Tattoos are about self-expression, making a permanent mark on yourself, using yourself as a medium to communicate art. And sometimes it’s about being a fan, but not every album cover is worth putting on your body. Here are ten that are works of art in of themselves, and worth etching into your skin.
This comes to us courtesy of Ink Master. To celebrate the new season of Ink Master, premiering Tuesday February 25 at 10/9c on Spike, the show is sponsoring Tattoo Bracket Challenge 2014. Think your tattoos can stand up to the best of them? Head over to the submissions page and submit a photo of it for your chance to win a trip for 2 to SXSW. Check it out: uproxx.com/ink-master
And if you need a few ideas, here are ten to put on your skin.
The Velvet Underground And Nico, The Velvet Underground
The Album: Do we really need to explain why the Velvet Underground was great? Right at the height of psychedelic music, the Velvet Underground teamed up with Nico to take a brick to modern music trends and define an album by the influence it had instead of the sales it garnered.
The Cover: True, Andy Warhol’s detail work might scare a less experienced tattoo artist, but it’s a great tattoo not least because, if nothing else, you can argue that it’s quite literally art on your skin.
Run The Jewels, Run The Jewels
The Album: Killer Mike and El-P delivered a powerful collaboration last year, a tough, smart collection of hip-hop that was one of the year’s best.
The Cover: The image of zombie hands clasping jewelry is so simple, yet so vivid, it’ll provoke a response no matter what people think. Which is, of course, the entire idea.
The Album: A slightly more poppy effort from the group, although it pairs well with the fact that they’re willing to let their songs sprawl more.
The Cover: What makes this a great tattoo is simply that it’s simultaneously apocalyptic and surreal, just understated enough that you have to look twice to see what’s off about it.
The Album: One of the richest and most emotionally complex albums of the ’90s, Illmatic took a while to be acknowledged as a classic. But it was a slow burn and its influence is undeniable.
The Cover: A good cover reflects an album, a theme we’ll keep coming back to, and this is so complex and rich as an image it makes a perfect tattoo.
Dr. Feelgood, Motley Crue
The Album: True, Motley Crue is not exactly the most intellectual of bands from the ’80s. But find us somebody who doesn’t at least secretly like most of this album, and we’ll show you a guy who’s a real drag at parties.
The Cover: If you’re going to go metal with your tattoo? Go metal.
The Album: One of the greatest underground hip-hop albums of all time, Madvillain delivered something completely antithetical to radio-friendly hip-hop, with atonal songs often less than two minutes long.
The Cover: MF DOOM, in his trademark mask, delivering his best villainous glare. It’s like the album: To the point, harsh, but gripping.