 21, 2014.



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