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Exploring The Meaningful World Of 180 Best Tattoo Quotes

Exploring The Meaningful World Of 180 Best Tattoo Quotes

Tattoos aren’t just ink on the skin — they have become a mainstream form of self-expression, artistry, and storytelling.

For some, they are a means to paint their life experiences, passions, and beliefs. For others, they are a rebellion against conformity, a declaration of individuality. And for some, tattoos are simply beautiful works of art.

Whether you are a seasoned tattoo collector, contemplating your first piece, or simply admiring them from afar, I’ve collected the best tattoo quotes that’ll make a lasting impression on you.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

10 Greatest Tattoo Quotes

1. “Tattoos have a power and magic all their own. They decorate the body but they also enhance the soul.” — Michelle  Delio

tattoo artist's hands at work representing the greatest tattoo quote

2. “Tattoos … are the stories in your heart, written on your skin.” — Charles De Lint

3. “I think tattoos are a way to express yourself without words. Without having to explain yourself, people can look at your tattoos and see who you are.” — Jodi Morgan

4. “Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past.” ― Jack London

5. “Our bodies were printed as blank pages to be filled with the ink of our hearts.” — Michael Biondi

hands in gloves tattooing of a butterfly design representing the greatest tattoo quote

6. “Getting a tattoo is a nice way of reclaiming your own body, to help tell yourself that you’re in charge.” — Ashley Love

7. “My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.” ― Johnny Depp

8. “Tattoos are the only things you take to the grave. Having one is saying, ‘I had the guts to live and love and express myself.’” — Michael Patrick King

9. “For me, a tattoo is an art installation that I get to wear all the time. It’s all about self-expression. You get to wear your insides on your outsides.” — Malia Jones

10. “Tattoos are a right of passage. They’re a marker of bravery, of maturity, of cultural acceptance.” ― Nicola Barker

tattoo artist's hands inking a butterfly on the skin

Meaningful Quotes About Getting Tattoos

1. “Tattoos, for me, are like a timeline of my life. I could look at a certain tattoo, and it reminds me of a certain time in my life and why I got that tattoo.” — Tyga

female tattoo artist at work with her machine

2. “Some of my tattoos are a bit silly, but I know where and what time I got them.” — Ed Sheeran

3. “I like tattoos. I’m gonna be covered. I’m not going to touch my face or under the chin on the neck: it’s my least favorite place.” — Mac Miller

4. “They keep track of time. Sometimes things happen and you feel that you need to mark them down.” ― Scott O’Connor

5. “I look at my body as an extension of the music. My body is a canvas, and with my tattoos, I want them to be a direct reflection of my thoughts.” — Lil Skies

woman artist tattooing a design on skin

6. “It seems that many people feel that their tattoos are not merely incidental attachments to themselves — unlike, for example, the way we feel about clothing or makeup — but are instead a literal part of their personal selves.” — Robert Arp

7. “So many people always fear tattoos because they don’t want to limit themselves from certain jobs. I clearly never let that stop me and just got covered head to toe.” — Jeffree Star

8. “Getting a tattoo should hurt. It’s a rite of passage.” — Jenna Jameson

9. “I was just a big fan of tattoos always growing up, and I wanted something cool that symbolizes what I’ve been through in my life, and everything on my chest and my back is like a collage.” — Kevin Durant

10. “People getting tattoos are often at a crossroads — a chapter is ending or a new one is beginning… All it is, is connecting.” — Mark Mahoney

tattoo artist's hands crafting art on a person's skin

11. “My tattoos, like most people’s, were reminders, badges of personal experiences. Yes, I might wear them on my skin for the world to see, but their meaning was a little too personal.” ― N.R. Walker

12. “In tattooing, linework is arguably the most important element. Lines form the basis of our sketches and the stencils used to apply the artwork to the skin.” ― Shelly Dax

13. “But for me, to get the tattoo was part of moving into adulthood. Making a choice that is permanent and that I’ll have to stick with.” — Francois Arnaud

14. “I do have a few little tattoos, but they were mostly done to cover scars because I’m so fair.” — Dolly Parton

15. “I’ll become someone new. Through blood and pain and ink, I can be remade.” ― Alice Broadway

woman tattoo artist in action

16. “Maybe that’s what I needed. Another tattoo. Some pain on the outside to ease the pain on the inside.” ― N.R. Walker

17. “The tattoos are about my grandmother dying, and they tell the story about my mother and father, my brothers and my sister, my kids. It’s pretty much a family tree on my arm with my life in football, too.” — Timothy F. Cahill

18. “One of the first pieces of advice I was ever given, on my first job was, you should always buy something to treat yourself to say well done for getting the job! However, I’ve not followed through on that yet… I’ve always wanted a tattoo, something to mark my experience.” — Sam Claflin

19. “I read somewhere that getting a tattoo, “is a journey, not a destination.” Maybe as we travel life’s roads, we just need to trust the journey a little bit more, even when we aren’t quite sure as to how all the pieces of the puzzle will come together.” — Suzanna Parpos

20. “I got tattoos for purely antisocial reasons, and now people do it for social acceptance. I miss individualism.” — Mike Ness

tattooing by a female artist

21. “For future reference, ink discussions involve showing. Mine are in spots that require lack of clothes.” ― Zoe Forward

22. “Believe it or not, some of us have piercings and tattoos and dye our hair because we think it looks pretty, not for any deep sociological reason… I just do it because I think it looks nice. Disappointed?” ― Alex Bell

23. “We get tattoos in the same spirit in which we write books. The crucial thing in both cases is to do it while you still have the nerve to say what’s true before it gets overlaid by other truths… Even if you eventually regard such truths as dangerous mistakes, they’ll have been your stepping stones to the knowledge of the future. Books and tattoos must be records of disappearing ideals.” ― Rob Doyle

24. “All the things I’ve done to my body, I’ve done out of love. Seriously. I’ve gotten ink to remind me of all sorts of places and memories, but at the core, everything I’ve done has been my way of saying that this is my body. That I don’t want the body everybody else told me I should have.” ― Becky Chambers

25. “Anyone who’s had a tattoo knows once you get your first one, as you’re walking out the door, you’re planning the next.” — Chris Evans

woman tattooing a design with care

Inspirational Tattoo Quotes

1. “I am a canvas of my experiences, my story is etched in lines and shading, and you can read it on my arms, my legs, my shoulders, and my stomach.” ― Kat Von D

a woman holding her hair to reveal a back tattoo

2. “My tattoos are a source of strength — they crystalize what’s important to me in life. I’m a big believer in the power of symbols and how they can hold meaning and memories.” — Eleni Stefanou

3. “Tattoos are like stories — they’re symbolic of the important moments in your life. Sitting down, talking about where you got each tattoo and what it symbolizes, is really beautiful.” — Pamela Anderson

4. “To me, tattoos are a way of people being able to express themselves and have other people look at them and get a little insight into who they are, without ever even saying a word to them.” — Colin Kaepernick

5. “A tattoo is an affirmation: that this body is yours to have and to enjoy while you’re here. Nobody else can control what you do with it.” — Don Ed Hardy

a girl raising her hair to showcase a hidden tattoo

6.  “Usually all my tattoos came at good times. A tattoo is something permanent when you’ve made a self-discovery or something you’ve come to a conclusion about.” — Angelina Jolie

7. “We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

8. “I’m from a nice, suburban, middle-class family, but my tattoos remind me where I’ve been.” — Tom Hardy

9. “My tattoos have become a part of me. When I look in the mirror, I just see my face.” — Lil Peep

10. “Tattooing is about personalizing the body, making it a true home and fit temple for the spirit that dwells inside it.” — Michelle Delio

woman unveiling her back tattoo

11. “With my tattoos, I’ve got my war side on my left side, being left-handed, and a faith side on my right side, right with God.” — Jalen Rose

12. “If people are honest with themselves when they choose a tattoo, the art will represent them better than anything that will ever come out of their mouth.” — Troy Holloway

13. “I love math. I have little secret number tattoos everywhere. I design them.” — Pauley Perrette

14. “It’s more common for people to get fire tattoos. Symbols of passion, transformation, change. But I wanted smoke because it’s what remains. After the fire, after everything is destroyed, you’re left with smoke and ash. You’ve gotta make somethin’ out of it.” ― Kate Meader

15. “The tattoo represents not only a willingness to accept pain — to endure it — but a need to actively embrace it. Because life is painful — beautiful but painful.” — Nicola Barker

a girl lifting her hair to display a tattoo on her back

16. “Beauty is skin deep. A tattoo goes all the way to the bone.” ― Vince Hemingson

17. “A tattoo is a true poetic creation and is always more than meets the eye. As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition.” — V. Vale And Andrea Juno

18. “There is something in the act of having tattoos done that I love. It can be quite addictive.” — Lena Headey

19. “I can’t make a song for a particular person or demographic. If I love it, I’m gonna do it. I have to perform it for the rest of my life. A song is like a tattoo — you can never get away from it.” — Rihanna

20. “I just think they look good on people. You spend a lot of time in the mirror looking at yourself when you have tattoos. Same way with other people. It just looks good.” ― The Rev

woman reveals her back tattoo

21. “We can look at our tattoos from cancer treatment as awful reminders of a ghastly time in our lives, or we can use them as reminders of what God brought us through.” ― Shirley Corder

22. “When we see tattoos and art in general as dynamic energies radiating from their various elements, all art suddenly takes on considerably more value than just the personal meaning we attach to it.” ― Cary G. Weldy

23. “Some of us can begin to heal the damage people have done to us by escaping the situation, but some of us need more than that. Tattoos make statements that need to be made. Or hide things that are no one’s business. Your scars are battle wounds, but you don’t see them that way. Yet.” ― Tammara Webber

24. “Life is like a tattoo: we have a certain space available and that’s it. The more we fill it with negative elements, the less space will be left for the positive ones. Shape your life like a work of art as you would do with your tattoos, and keep the good in it. Shape your dreams.” ― Roberto Gemori

25. “Some songs are just like tattoos for your brain… you hear them and they’re affixed to you.” — Carlos Santana

beautiful girl gracefully holding her hair to show a tattoo

Short Quotes About Tattoos

1. “Tattoos are a permanent commitment of passion.” ― Tawny Lara

stunning tattoo art on a black woman's back

2. “I want my tattoos to be a story of my life.” — Anne-Marie

3. “I look at tattoos as a commitment to life.” —  Jeff Hardy

4. “Tattoos tell the world we’ve still got something to say.” — Liz Jones

5. “Good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good.” — Josephine Fuller

intricate tattoos adorn a black woman's back

6. “People are proud of their tattoos. It’s like a modern coat of arms.” — Christian Louboutin

7. “You don’t choose your tattoo design, your tattoo chooses you!” ― Shirin Naghashlou

8. “Tattoos fulfill a need to inscribe the self as an individual.” — Margo Demello

9. “I’m addicted to tattoos. I can’t stop; I love them.” — Adrianne Palicki

10. “Tattoos give us the inspiration to be ourselves.” ― Anthony T.Hincks

beautiful tattoo art on a black girl's back

11. “Tattoos exude pain and pleasure all at the same time.” — Chester Bennington

12. “Tattoos made my skin more ‘me.’” ― Larry Smith

13. “The ink of a pen is simply the blood of a heart.” ― Michael Biondi

14. “Tattoos are addictive.” — Bradley Beal

15. “A quote is just a tattoo on the tongue.” — William F. DeVault

expressive tattoos on the back of a black woman

16. “Scars are the tattoos your despondence carved once…” ― Shivangi Lavaniya

17. “A tattoo is graffiti on the temple of the body.” — Gordon B. Hinckley

18. “My tattoo is a phoenix. I got the first when I was 16. I hid it for years.” — Ashley Scott

19. “I just like tattoos.” — Amy Winehouse

20. “I believe tattoos are a lifestyle, not a fashion trend.” — Machine Gun Kelly

artistic ink on a black girl's back

21. “The tattoo is a true sign of personal expression.” ― Dita Von Teese

22. “Tattoos are a way of expressing yourself, your individuality, and your beliefs.” — Kat Von D

23. “I feel like the last tattoo you got is usually your favorite.” — Nico Tortorella

24. “The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who have tattoos, and those who are afraid of people with tattoos.” — Unknown

25. “My tattoos are reminders to hang in there when things get tough.” — Demi Lovato

captivating back tattoos on a black woman

Insightful Tattoo Quotes

1. “A word to the wise, a tattoo is obviously for life, so make sure you’ve triple-checked for typos and spelling errors.” — Lucy Alice Morris

tattooed hands of a guy

2. “Comparatively, tattooing is not the hideous custom which it is called. It is not barbarous merely because the printing is skin-deep and unalterable.” — Henry David Thoreau

3. “Two teenage boys have tattoos on their necks, instantly halving the alienation they’d hoped to achieve.” ― Samantha Hunt

4. “There is something vulnerable about showing your tattoos to people, even while it gives you a feeling that you are wearing a sleeve when you are naked.” — Lena Dunham

5. “Tattoos are permanent and a lifelong commitment, the same as marriage.” — Chester Bennington

man's inked hands

6. “You have to have your face in the food. These days people think a tattoo and a bottle of Sriracha equals success.” — Bobby Flay

7. “The tattoo can only exist as part of the skin, as a drawing always is an incision in the material and therefore cannot be parted from it.” — Antoni Tapies

8. “Tattoos tell stories of crime and passion, punishment and regret. They express an outlaw, antiauthoritarian point of view and communicate a romantic solidarity among society’s outcasts.” ― Douglas Kent Hall

9. “Tattooing is historical, cultural and a great form of art but it should always be safe for both the client and the tattoo practitioner.” — William Webb

10. “You have to think hard with a tattoo. ‘What will I love for the rest of my life?’” — Kate Upton

expressive tattoos adorn a man's hands

11. “I think if you’re going to get a tattoo, it should be significant, especially when it’s all the way up your arms and your body.” ― Blake Lively

12. “The universality of tattooing is a curious subject for speculation.” — Captain James Cook

13. “The tattoo attracts and also repels precisely because it is different.” ― Margo Demello

14. “Tattoos are for life, not just for a season, so if you’re planning on getting inked you might want to be wary of jumping on any trend bandwagons you may live to regret.” — Sophie Gallagher

15. “How convenient if you could see what was wrong with people right away if they wore their sicknesses and crimes on their skin like tattoos.” ― Lauren Oliver

bold hand tattoos

16. “Putting art on the walls of your home or body is a very important decision to make, and one not to be taken lightly. Whenever you are in the presence of a single piece of art, you are absorbing the various energies that it radiates.” ― Cary G. Weldy

17. “Tattoos, after all, are a passionate, usually doomed assertion of mastery of your own destiny, or at least a defiant embrace of one that you cannot control.” ― Mark Simpson

18. “As our body journeys through life, and life journeys on our body… life will leave marks on us too. From the creases of our wrinkles to the birthmarks on our bodies to the tattoos we decide to place.” ― Lauren Klarfeld

19. “Being open-minded dramatically reduces one’s chances of getting a permanent tattoo.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

20. “With deeper awareness, our art reveals what energies we are bringing into our lives, as well as what we need to heal.” ― Cary G. Weldy

intricate inkwork on a man's hands

21. “A tattoo is permanent; with a marriage, you can more easily change your mind.” ― Carolyn V. Hamilton

22. “Tattoo 411: Save your money and go to a reputable artist. Going to that guy who says he will do it for $20 in his basement may seem like a super punk rock thing to do at the time, but as someone who has done this, do NOT do it.” — Devon Hannah

23. “Your body is a temple, but how long can you live in the same house before you redecorate.” — Unknown

24. “The artist that did my first tattoo chuckled when I told him I was just planning on getting one, and that would be it. He just smiled, shook his head, and said, “Tattoos are like chips, you can never have just one.” And he could not have been more right.” — Mihaela Karst

25. “I often think we should have tattooed on the back of whatever hand we use to shoot or write, ‘I might be wrong.’” ― Louise Penny

tattoos bringing character to a man's hands

Motivational Quotes On Tattoos

1. “If you like how people look when they’re all covered in tattoos, then you should be covered in tattoos.” — Lil Peep

tattooed hands rising from a bath foam

2. “People who don’t like me talk about it as though I’m trash because I have tattoos. I find that insane because it’s 2008, not the 1950s. Tattoos aren’t limited to sailors. It’s a form of art I find beautiful. I love it.” ― Megan Fox

3. “Books are to me as homemade tattoos are to an inmate. Can’t get enough of them.” ― Laurie Notaro

4. “I have Bob Dylan lyrics on my ribs. I’m a diehard Dylan fan, and my dad and I joke that if I ever met him, I’d have him sign his name right under my tattoo and then I’d run to the parlor to get his signature tattooed.” — Carly Chaikin

5. “We memorialize an event, person, or rite of passage with tattoos. We add them as body art or a line of script that sums up a philosophy of life.” — Mary Bergin

tattoos on hands submerged in bath foam

6. “I’m celebrating my love for you with a pint of beer and a new tattoo.” — Billy Bragg

7. “Tattooing, when understood in its entirety, must be seen as a religious act. The human being brings forth images from the center of the self and communicates them to the world. Fantasy is embodied in reality and the person is made whole.” — Spider Webb

8. “And young Saoirse didn’t tattoo her face just for the aesthetics. There’s power in ink, cold blood. And not just the silvered kind.” ― Jay Kristoff

9. “The healers drained our old blood in the arms or back of the knee. They tattooed ancient symbols on our bodies, especially children. Tattoos protect our spirits.” ― Lily H. Tuzroyluke

10. “If the body is a temple, then tattoos are its stained glass windows.” — Sylvia Plath

inked hands emerging from a frothy bath

11. “Tattoos can denote the transition from childhood to young adulthood. It can denote the transition to reproductive availability or the transition from adolescent to warrior.” — Anthony Napoleon

12. “A mind wanders, thoughts flee and memories fade. But tattoos, tattoos are forever. And if it is true to say that we carry ourselves with when we travel — then the body may very well be a beautiful canvas for the timeless lessons we learn and will learn when we travel.” ― Lauren Clearfield

13. “Getting ink felt right, like it would help her put her life in order, to move forwards. It was her body, despite the things that’d been done to it, and she wanted to claim it, to own it, to prove that to herself. She knew it wasn’t magic, but the idea of writing her own identity felt like the closest she could get to reclaiming her life.” — Melissa Marr

14. “Being with a tattooed girl is always like being on an adventure. Men appreciate girls who can make their lives interesting.” — Roberta Costa

15. “I’ve got tattoos, I’m a subculture. Some kind of post-teen bag lady, that’s me.” ― Salman Rushdie

tattooed hands peeking through a bubbly soak

16. “Every mark I’ve had drawn on my skin connects me to where and who I’ve been — so I never forget who I am and how I got here… And you know what the real beauty of it is?… “Nobody can take it away.” ― Charles de Lint

17. “I love how tattoos have the ability to spark conversation between people, even random strangers in line at the grocery store. It’s those daily reminders and memories that keep us connected to others and ourselves.” — Carissa Alvarado

18.  “Wear your heart on your skin in this life.” ― Sylvia Plath

19. “My tattoos aren’t objects for me to brag about in hopes of building my ego. Yet, they are small reminders of my story. Lessons that have had a large impact on me and my journey. I think of them as pieces to my puzzle. No matter how big or small, they put me together. I love them, and I don’t give a damn if you love them or not.” — Maci Bookout

20. “My tattoos say “Stay strong.” “Stay” on one wrist and “strong” on the other. I’m able to look at them and be thankful for being alive.” — Demi Lovato

tattooed hands in a bath foam

21.  “Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.” — Oscar Wilde

22. “Tattoos transform us from raw animals into cooked cultural beings.” — Claude Lévi-Strauss

23. “Express yourself through your art — whether it’s your drawings in a sketchpad, tattoos on your skin, the shade of your lipstick, or the clothes that you wear.” — Kat Von D

24. “I got this Jesus tattoo on my wrist when I was 18 because I know that it’s always going to be a part of me. When I’m playing, it’s staring right back at me, saying, ‘Remember where you came from.’” — Katy Perry

25. “My tattoos are like a scrapbook of my life. Sometimes you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, so covering it up with pictures helps.” — Frank Lero

hands adorned with ink amidst bath bubbles

Funny Tattoo Quotes

1. “If I decide to get a tattoo, it’ll be a map of where I live on my chest in case I ever get amnesia.” ― Stewart Stafford

smiling girl getting inked by a tattoo artist

2. “I want a tattoo over my heart that reads TRY HARDER YOU LAZY PARAMEDIC SH#TBAG OR I WILL HAUNT YOUR BEDROOM FOREVER.” ― Warren Ellis

3. “Tattoos set you apart. Besides being a colorful accessory to any ensemble, they convince your parents once and for all that you are a lost cause.” — Amy Linden

4. “Getting a tattoo would probably make me cry.” — Calvin Trillin

5. “Tattoos are like marriage: it’s a lifelong commitment, it hurts like hell, and the color fades over time.” ― Terri Guillemets

smiling girl's tattoo session

6. “Louie brought his new girlfriend over, and the nicest thing I can say about her is all her tattoos are spelled correctly.” ― Robert Harling

7. “I always look for a woman who has a tattoo. I see a woman with a tattoo, and I’m thinking, okay, here’s a gal who’s capable of making a decision she’ll regret in the future.” — Richard Jeni

8. “To whomever swapped my tattoo cream for toothpaste…….. well played.” ― R.D. Ronald

9. “Grandmother used to take my mother to the circus to see the fat lady and the tattooed man — now they’re everywhere.” — Joan Collins

10. “You know you’re in trouble when you shake hands and your tattoo also shakes.” — John J. Daly

cheerful girl getting a tattoo

Best Quotes For Tattoos

1. “Do all things with love.” — Og Mandino

tender touch on a flower tattoo

2. “Be afraid and do it anyway.” — Unknown

3. “Your faith has to be bigger than your fear.” — Unknown

4. “Happiness is a choice.” — Unknown

5. “There is sun after rain, love after pain.” — Unknown

woman's hands on a floral tattoo

6. “No rain, no flowers.” — Unknown

7. “Handle with care.” — Unknown

8. “A bit of madness is key.” — The Fools Who Dream from La La Land

9. “Make it count.” — Unknown

10. “Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’.” — Shawshank Redemption

woman's hands and a flower tattoo

11. “Let it be.” — Unknown

12. “Dream as if you’ll live forever: Live as if you’ll die today.” — Unknown

13. “Never a failure, always a lesson.” — Unknown

14. “Only God can judge me.” — Unknown

15. “If you don’t live for something, you’ll die for nothing.” — Unknown

fingertips on a floral tattoo

16. “Too weird to live, too rare to die.” — Unknown

17. “This too shall pass.” — Unknown

18. “Keep searching, keep growing.” — Unknown

19. “I was not built to break.” — Unknown

20. “Family: Where life begins and love never ends.” — Unknown

hands on a back tattoo

21. “One day at a time.” — Unknown

22. “Through every dark night there is a bright day.” — Unknown

23. “Life is a virtue. So is pain.” — Unknown

24. “Without struggle there is no progress.” — Unknown

25. “Your only limit is your mind.” — Unknown

woman's hands placed over a beautiful flower tattoo

26. “Over the rainbow.” — Unknown

27. “True to self.” — Unknown

28. “Music is forever.” — Paul Simon

29. “Imperfectly perfect.” — Unknown

30. “Life is as easy or as hard as you think it is.” — Jonathan Lockwood Huie

fingers tracing a floral tattoo

31. “Inhale the future, exhale the past.” — Unknown

32. “To the moon and back.” — Unknown

33. “Die with memories, not dreams.” — Unknown

34. “Follow your heart.” — Unknown

35. “Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw

female hands gently touching inked skin

Final Words

I tried my best to collect the most inspiring, thought-provoking, and meaningful tattoo quotes I could find on the web. Hope you like them.

Tattoos, undeniably, can be stunning works of art. However, their beauty goes hand in hand with a crucial piece of advice: choose them wisely!

Exploring The Meaningful World Of 180 Best Tattoo Quotes