Exactly What it Says on the Tin
June 2, 2009 8:33 AM   Subscribe

30 Awesomely Bad Unicorn Tattoos [nsfw]
posted by Navelgazer (89 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Do unicorns really piss rainbows?
posted by stbalbach at 8:39 AM on June 2, 2009


A one-horned animal (which may be just a bull in profile) is found on some seals from the Indus Valley Civilization. Seals with such a design are thought to be a mark of high social rank. - Wikipedia

You see the irony?
posted by Joe Beese at 8:41 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Do unicorns really piss rainbows?

How else would they decorate a cupcake?
posted by mudpuppie at 8:42 AM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


My hungry kids thank you for getting me fired with an unmarked NSFW link.
posted by DU at 8:44 AM on June 2, 2009


The zombie unicorn looks like it's actually rotting, yet the tattoo is otherwise awful. Must be a meth freak with rotting skin.
posted by stavrogin at 8:45 AM on June 2, 2009


Of the big three non-religious mythical creatures mentioned in the bible (unicorns, dragons and giants), are unicorns solely a western/christian thing (lots of dragons and giants in other cultures)?
posted by 445supermag at 8:45 AM on June 2, 2009


Oh god, DU, I'm sorry! I meant to put one on there and then it slipped my mind!

Contacting mods now...
posted by Navelgazer at 8:46 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it possible to have a good unicorn tattoo? This is like having a list of "Tacky unicorn murals on the side of your custom van."
posted by bondcliff at 8:51 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


My hungry kids thank you for getting me fired with an unmarked NSFW link.

I do hope you didn't really get fired, but... what kind of job do people have where it's A-OK to idly browse sites like Metafilter and look at crappy unicorn tattoos, yet the boss will get upset when the unicorns start pissing rainbows?
posted by dunkadunc at 8:52 AM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Great. Now I'm gonna have to use a panda bear for my white-power tattoo.
posted by orme at 8:53 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


The 'White Power' unicorn tattoo would take a book-length exposition just to work through all the possible layers of meaning. I mean, ignoring the swastika-armband-wearing unicorn for a moment (if you can), he has a rainbow being attacked by the SS symbol on his butt. What? Is this some kind of prison culture surrealism?
posted by Sova at 9:01 AM on June 2, 2009 [8 favorites]


This is one of those situations where I'm hard-pressed to feel like an NSFW is really needed, but since Navelgazer seems to have intended to include it in the first place, there y'all go.
posted by cortex at 9:01 AM on June 2, 2009


The Japanese-style tattoo and the lion versus unicorn tattoo don't really deserve to be on this list.

I didn't realize that zombie unicorn was such a popular thought though.
posted by dragoon at 9:07 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Broadly, I'm not sure that intentionally-bad ('awesomely bad,' if you prefer) tattoos belong on these kinds of lists. But then, the intentionally-bad ones are a lot funnier than the ones that are just technically awful. Bad art is funnier than bad craft, maybe.
posted by box at 9:10 AM on June 2, 2009


And, as usual, this is a bunch of images taken from other places (e.g.) and completely uncredited--source, tattoo artist or tattoo wearer. Given the way this kind of thing often goes, though, I should probably be happy that holytaco is hosting the images on their own site.
posted by box at 9:13 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why would people get tattoos of unicorns? Asserting power over their childhood in an ironic way comes to mind.

But an image-stealing blog full of comment spam? C'mon, Navelgazer, you can and have done better than that.
posted by klangklangston at 9:17 AM on June 2, 2009


This is one of those situations where I'm hard-pressed to feel like an NSFW is really needed

Dude GIANT WANG HORN just sayin'
posted by Shepherd at 9:20 AM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Just be glad you're not Mr. Cool Ice. [german, youtube.]
posted by dunkadunc at 9:21 AM on June 2, 2009


I like unicorn vs. mecha-dolphin. Rambo on a unicorn is pretty damn tough as well.
posted by autodidact at 9:21 AM on June 2, 2009


If that's a giant wang horn, your monitor must be set at 320x240 or some such.
posted by Plutor at 9:25 AM on June 2, 2009


what.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:25 AM on June 2, 2009


I mean, why?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:26 AM on June 2, 2009


Well that's sort of an inverse unicorn chaser to the nice monroe pictures.
posted by Artw at 9:36 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Taz riding a unicorn is just too hilarious for words.
posted by Talanvor at 9:38 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can we change the link to 30 Awesomely Awesome Unicorn Tattoos?
posted by sid at 9:40 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know... I totally get that good times and dignity don't always go together... but when the good times pass, maybe you'd want your dignity back?

...but then again, rainbows might be enough for these folks...
posted by yeloson at 9:41 AM on June 2, 2009


Is it possible to have a good unicorn tattoo?

I just thought, you know, the origami one in Blade Runner?....may be?

no, not really.

posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:42 AM on June 2, 2009


But an image-stealing blog full of comment spam? C'mon, Navelgazer, you can and have done better than that.

Eh. I didn't know it was image stealing. My friend sent me the link, I laughed, and I thought maybe people here would laugh too. I've already got something better lined up for tomorrow, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:43 AM on June 2, 2009


Some of these are actually kinda good, and many are so bad they're good (the unicorn-dolphin one is definitely "awesomely bad"). Then, a few are just bad.

I'd think about getting a tattoo. But I do fear it would turn into the unicorn of tomorrow.
posted by salvia at 9:43 AM on June 2, 2009


....I got stuck on the "I'm Always Hustlin'" one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:44 AM on June 2, 2009


I have, off and on, told people I'm totally getting a unicorn tattoo. It would take up my entire calf and be a medieval unicorn (think The Unicorn Tapestries). I just figure if you're getting a unicorn tattoo, you need to commit. It can't be hidden or tiny. It needs to be huge and it needs to be seen.

It is the sort of thing that when I tell people this, I'm not actually sure how serious I am about it. I don't think I'll ever do it, but I do enjoy the thought.
posted by darksong at 9:46 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


In an attempt to give credit where credit is due, the "Every day I'm Hustling" tattoo is by Ryan Mason of Scapegoat Tattoo in Portland. The rest of his work is awesome enough to make me really want a tattoo even though years of watching hot girls with ugly ink in porn has kind of turned me off (heh) of them.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:47 AM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Taz riding a unicorn is just too hilarious for words.

I know. It's... it's... can I pay the person with that tattoo to have the word "what" tattooed beneath it?
posted by GuyZero at 9:48 AM on June 2, 2009


Whitest Kids U Know tattoo parlor sketch

Tattoo based on said sketch.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:55 AM on June 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


the boss will get upset when the unicorns start pissing rainbows

When it looks like he's got an acid flashback coming on, that's when I usually declare I'm "working from home" for the afternoon.
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:18 AM on June 2, 2009


FYI - that's not "rotting junkie skin" on the zombie tattoo, that's what a tattoo sometimes looks like around day 4-6 or so, depending on how well you've been taking care of it. The top layers of skin peel away, and any parts that bled more than the others can start scabbing over and looking a little crustier. You can tell it's fresh due to the shinyness of the rest of the tattoo - that's the new skin underneath what peeled away, and the crusties are the leftover scabs that will probably heal and drop off a few days later.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:36 AM on June 2, 2009


What? Is this some kind of prison culture surrealism?

It's some musician who has that and a bunch of other tattoos to shock squares.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:43 AM on June 2, 2009


No, not really fired. Just a humorous way of saying "we need an NSFW up in here".
posted by DU at 10:54 AM on June 2, 2009


Whitest Kids U Know tattoo parlor sketch

Tattoo based on said sketch.


Thank you so much for that dunkadunc!
posted by Meatbomb at 10:58 AM on June 2, 2009


They weren't all bad. One or two were okay.
posted by Malice at 10:58 AM on June 2, 2009


Most of them are actually awesome (unicorn killing kupies? yeah!) And some are just older tattoos that have faded/blurred into mush. I assume newer tattoos are better quality and the wearers are better about aftercare/sunscreen so they won't look so bad in 20 years. My 17 year old tattoo doesn't look so hot anymore.

Juliet Banana, thanks for the link to Ryan Mason's work. Some of it is very pretty (and he seems like the "goto" guy for dog tats that actually look good.)
posted by vespabelle at 11:00 AM on June 2, 2009


I was having a good laugh until this.
posted by porpoise at 11:03 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the nazi unicorn tattoo was (probably) part of a post on BME Zine (NSFW, filtered at my place of work). From that page: Mike, who plays guitar for The Seventh Gate and Call The Paramedics says of his Nazi unicorn tattoo by Painless J at Marlowe Ink in Fairfax, Virginia, “only the whites get angry, hah… funny how that works?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:06 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I actually know far more about unicorn tattoos than I think you can imagine.
posted by xod at 11:11 AM on June 2, 2009 [13 favorites]


Of the big three non-religious mythical creatures mentioned in the bible (unicorns, dragons and giants), are unicorns solely a western/christian thing (lots of dragons and giants in other cultures)?
The unicorn is often equated with the qilin but it's hardly an exact match. People get tatts of them too, it seems.
posted by Abiezer at 11:14 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Vespabelle, I know! Who else would do a portrait of a dead dog dressed like russian general?
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:16 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I hate unicorns.

I lived in a very, very small town, and the elementary school I went to had very very small classes. Because of this, different grade levels were frequently taught by the same teacher. I had the same teacher for fifth, sixth, and seventh grade.

She dressed youthfully, in the style of the day; baggy sweatshirts with bright plastic belts, stirrup pants with piles of leg warmers. Her hair was cut in a shaggy mullet, her eyes shadowed with fuschia and turquoise, her cheekbones warpainted with dark slashes of blush. She dotted all her "i"s with little hearts, and covered every surface of the classroom with posters of rainbows and kittens and, most of all, unicorns. She loooooovvvved unicorns.

Also, she was fucking crazy.

Not in a fun, kooky, way, though I am sure that is how she liked to envision herself. She would scream at us for at least forty-five minutes a day, usually about math, sometimes about nothing. On one memorable occasion, it was two hours about God and body odor. She was also known to throw chairs and desks, sometimes with students still attached.

I was prone to not finishing homework, daydreaming, crying when screamed at, and lots of other things that pissed her off. I don't think I ever went out for recess. The only thing that kept her at bay was the unicorns. I was good at drawing unicorns. I drew hundreds and hundreds of unicorns, with moons and stars and rainbows and all that other shit, to keep that insane harpy from throttling me.

So, yeah, unicorns can officially go fuck themselves.

"White Power" unicorn makes perfect sense to me. I've always suspected that unicorns are racists.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:19 AM on June 2, 2009 [20 favorites]


I was having a good laugh until this.

Friend of yours?
posted by ODiV at 11:20 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Freedom's just another word for unicorn tattoos"
posted by cog_nate at 11:21 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought freedom was just another word for a preponderance of grues.
posted by everichon at 11:36 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wasn't there an AskMe a while back about someone finding an abandoned unicorn in their yard?
posted by dunkadunc at 11:41 AM on June 2, 2009


This lends new meaning to go fuck a rainbow.
posted by Night_owl at 11:43 AM on June 2, 2009


And, as usual, this is a bunch of images taken from other places (e.g.) and completely uncredited--source, tattoo artist or tattoo wearer. Given the way this kind of thing often goes, though, I should probably be happy that holytaco is hosting the images on their own site.

The real question is: will holytaco be allowed to remain president of St. Lawrence's Culinary Divinity School?
posted by DaDaDaDave at 11:54 AM on June 2, 2009


Do unicorns really piss rainbows?

No, but they do poop marshmallows.
posted by davejay at 12:05 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


My hungry kids thank you for getting me fired with an unmarked NSFW link.

I still don't get this.

(1) Sitting at work, looking at funny pictures of bad unicorn tattoos (including unicorn wang): FIRED.

(2) Sitting at work, looking at funny pictures of bad unicorn tattoos (no unicorn wang): No problem, hey have a promotion!

The whole concept of NSFW = WTF to me. Either work or don't work, dammit.
posted by rokusan at 12:25 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dude GIANT WANG HORN just sayin'

Great name for a band.
posted by rokusan at 12:25 PM on June 2, 2009


What? Is this some kind of prison culture surrealism?

It's some musician who has that and a bunch of other tattoos to shock squares.


Well, that kinda makes sense...I mean, at least it's explicable in an this-is-otherwise-inexplicable kind of way. I think I was more confused than shocked, but it's nice knowing the backstory.
posted by Sova at 12:31 PM on June 2, 2009


The one with the unicorn humping the dolphin?

Yeah, I did that tattoo.

Not my idea, not my drawing, just put in in skin for the guy.

You should see what he's getting on his back! It's him, as a half man, half motorcycle, riding through the apocalypse.

Not even kidding.
posted by chronkite at 12:44 PM on June 2, 2009 [18 favorites]


Eating sour skittles while I viewed these greatly enhanced the experience. "Taste the rainbow..."
posted by whimsicalnymph at 12:49 PM on June 2, 2009


So chronkite, what's the deal with copyright/trademark law as it pertains to tattoos these days? Are corporations trying to enforce anything or do they not care? Is the tightening we're seeing in other areas of artistic expression mirrored in the tattoo world?
posted by ODiV at 12:56 PM on June 2, 2009


Louche moustachio, I'll make it up to you. SOMEHOW.

warning: swears inside link. don't get fired and crap, y'all.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:17 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


what's the deal with copyright/trademark law as it pertains to tattoos these days?

I have never seen any charges brought against a tattoo artist or collector for doing a tattoo of something copywritten, but I guess it's possible.

If copywritten artwork were sold on flash (the designs you see hanging on the shop walls), I'm sure it could be prosecuted. It's mass production and copying of someone else's work, but on the individual basis it's probably not worth the time or effort.

In the case of the unicorn/dolphin tattoo, he had a friend design it for him, then brought me the drawing. I did it as close as I could to the original, the tattoo purist inside me kicking and screaming the whole time.

Ya gotta give the people what they want!

One interesting case I did see years ago was a shop that got sued for refusing to tattoo a client with AIDS..the court decided that they either had to do the tattoo, or pay for the guy to have it done elsewhere. Craziness.

Another wild story is how tattooing came to be legalized in Massachusetts..

I worked in the first legal studio in Mass, in 2001-2002 for Stephan Lanphear, who had previously been arrested for tattooing on Martha's Vineyard.. He argued that it was a freedom of speech issue, both for him as an artist and his client as a collector. He had the backing of the ACLU, and eventually won the case.
posted by chronkite at 1:26 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Chronkite:
(1) Copyrighted, not copywritten. Grrr.
(2) Dude: you MUST post a photo of the finished apocacyclist.
posted by rokusan at 1:35 PM on June 2, 2009


Double plus appreciating the Ryan Mason art...and I have a sneaking suspicion I might know one of his clients!
posted by redsparkler at 1:40 PM on June 2, 2009


chronkite: Interesting. I figured with all the flickr people posting "I got this sweet PEPSI BLUE tattoo by chronkite at MefINK in Portland!" there might be some legal trouble because of it.
posted by ODiV at 1:43 PM on June 2, 2009


Copyrighted. You're right.

What's funny is, I've been doing this for 15 years and have never copyrighted anything..why bother? With tattoos, they are by definition one of a kind, and with flash the whole purpose is to copy the designs.

The tattoo business practices the old fashioned kind of copyright, which is basically "if I catch you selling my stuff I'll wait til I catch you in some elevator at a convention, and break your hands."

Seems to keep things in check nicely.
posted by chronkite at 1:50 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think the nazi unicorn tattoo was (probably) part of a post on BME Zine (NSFW, filtered at my place of work).

Yeah, don't miss that post. This guy has some of the most fucked up tattoos you'll ever see. My favorite: the people in monster-movie horror poses pointing fearfully at his nutsack.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:02 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


A good post, except a little part of my stomach turns over when I see the word 'awesomely'.
posted by kingbenny at 2:17 PM on June 2, 2009


The whole concept of NSFW = WTF to me. Either work or don't work, dammit.
posted by rokusan at 12:25 PM on June 2


I'd prefer to get paid for looking at SFW websites.

But, that's just what I think they're thinking.
posted by Malice at 2:49 PM on June 2, 2009


Double plus appreciating the Ryan Mason art

I've never even come *close* to wanting a tattoo in the past, but that Emma Goldman portrait was very, very tempting.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:59 PM on June 2, 2009


Nothing says "bad life decision" like a shitty tattoo.
posted by Ratio at 3:09 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]



The whole concept of NSFW = WTF to me.


The words you're looking for are "sexual harassment in the workplace."
posted by shen1138 at 3:23 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I posted that white power unicorn tattoo back when I was running BME and ModBlog (and I think some of the others as well)... And yeah, it's basically just a joke tattoo. There are a ton of those out there when it comes to unicorn tattoos... Very few of the tattoos on the list are unintentionally funny.

I find tattoos based on transient memes interesting, because how they're interpreted in the future will change so much as they lose their context.
posted by glider at 4:46 PM on June 2, 2009


THe Book Of Enchantments by Patrica. C Wrede has an excellent story about an unicorn. Basically, unicorns are horrible vain smug bastards who expect madiens to spend all day combing thier hair and telling them how pretty they are without, you know, actually helping them get out of the forest. It's a pretty fun book and I loved it to DEATH as a 13 year old. Even more than Tanith Lee.

I can't be the only teenager who had his world rocked by Don't Bet On The Prince. The re-telling of the little mermiad was just perfect.
posted by The Whelk at 4:47 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


I once slept with someone with a good unicorn tattoo. Then I woke up. Funny how that works.
posted by Sparx at 5:36 PM on June 2, 2009


Wow. Some of those are spectacular. And not in the good way.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:44 PM on June 2, 2009


My hungry kids thank you for getting me fired with an unmarked NSFW link.

You clearly need to seek a better employer, one for whom context, competency, work ethics, and suchlike actually count for something. You're better off without a douchebag employer¹.

I honestly don't understand how it can be legit to browse MeFi at work, and yet not legit to click links on MeFi. I personally can't really even justify browsing news headlines, other than to say my employer is probably better off if I'm at least minimally informed as to what's going on in the world. I can't imagine thinking I have a means of justifying spending time in a social web community that isn't specific to my work activities.

¹Not really better off without employment, however. Bummer, man, I hope you can quickly and easily find new work. And for a better boss, really.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:54 PM on June 2, 2009


Whoops, shoulda read further into the thread. Still think the NSFW thing is pretty ... odd. It only makes sense as a convenience for people who are spending their time not performing work-related activities while being paid to perform work-related activities. Or for people who are ruled by ultra-conservative radically incompetent bosses.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:58 PM on June 2, 2009


chronkite, which unicorn/dolphin tattoo? The unicorn vs. mechadolphin or the unicorn humping a dolphin?
posted by MikeKD at 11:28 PM on June 2, 2009


Regarding the whole S/NSFW kerfuffle, some jobs have things called "breaks" where you get to do what you want for some specified period of time. That does not mean that you are not still constrained by general workplace decency standards. A blue web page with a bunch of text (while possibly lacking in proffesionality) is not the same as a giant image of a unicock. Is that really so hard to imagine?
posted by one_bean at 1:22 AM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


dunkadunc: "Wasn't there an AskMe a while back about someone finding an abandoned unicorn in their yard?"

For serious? I can has linkage?
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 1:35 AM on June 3, 2009


After about an hour of searching various April Firsts for deleted threads, my MefiFu is failing me.
Anyone?
posted by dunkadunc at 4:43 AM on June 3, 2009


>: even though years of watching hot girls with ugly ink in porn has kind of turned me off (heh) of them

I wouldn't say that getting bad ink condemns you to a life in pr0n, but there does seem to be a strong correlation.
See also: Gutter punks (homeless by choice today, homeless by necessity tomorrow), carnies, and other people with poor economic outlooks.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:41 AM on June 3, 2009


Dunkadunc: It wasn't so much the cause and effect relationship of "ugly tattoo=porn star," it's the cause and effect of "pretty girl with big smeary butterfly tramp stamp=less attractive girl."

I want to look good naked, and while there are certainly tattoos that make girls more attractive, porn has taught me the odds seem to be against me.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:06 AM on June 3, 2009


Respectfully, Juliet, I think that the tattoo-related lessons that one might take from pornography are about as accurate and credible as the rest of the lessons that one might take from it.
posted by box at 7:45 AM on June 3, 2009


Tattoo-related lesions?
posted by kingbenny at 7:53 AM on June 3, 2009


Everything I know, I learned from porn. It's served me well, though my sink is still clogged after calling every plumber in the city.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:00 AM on June 3, 2009


Don't worry, juliet, just keep calling around and someday you'll find a plumber who has the right tool to "unclog" your "sink."

I mean a man with a large penis.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:53 AM on June 3, 2009


The UnicornxDolphin tattoo amused me. When I saw it, my first thought was, "So that's how narwals are made..."
posted by ElectricBlue at 3:14 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


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