Julia Michaels has an interesting tattoo design on her right wrist consisting of three V-shapes and three circles. You can see two triangles in the negative space even though they are not fully formed. This optical illusion is why the design resonated with Julia. It represents the power of the human mind to see beyond what exists on the surface.
People like to make fun of me for it because they’re like ‘oh Pac Man!’ But this is actually a symbol for perception. It has two triangles and three circles, but nothing is actually fully formed. Even though the brain perceives it as whole, and it’s not, which I think is really interesting how you can perceive something as whole even when it’s not.
This design, called the Kanizsa triangle, is a famous optical illusion created by the Italian psychologist Gaetano Kanizsa in 1955.
Julia Michaels has a faceless woman tattooed on her right upper arm. The portrait has a geometric pattern on her face, while the rest of it is very vibrant and colorful. The ink piece was done by artist Jim Sylvia across multiple sessions in February and March 2016.
Back then Julia was still writing songs for other artists and the concealed face symbolizes herself being unseen. She told Vevo:
I have this faceless woman here. It kind of, at the time, was describing my anonymity in the music industry…I’ve always kind of felt like this is who I am on the inside. Everything’s just kind of changed so much this year that I feel like this is me, this is me showing myself, this is me at my most vulnerable.
She made the transition to being a performer after she wrote her breakout hit “Issues,” a song that was so personal she couldn’t imagine anyone else singing it.
“I’m a very nervous person, and I’ve never really been much of a confident person. I think it took a song like ‘Issues’ for me to realize that [being a singer] was something that I wanted, and something that I’ve suppressed because I’m so fearful of it,” she told Jimmy Fallon.
She had been hiding her face from the world in large part because of her severe anxiety. In an essay for Glamour, she opened up about her journey towards overcoming the anxiety which had plagued her since she was 18 and caused her to have panic attacks. Putting her face out into the public eye was not easy for her, but she is happier now that she’s done it. She wrote:
I was scared of not hiding anymore. I was scared of reaching a level of potential I had never reached.
When I see people sing “Issues” with me, it’s the most incredible feeling in the world…This is what I’ve always wanted. To be understood, to be heard. To be seen.
Asia Argento has a “Warrior Mermaid” full back tattoo with three lotus flowers, a heart at the bottom, and lots of swirls and geometric patterns. The custom design was drawn by Francesca Boni and tattooed by Marco Manzo in January 2016. It represents a shield of armor.
Julia Michaels has a tattoo of a geometric anatomical heart with an eye crying in the middle of it on her right arm. The crying eye represents a bit of her vulnerability and the whole design was inked on November 3, 2016 by talented artist London Reese.
As cliche as it sounds, it’s because I wear my heart on my sleeve. And we put the eye in there because it’s my way of showing myself a little bit. And showing that I’m slowly coming out of hiding. Because I do, I hide, and I’ve gotten so content with hiding over the years.