Tattooed Revivalists

By: Joshua Glenn
October 9, 2010

Editor’s note: This is one of the most popular posts, traffic-wise, ever published on HiLobrow. Click here to see a list of the Top 25 Most Popular posts (as of October 2012); and click here for an archive of all of HILOBROW’s most popular posts.


I’ll miss Chris Shea’s blogging for the Boston Globe’s Ideas section! But it’s a relief to know that he’ll soon be writing about similar subjects for the Wall Street Journal.

Chris took over Ideas’ blog Brainiac after I left in 2008. I was amused to learn, from his goodbye announcement, yesterday, that the highbrow Brainiac blog’s most trafficked post to date is a lowbrow one that I contributed about heavily inked members of the Revivalist Generation (born 1974-83; I originally called them “Netters”). Bonus! I couldn’t include images of Drew Barrymore’s and Tiffani Amber Thiessen’s tattoos in the Brainiac post; I’ve included them here.

HiLobrow readers, enjoy:

Angelina Jolie (born 1975)

Tattoos: Gothic script “Know Your Rights” between shoulder blades; Buddhist Pali incantation written in Khmer script on left shoulder blade — covering up previous tatoo; “Strength of Will” Arabic script tattoo on right arm — covering up previous tattoo; “XIII V MCMXL” (date of famous Winston Churchill speech) on her left underarm; Tennessee Williams quote (“A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages”) on left arm; cross tattoo and Latin phrase (“Quod me nutrit me destruit”, meaning “What nourishes me, destroys me”) on stomach — covering up previous tattoo; rune style tattoo (the letter H) on left wrist; longitudes and latitudes of the locations where her children first entered her life, on upper left arm — covering up previous tattoo; 12-inch long, 8-inch wide Bengal tiger tattoo on lower back — covering up two previous tattoos; various removed tattoos, including a tattoo in the pubic area referring to Billy Bob Thornton.


Pink (born 1979)

Tattoos: shooting star and angel on back of left shoulder; “What goes around comes around” on right wrist; “tru luv” a little higher up; tattoos on upper left thigh: “Mr. Pink”, oriental style dragon; cartoon cat on lower stomach; barcode from album “Missundaztood” just below hairline at back of neck; frog on left foot; kanji for luck/happiness on right ankle; infinity sign on hip; red star on hand; dad and brother’s army dog tags on left foot; portrait of her dog Elvis; several others.


Steve-O (born 1974)

Tattoos: Over 25 “dumb” tattoos, each one of them intended to get a laugh. They include: parodies of Angelina Jolie’s tattoos (including the name “Billy Bob,” in Gothic script); the phrase “I have a small weiner,” on arm; and a giant self-portrait, complete with signature, on back.


50 Cent (born 1975)

Tattoos: “Love & Hate” on lower stomach; heads of Jesus and Satan on lower stomach; “Beau” (grandmother’s name) on neck; axe with “Marquise” (son) and “Warrior” on right biceps; “Sabrina” (mother) and “Ghetto Angel” on right lower arm; angel on shoulder; “50” on left biceps; crucifix and “God understands me” on left lower arm; “G-Unit” on right hand; giant “50” on center of back; “South Side,” “Gangsta,” “Cold World,” and “G-Unit” also on back; others.


Christina Ricci (born 1980)

Tattoos: lion on right shoulder blade (a reference to “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”); fairy on the inside of right wrist; praying hands on left hip; a bouquet of sweetpeas on lower back; “Move or Bleed” on the left side of ribcage; “Jack” (a dead pet) on right thigh; a sparrow on right breast; a mermaid on left ankle. Unconfirmed: two red stars, plus “I’m the toughest girl I know” in script, under right breast.


David Beckham (born 1975)

Tattoos: Gothic-style “Brooklyn” (son’s name) across lower back; Gothic-style “Romeo” (son) above crucifixion/guardian angel on upper back & “Cruz” (son) underneath; “Victoria” (wife) in Hindi, supposedly misspelled, plus “Ut Amem Et Foveam” (“So that I love and cherish”), lower back; Roman numeral VII (7 was his Man United jersey number), underside right arm; seven-inch image of Victoria, naked, lying on her back surrounded by stars, on left arm; Hebrew text, from the Song of Songs, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine”; “Perfectio in Spiritu” (“spiritual perfection”), right forearm; angel, plus “In the face of adversity,” right shoulder and bicep; winged cross, back of neck; many others.


Victoria Beckham (born 1974)

Tattoos: David Beckham’s initials on left wrist; five stars representing herself, her three sons, and her husband, on lower back; Hebrew text, from the Song of Songs, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine,” on neck and upper back; others.


Christina Aguilera (born 1980)

Tattoos: “Xtina” on back of neck; flower on left wrist; design on inside left forearm; Hebrew text (I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine”), on small of back; unknown tattoo just below bikini line; others.


Justin Timberlake (born 1981)

Tattoos: Initials on ankles; cross on left shoulder; large angel with “Guardian” on back; others.


Drew Barrymore (born 1975)

Tattoos: large cross on ankle; butterfly under belly button; angels on back; blue moon with smile, plus star at tip, on right foot; flowers on left hip bone.


Lil Wayne (born 1980)

Tattoos: Couldn’t find a description anywhere. I’m not the only one interested. The internets are replete with questions like this one: “what does lil wayne’s tat on the left side of his back say??!?! anyone?” Lil Wayne, please let your fans know.


Nicole Richie (born 1981)

Tattoos: rosary beads and cross on ankle and foot; angel wings on shoulder blades; “Richie,” plus red bow and ribbon, on back of neck; tiara on hip; red shooting star on right wrist; “Virgin” on left wrist; ballerina slippers on abdomen; cross on lower back; dots on finger; others.


Britney Spears (born 1981)

Tattoos: fairy on lower back; daisy circling second toe on right foot; butterfly leaving a vine on left foot; lower with Chinese symbol for mystery on lower stomach; three Hebrew characters on back of neck; pair of pink dice inside left wrist (changed); small star on right hand; red and pink lips on wrist; black, white, and pink cross on lower hip; others?


Tiffani Amber Thiessen (born 1974)

Tattoos: flower on back; angel on ankle; small green heart on stomach; sunflower just above panty line; possibly others.


Amy Winehouse (born 1983)

Tattoos: winged ankh on back; feather on left forearm; lightning bolt on right forearm; several pin up girls; “Hello Sailor” plus anchor, on stomach; others.


Robbie Williams (born 1974)

Tattoos: Maori design on left arm; Celtic cross on right hip; lion with “Born to be Mild” under it, and “Elvis, Grant Me Serenity” above it. on right arm; musical notes and Beatles lyrics on small of back; saint holding cross with name “Jack Farrel” (his grandfather) under it, inside right arm; “Mother” on outside of same arm; “Chacun A Son Gout” on chest; others.


The whole point of the Suicide Girls — a Revivalist phenomenon — is that they’re heavily tattooed.

ALSO: Lindsay Lohan ( a flower and a ladybug on the back of her neck, a Sanskrit character for lotus flower on her wrist, and a bow tattoo on the small of her back); Jessica Alba (a flower and a ladybug on the back of her neck, a Sanskrit character for lotus flower on her wrist, and a bow tattoo on the small of her back); Bam Margera (heart-a-gram symbol on his lower stomach, a large tattoo design on his right side, large portrait on his right shoulder (done by Kat Von D), a large razorblade under his left arm and several others); Travis Barker (a large checkered-flag design on both sides of his neck, a large banner inscribed with “Can I Say” across his collar bones, the outlines of nude women on opposite sides of his upper chest, a large “Boom Box” radio on his stomach, a large design on his mid-lower back, both arms sleeved (one arm contains a Virgin Mary dedicated to his mother), his left leg has a logo from a Descendents album, many other tattoos); Kelis (a saying on her right wrist, a butterfly on her stomach, a Kanji symbol on her right calf, and a large Japanese inspired design that runs from her buttocks, up her back all the way to the shoulder); many others.

NB: Descriptions of celeb tattoos were adapted from various celeb tattoo sites.


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