Capture the romance of a bygone era with an art nouveau inspired tattoo. Rather than opt for traditional tattoo flash, a vintage inspired tattoo is a decorative way to honor art in its many different forms.
Although each artist each had their own interpretation of art nouveau style; Alphonse Mucha, Antonio Gaudi, and Gustav Klimit are all well-known examples of artists who worked within the genre.
Art Nouveau Style
Art nouveau was prominent between 1890-1910 throughout Paris after Mucha’s famed lithographed poster for the play Gismonda hit the Paris streets. Soon the beauty of Europe’s organic art became global and went on to further influence culture, society and furniture designs. Art nouveau also influenced the ever-popular stained glass works of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
If you want a truly unique tattoo, do some homework and find inspiration that showcases your love and appreciation for vintage paintings. Art nouveau celebrated all of life as ‘art’ and took a very organic approach to it incorporating large ornate curves and scrolls with vines and flowers.
Once you’ve found the piece(s) you admire you can allow your tattoo ideas to flow freely from there. Work with your desired piece and think about how you might make it your own by incorporating a unique spin on colors, placement and even the overall theme. Popular Mucha art works that are often selected for tattooed interpretations include Fruit,La Samaritaine and anything from the Flower Series of 1898 collection.
Vintage French poster advertisements offer plenty of design ideas for unique and romantic tattoos. From cigarettes to champagne bottles, Art Deco and nouveau style tattoos usually depict a woman with long hair set within a vine of flowers, greenery and scrolls. These artful pieces can take on many interpretations so take your time combining personal and meaningful design elements.
While selected ink colors can vary, gold scrolls are a prominent choice paired with lots of cascading green branches and muted desert hues. Mauve, pink and lilac tattoos really stand out when depicted in a vintage art fashion so use these rare colors to your advantage and play with the color wheel.
Depending on the size of your art nouveau tattoo placement can vary. Consider the rib cage, arm and upper thigh for larger tattoos. Leg sleeves and arm sleeves make for obvious canvas choices as well. For something more intimate, a lower hip tattoo is a discreet option.
While back tattoos are a perfect place for a framed piece of art, consider whether you’ll really enjoy the art piece if it’s inked out of sight and unappreciated by you. Instead, why not place an art nouveau tattoo right on your inner forearm in the form of a treasured cameo or charming locket?
To gain authentic art nouveau inspiration you’ll likely need to venture outside of the tattoo shops and into the library instead. Scour art books, visit museums and antique stores to gain vintage inspiration and find something you connect with.
Once you’ve found an inspiring piece of art nouveau, you can take your ideas to a talented artist and have him create a tattoo that’s just right for you. Add details from favorite art pieces and create a palette of colors that you love to bring your art nouveau tattoo to modern day life. Consider a variation of multiple pieces or design something with a quote or flowers and vines that depict personal meaning.
Vintage book covers, romantic quotes and fairy tale inspirations can all be depicted in an art nouveau fashion.
Art nouveau tattoos weave history, fashion, new art and a bit of Parisian couture all into one. If you want to start your own tattoo trend, take a few steps back in time and opt for something old before it becomes new again.