Literature Tattoos

Julia Michaels


Radio host JoJo Wright arranged a date with Julia Michaels to get tattooed live on air on November 21, 2017. The iHeartRadio DJ brought one of his personal favorite tattoo artists Mikey Montoya to the 102.7 KIIS FM Los Angeles studios to tattoo him and Julia. Both of them planned their tattoos independently and they don’t match or even relate at all — JoJo got a Mickey Mouse/Jack Skellington mashup.

Julia’s tattoo says “protagonist + antagonist” representing the duality of life. As a songwriter she views everything through the perspective of stories. The protagonist is the main character in a story while the antagonist is someone who gets in the way of the protagonist achieving their goals. Antagonists can be evil villains, but they can also be ordinary people minding their own business whose own goals conflict with the protagonist’s. We are all sometimes the antagonist in other people’s life stories, often without realizing it, when we get a job or an award or even a boyfriend/girlfriend that they wanted for themselves.

She says that this tattoo “is basically me just embracing both sides of my personality.”

This tattoo marks the beginning of Julia began actively working on her second full sleeve. Up until this point the only tattoo on her left arm was the piano which she has had since 2012. But in the following months she covered her whole forearm.

(more…)

Bea Miller


Bea Miller added this handwritten tattoo between her ghost and maple leaf in December 2017. It says “we are all going” which is a line from the John Green novel Looking for Alaska. She shared a picture of the tattoo on her instagram along with a photo of her copy of the book, showing the context for the quote. The paragraph in the book says:

We are all going, I thought, and it applies to turtles and turtlenecks, Alaska the girl and Alaska the place, because nothing can last, not even the earth itself. The Buddha said that suffering was caused by desire, we’d learned, and that the cessation of desire meant the cessation of suffering. When you stopped wishing things wouldn’t fall apart, you’d stop suffering when they did.

It is about accepting that we cannot change our own mortality and the impermanence of everything and everyone around us.

(more…)

Julia Michaels


Julia Michaels celebrated the holidays with family in a unique way — she and her father got matching tattoos on December 28, 2017. They chose the Golden Snitch from the Harry Potter series inked in vibrant color. Julia’s tattoo is on her upper right arm and her dad’s is on the inside of his forearm.

Her father has come a long way with his attitude about tattoos since Julia started getting inked at age 18. Back then he was apprehensive about Julia getting tattoos and definitely didn’t want any for himself. But seeing Julia’s thoughtful works of art has made him change his mind. She told Universal Music:

The first tattoo that I ever got was this microphone when I was 18. My dad used to be very conservative. And when I told him I wanted to get a tattoo he [said] “I don’t know how I feel about that” but I [said] “you should come with me.” And when he came with me, he was so in love with the process that he now wants to get one with me.

(more…)

Ruby Rose


Ruby Rose has a rabbit tattooed on the right side of her lower back. The white rabbit holding a pocket-watch is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

This tattoo seems to have been one of her more painful ones. She showed off her fresh ink in a February 2012 Facebook photo and wrote “And we done 3 hours I want to vomit on myself.”

(more…)

Lucy Hale


Lucy Hale has cursive writing tattooed below her left breast. It says “Courage, dear heart” which is a line from C.S. Lewis’ book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in the Chronicles of Narnia series:

“But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, “Courage, dear heart,” and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.”

(more…)

Marzia Bisognin


Marzia Bisognin got this cartoon-style portrait of author Banana Yoshimoto tattooed on her arm in July 2016. She commissioned illustrator Anke Weckmann to create the drawing and then had it tattooed by Katja Graaf at Velvet Tattoo in Brighton UK. She wanted the design to be an artistic interpretation rather than a literal portrait. On her YouTube channel she explained:

I asked an amazing illustrator and artist that I follow on Twitter to make a design for me…I don’t know if you can tell who it’s supposed to be because I told her to keep it not too exactly alike to the person that I’m tattooing. But I think she did a great job and I’m very excited about it.

Marzia deliberated a lot where to put this tattoo and hadn’t finalized her decision until the day that she got it. She chose her right arm so that she could have a different theme for each arm. Her left side has tattoos that describe her personality and her right side has her inspirations.

This arm [points to her left arm] — I didn’t want to add to it because all these tattoos are personal to me; they have a meaning related to the way I am. But instead, the tattoo I have back here [showing her right arm] is for my parents. They’re an inspiration for me. And since I’m getting Banana Yoshimoto, which is a huge inspiration to me as well, I thought maybe in the front here.

(more…)

Marzia Bisognin

Marzia got this tattoo on her left forearm in September 2015. The writing, which says “La casa sulla luna” in her native language Italian, means “The house on the moon” in English. It’s a phrase from the book We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, which has helped Marzia to deal with her social anxiety. The house on the the moon is a metaphor for a feeling of safety. On her blog she explained:

But this topic brings me to the next tattoo: “La casa sulla luna”, which translated is “The house on the moon”.

This refers to my social anxiety: once again, you know I struggle with it, and it used to be really really bad. This sentence comes from one of my favourite books, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle”, where the protagonist, after going through a tragedy, can never leave the house without feeling observed and judged by people.

If you have social anxiety you know that feeling very well: as soon as you leave your safe place, it feels like everybody is staring at you, and you just want to hide from the world.

In the story, the girl would imagine her safe place in her head (the house on the moon) while being outside, just so that thought could be somewhat comforting to her. And so I tried it myself, I would think about it as well while leaving the house, or when I was in uncomfortable situations, and it helped me greatly.

That’s why it’s on my body, it’s a constant reminder that I can do it, it’s all in my head, and if I think about positive things instead of letting my dark thoughts come to mind, everything will be fine.

(more…)

Melanie Martinez


Melanie Martinez has a tattoo on her left calf of the children’s book character Madeline along with a quote from the series.  In the stories, Madeline lives in a Catholic boarding school in Paris.  She and her schoolmates always say a prayer before they eat their meals: “We love our bread, we love our butter, but most of all, we love each other.” It is a reminder that the people in our lives are the most important thing.  Melanie included this prayer in her tattoo, which features Madeline holding a loaf of bread and is surrounded by little pink hearts. It was inked by artist Nat G at Good Luck Tattoo in January 2016.

(more…)