Cephalopod TattoosBy Tony Morelli
The TONMO Image Gallery contains dozens of images of cephalopod tattoos, broken down into three categories: octopus, cuttlefish, and squid. Cephalopod tattoos are one of the most popular subjects on TONMO -- our gallery has millions of views, and I frequently receive inquiries from people looking for ideas on ceph tattoos, or references for tattoo artists and images.
As TONMOers know, there's a society of people who have a passion for these animals. To explore the cephalopod tattoo subject further, I emailed a survey (and later posted it) to people who shared their tattoo images by posting them our gallery. While our sample size for this survey is small (we received 16 responses), we did get some good learnings. Clearly, tattoos are a personal choice, and individuality is the hallmark of a tattoo. So if you're one of those people looking to get inked by a tattoo gun as opposed to an octopus or squid, hopefully you'll find this summary helpful. Here's what I found:
Ten out of 16 respondents got an octopus for their tattoo, while the others got a cuttlefish, squid, or some nondescript, hybrid ceph-like creature (but we did not have any Cthulhu tattoos!)... It is not surprising that octopuses are the most popular tattoos; even as a general topic of interest on this Website, I'd say octopuses are the most popular, probably due to the fact that unlike squid, you can keep an octopus in a home aquarium! At the same time, our highest traffic days on TONMO.com have come when there have been news stories about large/giant squid, such as 2003's announcement that Mesonychoteuthis (Colossal Squid) is even larger and more imposing than the Architeuthis (Giant Squid). As for cuttlefish, while you can keep them in a home saltwater tank, they are harder to come by in the United States -- and for whatever reasons, cuttlefish just aren't as “culturally mainstream” as octopus and squid. Still, there were two cuttlefish tattoos of the 16 respondents, not including the “squid / cuttlefish combo” tattoo (pictured above), owned by Thales, a longtime TONMO.com Supporter.
The most popular location for a cephalopod tattoo is the lower back, with four (25%) tattoos residing there. The left arm was a close second (3), followed by a 3-way tie for right arm, left leg, and upper back (2 each).
As far as pricing goes, our tattooed friends paid as little as FREE, and has much as $6,000 for their tattoos. Seven of our 16 respondents paid less than $250 for their tattoo.
Why do people get cephalopod tattoos?
So why do people choose to get a cephalopod tattoo over something different? Here is some of the insight provided by our responders. It's interesting to note the prevailing observation that cephalopods are so "alien"-like.
Make sure you have a good relationship with your tattoo artist before getting it done. Obviously you want to make sure you see samples of his or her work, so you have a good idea as to the style and quality of the tattoo you're about to get. Don't be afraid to ask questions, or ask for referrals. Tattoos are permanent, so make sure you planned it out! Giving your professional tattooer creative freedom may have its advantages, but again, make sure you really have a good understanding of his or her body of work. Heh! “Body” of work! Get it? ...kinda?
Anyway... I've been asked if I have a tattoo -- I do not. If I were to get one, it would probably have to be two... an octopus and a squid, for balance!
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