It only takes one original tattoo to start a trend that spawns thousands of copies. For example, in September of 2012 Rihanna got the Egyptian goddess Isis tattooed on her sternum and since then, countless people have copied the design. Another tattoo design that has been replicated on numerous occasions is the cleverly placed skull hand tattoo.
This tattoo design has been circulating social media for years, however, it was popularized by Jared Leto's Joker in 2016's Suicide Squad. In the film, the Joker has a mouth tattooed on the back of his hand, which he shows off during the club scene. This mainstream exposure helped propel the hand skull/mouth tattoo to the extreme and today, it's a common design choice in the industry.
However, although it's common, is it cool? We reached out to New York tattoo artist Cavan Infante of Grit N Glory to learn more about these tattoos from an artist's perspective. Take a look at what tattooer had to say:
"I 1000% do not think they make someone cooler. I do, however, think that they make someone **look** like they’re trying to appear cooler, which is a distinction worth noting. I think the novelty of it sold me the first time I saw it, but it has seriously diminishing returns. you don’t want to be the 5,000th guy to pull this one. The first guy to do a forest silhouette around his forearm probably thought he was a genius, the 900th guy not so much. Whether or not this piece works comes down entirely to how well it’s executed, because it can’t coast on the cleverness of placement alone (like it did when people started getting these a few years ago). You just know that this is their de facto pose in every selfie & group photo from now til forever. That being said, in the Snakepit era, I think we have more egregious designs to ridicule."
In addition to creating a tattoo illusion with a skull, many artists have put their unique spin on this idea. Popular designs include masks as well as animal faces. Take a look at some of our favorite wildcards in the gallery below.