Blackwork consists of designs done in black ink. This type of tattoo, despite its ancient roots, was one of the most popular styles this past year.

Tattoos are an expression of whatever one chooses and often follow certain trends. Gabe Garcia, a local tattoo artist and owner of Iron Tiger Tattoo and Tattoo You, says he doesn’t think trends are as easy to pinpoint as they used to be. Garcia has seen everything from lower back tribal tattoos to stars and infinity symbols this past year. Before you get a tattoo, take a look at some of 2017’s most popular trends.


Roxane Jeffries, a tattoo artist at Living Canvas Tattoo, Body Piercing & Art Gallery, says she thinks tattoos are more about images representing an idea than they are about following trends. “Compasses have been a symbol of traveling and finding your way home for centuries,” Jeffries writes in an email. This particularly held true for sailors. According to the website Tattoo SEO, sailors believed compass tattoos would bring them home safely. People might not get compass tattoos for protection anymore, but the basic message stands.


A collector is not actually a type of tattoo so much as a type of person. Collectors are tattoo enthusiasts who “love the culture of tattooing and love tattoos, in particular the style of tattooing they prefer,” Garcia says. He says most collectors who come in stick to a particular style for cohesion.


Garcia says blackwork might be the hottest trend of 2017, but this style is nothing new. According to tattoo anthropologist Lars Krutak’s website, blackwork is a style that was — and still is — a staple in tribal communities. Blackwork tattoos consist of large, solid areas of black ink and were originally “produced with combs, needles, cutting tools and natural black (and sometimes red) pigments for a variety of ritual, personal and social reasons.”

Future of tattoos

Garcia says he’s beginning to see people who want simple, straightforward designs. He has found that his customers are concerned about “having a timeless quality in their tattoos rather than all the bells (and) whistles.”

It’s no easy feat to predict the future of tattoo trends, but if anything is certain, it’s that people will continue to get tattoos. “Tattooing is ever-changing and evolving,” Garcia says. “There is no way to pinpoint what it will do next. That’s why I love it.” 

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