Here’s something you don’t see every day: a tattoo depicting Alice reaching for a book from an enormous stack of books. The visual pun here: the stack of book spines traces the actual spine of the tattoo wearer. Very clever! But talk about suffering for your art. To view the tattoo (it’s on a young woman’s back), click me.
The Publisher’s Weekly blog PWxyz ranked The 5 Books that Inspire the Most Tattoos, finding Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in the top 5. Their online research seems to be thorough, even if the methods aren’t scientific: “We spent an untold number of hours combing the Internet’s two most extensive literary tattoo sites: Contrariwise: Literary Tattoos and The Word Made Flesh, then cross-checking the most frequently occurring tattoos with Google searches and Google image searches, all to get to the bottom of what books inspire the most tattoos and why.” Lewis Carroll’s book was beat out only by… Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, only because of the popularity of the phrase “So it goes.” So it goes.
2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Evidence: hip “Who in the world am I”, twinkle twinkle feet,shoulder caterpillar, hip “take care”, ankle cheshire, back nonsense,leg dodo, forearm “we’re all mad here”, shoulder cheshire, feet rabbit and hatter.
Alice has inspired the most varied collection of tattoos of any book. Its wide cast of characters, quotes and images are all represented: the Cheshire Cat, the Dodo, the White Rabbit, and the Caterpillar all have fans out there. Out of the quotes, “We’re all mad here” was the most commonly occurring. Credit Alice‘s popularity among the tattooed to the fully-realized world Carroll created, and for tone specific to its story. More than any other book on this list, you’d be likely to get an Alice tattoo because it simply looks great and is hyper-intricate. Tim, who has an image of the Cheshire Cat on his shoulder blade, said on Contrariwise: “The Cheshire Cat is the only creature in Wonderland who uses logic. Though his words often seem mocking and bizarre, his process is always logical. To me the Cheshire Cat symbolizes the fragility of the border between genius and insanity.”
The Facebook page Alice in Wonderland Inspired Photography, Movies, and Art has an epic Wall Photos gallery. I was perusing it the other day, and saw these three ornate tattoos.
"Another outrageous tattoo, these fans are dedicated! (from www.tattoootto.com)"
"One of the best Alice tattoos I have seen so far "
Tattoo by Holly Azzara
So… how much do you really love Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland”? Enough to get the entire movie tattooed on your body? Alice-themed tattoos are fairly common but few individuals have taken it as far as this client of Medway, MA tattoo artist Holly Azzara. Not content with a playing card or two, she wanted it all, Alice, the Mad Tea-Party, the Garden of Live Flowers, the Cheshire Cat—everything.
I would come to Holly and say “I think this would be awesome” and then two weeks later she would have it drawn up. She knew how important it was to me to have the characters look exactly like they did in the movie and she was very dedicated to my vision. I had the thickest reference folder in her filing cabinet with picture after picture of characters in the movie.
More images of the tattoo and an account of its year-long creation can be found on Holly’s blog. Holly has also created a huge back tattoo of Tenniel’s drawing of Alice and the Cheshire Cat. Apparently it was the client’s first tattoo!
Tattoo by Holly Azzara