Enlightenment Tattoos

Cheryl Cole

Cheryl Cole got this little swirl tattoo on the center of her chest from artist Nikko Hurtado in April 2016. The design is a Buddhist unalome which represents enlightenment. If the top of the tattoo symbolizes the destination, the swirls symbolize the journey — which is often indirect but gets more refined as you get closer to the goal. It shows that you are making progress even when it feels like you’re treading backwards.

The artist wrote on instagram: “Always honored to tattoo my friend @cherylofficial did this little Buddhist symbol on her chest about a month ago. @cherylofficial & @fakeliampayne are class acts and always treat me very well. Thank you guys for trusting me tattooing you. 🙏🏻 honored.”

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Paris Jackson

Paris Jackson has a large tattoo on her right forearm of the Frank the Rabbit mask from the movie Donnie Darko and the words “Wake Up.” The bunny’s head is tattooed in grayscale, with splatters of blue paint behind it.

After turning 18, Paris Jackson covered herself with a large amount of tattoos in a short period of time.  This one on her arm is the largest so far.  Responding to critics, she wrote an instagram post explaining that her tattoos cover up scars from self-harming and replace them with meaningful works of art.

the craftsmanship of tattoos will always be a controversy. some people like them, some people absolutely hate them. i appreciate art, i always have. especially when that art means something to me. today i can look at my inner forearms and see art that has meaning for me, i don’t see a dark past anymore. my scars and past of self-hatred have been covered by loving marks, creativity, ingenuity.. and depth. sure i will always carry my past with me, but i see ink as a way of changing for the better, always improving. they represent strength for me. i look back at my old self and then i look in the mirror, and i see a fighter looking back at me. i’ll always keep fighting, and encouraging others to stay strong. we all go through hell every now and then but it makes us the warriors of love we were meant to be. so to anyone struggling, it gets better. you’re not alone.

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Jahan Yousaf

On the outside of Jahan Yousaf’s right forearm is the Vajra Brush, a work of art by Alex Grey. The piece symbolizes the spiritual nature of art. At the center of the drawing is a combination of a paintbrush and the eastern spiritual symbol Vajra. Two winged snakes wrap around it, similar to the Caduceus symbol. Though it is often used as a symbol of medicine, the Caduceus represents occupations associated with the Greek god Hermes.

The artist explains a means that the meaning of the vajra paintbrush is “to awaken people to their own essence through the light of higher vision. The entire history of art is an expression of universal creativity that invisibly surrounds and supports every creative act. The vajra is a spiritual device, a thunderbolt scepter owned by the Hindu god Indra and adopted by the Buddhist sages as a symbol of the diamond-like clarity and brilliance of the mind’s true nature.”

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