CLOSE
Flickr: slackferno
Flickr: slackferno

18 Stunning Black-Light-Responsive Tattoos

Flickr: slackferno
Flickr: slackferno

While UV-responsive tattoos are still fairly rare (many people don’t want to bother with ink that’s almost never going to be seen), they can offer a unique way to accentuate a design or to get a tattoo in a highly visible area without having to worry about the potential social consequences it may carry. Here are a few creative and cool tattoos as seen under black light.

1. Think

Here’s one that all Flossers should appreciate—a brain with the word “Think."  Better yet, part of the brain lights up when put under a black light. Excellent tattoo, Flickr user slackferno.

2. Skeleton

Plenty of people have tattoos showing their skeletal structure, but the look becomes far cooler when it only shows up under a black light. This great piece was done for Jason R. by Richie Streate of The Dungeon Inc. in Canon City, CO.

3. The Dark Mark

When the Dark Mark lights up, you know things are about to get serious. DeviantArt user Ravensfool had this great piece done by the same Richie of The Dungeon Inc. that did the skeleton arm above.

4. Yoda

Black light tattoos offer a unique opportunity to make your design more interactive. In this case, Kenneth Bryan of Intimate Body Art Studios made Yoda poised for battle in regular light, but with a little UV, his lightsaber is ready to strike down the Dark Side.

5. Cthulhu

Similarly, UV tattoo ink can add an extra layer of detail to a tattoo so it can really pop under any type of light. For example, Flickr user graysong's friend Tom's Cthulhu tattoo looks great under regular light, but under a black light, accents on the monster and the moon make the design particularly intimidating.

6. Book Worm

Knuckle tattoos can make it harder for you to find a job, but with tattoos that only show up under a black light, your dedication to literature can be permanently inked on your fists without risking your future job prospects. Flickr user astrobri, whose art was done by Ron at Adrenaline, took full advantage of this fact.

7. Moogle

Running out of space on your sleeve? Don’t worry, you can always get in a few more fun drawings with UV ink—like this moogle on Flickr user Bio Hally.

8. Transformers

Talk about more than meets the eye: This great tattoo on DeviantArt user ShinigamisPet features an outline only visible under UV light and the word “Nerd” in cybertronix, the language of the Transformers.

9. Buddy Christ

No word on who sports Buddy Christ from Dogma, but James of Nashville Ink certainly did a great job rendering him in UV-responsive ink.

10. Cupcake

Most UV tattoos contain only one shade that glows, but this cupcake by DeviantArt user Inkedromeo18 looks particularly tasty under the black light because it has so many fun colors.

11. Zelda

With all the puzzle-solving in Zelda games, it’s only fitting that DeviantArt user DarkAngelNeo’s Triforce tattoo is only visible under a black light.

12. Another Zelda

Here’s another fantastic Zelda UV tattoo, this one done by DeviantArt user Klanklang’s brother.

13. Space Invaders

Prefer your video game tattoos to be even more old school? Then you'll love Flickr user Alan Swan's Space Invader.

14. Geek Madness

Here’s a great geek black light tattoo sported by Flickr user ThumperWabbt’s son. It features the Dharma Initiative logo from the TV show Lost with the number 42 from the Hitchhiker’s Guide. The two go together particularly well when you consider all the mysteries and oddities of the two series.

15. Apple Pirate

Speaking of awesome geek ink, any Apple fan should be able to appreciate the Apple and crossbones done by artist Art Hullender and worn by Flickr user TheMadapple.

16. The Cheshire Cat

The magic of the Cheshire Cat is that he can disappear and reappear at will, often leaving nothing but his charming eyes and smile behind. DeviantArt user RefculNatas pays appropriate homage to the creature with this tattoo that only reveals the body of the cat under black light.

17. A Goldfish

It doesn’t matter if DeviantArt user starlitefairy24 is under regular light or a black light because her cute little fish, done by her boyfriend, will always be visible. In fact, since she got this tattoo, she also had the eye touched up with clear UV ink.

18. Avatar

It’s hard to capture the magic of Avatar’s Pandora in tattoo form, but DeviantArt user danktat comes close with this tattoo of Neytiri complete with UV-reactive glowing accents on her face.

Since glow in the dark tattoo ink is particularly uncommon, potentially dangerous and occasionally itchy, UV tattoos are currently the closest we can get to making our own bodies glow like those of the Na’vi. Would you guys ever get a black light tattoo and if so, what would you get?

nextArticle.image_alt|e
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
arrow
Animals
Boston's Museum of Fine Arts Hires Puppy to Sniff Out Art-Munching Bugs
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Some dogs are qualified to work at hospitals, fire departments, and airports, but one place you don’t normally see a pooch is in the halls of a fine art museum. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is changing that: As The Boston Globe reports, a young Weimaraner named Riley is the institution’s newest volunteer.

Even without a background in art restoration, Riley will be essential in maintaining the quality of the museum's masterpieces. His job is to sniff out the wood- and canvas-munching pests lurking in the museum’s collection. During the next few months, Riley will be trained to identify the scents of bugs that pose the biggest threat to the museum’s paintings and other artifacts. (Moths, termites, and beetles are some of the worst offenders.)

Some infestations can be spotted with the naked eye, but when that's impossible, the museum staff will rely on Riley to draw attention to the problem after inspecting an object. From there, staff members can examine the piece more closely and pinpoint the source before it spreads.

Riley is just one additional resource for the MFA’s existing pest control program. As far as the museum knows, it's rare for institutions facing similar problems to hire canine help. If the experiment is successful, bug-sniffing dogs may become a common sight in art museums around the world.

[h/t The Boston Globe]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.
arrow
History
Mütter Museum Showcases the Victorian Custom of Making Crafts From Human Hair
Palette work from the collection of John Whitenight and Frederick LaValley
Palette work from the collection of John Whitenight and Frederick LaValley
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

During the Victorian era, hair wasn’t simply for heads. People wove clipped locks into elaborate accessories, encased them in frames and lockets, and used them to make wreaths, paintings, and other items. "Woven Strands," a new exhibition at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum, explores this historical practice by featuring dozens of intricate works culled from five private collections.

According to Emily Snedden Yates, special projects manager at the Mütter Museum, hair work—as it’s called today—was common in England and America between the 17th and early 20th centuries. The popularity of the practice peaked in the 19th century, thanks in part to Queen Victoria’s prolonged public mourning after her husband Prince Albert’s death in 1861. People in both the UK and U.S. responded to her grief, with the latter country also facing staggering death tolls from the Civil War.

With loss of life at the forefront of public consciousness, elaborate mourning customs developed in both nations, and hair work became part of the culture of bereavement. "[The 19th century was] such a sentimental age, and hair is about sentiment," exhibition co-curator Evan Michelson tells Mental Floss. That sentimental quality made hair work fit for both mourning practices as well as for romantic or familiar displays of fondness.

Palette work culled from the collection of Evan Michelson and featured in the Mütter Museum's "Woven Strands" exhibition.
Palette work from the collection of Evan Michelson
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

Most hair artworks were made by women, and created solely for the domestic sphere or as wearable trinkets. Women relied on multiple techniques to create these objects, fashioning wreaths with hair-wrapped bendable wires—a process called gimp work—and dissolving ground hair into pigments used to paint images of weeping willows, urns, and grave sites. Watch fobs, necklaces, and bracelets were woven using an approach called table work, which involved anchoring hair filaments with lead weights onto a table and using tools to twist them into intricate patterns through a hole in the furniture’s surface. Yet another technique, palette work, involved stenciled sheets of hair that were cut into various shapes and patterns.

Hair work remained popular until World War I, according to Michelson, who co-owns New York City's quirky Obscura Antiques and Oddities shop and organized "Woven Strands" along with 19th century decorative arts expert John Whitenight.

“Women hit the workforce, and death occurred on such a huge scale that it really swept away the old way of mourning and the old way of doing things,” Michelson says. By the early 20th century, tastes and aesthetics had also changed, with hair work beginning to be viewed “as something grandma had,” she explains.

The Mütter’s exhibition aside, people typically won’t see hair work in major museums. Being a craft primarily performed by women at home, hair works were usually passed down in families and often viewed as worthless from a financial and artistic perspective.

“A lot of hair work was discarded,” Michelson says. Many owners repurposed the shadowbox frames often used to display hair work by removing and tossing the artworks within. Works stored in basements and attics also frequently succumbed to water damage and insects. Antique dealers today typically only see hair jewelry, which often featured semi-precious materials or was encased in a protective layer.

Sepia dissolved hair culled from the collection of Jennifer Berman and featured in the Mütter Museum's "Woven Strands" exhibition.
Sepia dissolved hair from the collection of Jennifer Berman
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

Yet examples of hair wreaths, palette work, and other delicate heirlooms do occasionally surface. They’re prized by a small group of avid collectors, even though other connoisseurs can be grossed out by them.

“People have this visceral reaction to it,” Michelson says. “They either gasp and adore it—like ‘I can’t get over how amazing it is’—or they just back away. There are very few other things where people are repulsed like this … In the 19th century no one batted an eyelash.”

“It’s a personal textile,” Snedden Yates explains. “It’s kind of like bone in that it doesn’t really decompose at the same rate as the rest of our bodies do. It’s not made of tissue, so if you keep it in the right environment it can be maintained indefinitely.”

Table work culled from the collection of Eden Daniels and featured in the Mütter Museum's "Woven Strands" exhibition.
Table work from the collection of Eden Daniels
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

“Woven Strands” features examples of gimp work, palette work, table work, and dissolved hair work. It’s often hard to trace these types of artworks back to their original creators—they typically don’t bear signatures—but the curators “really wanted to find hair that you could connect to an actual human being,” Michelson says. “We chose pieces that have provenance. We know where they came from or when it was made, or who actually donated the hair in some cases, or what the family name was. We also picked out things that are unusual, that you don’t see often—oddities, if you will.”

Woven hair culled from the collection of Jennifer Berman and featured in the Mütter Museum's "Woven Strands" exhibition.
Woven hair from the collection of Jennifer Berman
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

Displayed in the Mütter Museum’s Thomson Gallery, “Woven Strands” opens on January 19, 2018, and runs through July 12, 2018. On April 7, 2018, master jeweler and art historian Karen Bachmann will lead a 19th century hair art workshop, followed by a day-long historical symposium on the art on Sunday, April 8.

Michelson hopes that “Woven Strands” will teach future generations about hair art, and open their minds to a craft they might have otherwise dismissed as parochial or, well, weird. “We hope that people see it and fall in love with it,” she says.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios