Arabic tattoos
January 14, 2008 3:46 PM   Subscribe

Tattoo filter; My second tattoo question. I would like to get an Arabic themed sleeve on my arm. What sort of things can I look for inspiration. Any Arab art that might be a good start? My goal would be to show the artist pieces that I liked and have him draw his own interpretation of it. Any help is truly appreciated.
posted by boyinmiami to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I noticed most Arabic art is calligraphy. So maybe using that style to come up with a themed sleeve?
posted by boyinmiami at 3:47 PM on January 14, 2008

If I was going to get an Arabic-themed sleeve, I'd be thinking patterns, especially from ceramics and textiles, not text. To each their own, though.

If you show an artist pieces of 'calligraphy' that you like, and ask him to draw his own interpretation, there's a good chance you'll find yourself in explosive diarrhea.

Just for my own idle curiosity, do you identify particularly with Arabic culture for some reason? Is there any reason, besides that you think the writing looks nifty, that you want to get an Arabic tattoo?

(Also, there's a book about Arabic tattoos. It's not out yet, but that'll give you some time to learn more about the art.)
posted by box at 3:54 PM on January 14, 2008

Calligraphy is a good place to start. This recent inspirational post on modern Hebrew font design shows that these types of tattoo (which are becoming cliched) needn't all look the same.
posted by fire&wings at 4:01 PM on January 14, 2008

If you go with a pattern rather than calligraphy, here's a potential source of inspiration: Arabic Art in color and Islamic Designs in Color

Also, Islamic Designs for Craftspeople. They used to have tons of these types of books at my local library and I'd just copy the pages I liked (not sure about legal issues there, I was 15 or so at the time).
posted by desjardins at 4:03 PM on January 14, 2008

Along the lines of patterns, a potential source of inspiration could be the tilework at the Alhambra, in Spain. There are some beautiful patterns there, and the above link only shows some of them. You could Google for more, if you're interested.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 4:16 PM on January 14, 2008

I would look at decorative art in general - perhaps pieces such as bowls, silverwork/bronzework and ceramics. The geometric band designs on the diameter or handles might work well as a decorative element. There are also some frontispieces in quasi-Islamic style in books, as borders.

The thing with the calligraphy is that to get it to say anything other than one of the names of God or a sura, you'll likely have to find someone who will do it custom for you. Using writing - any calligraphic form, of which there are several in Arabic - also butts up against the dreaded kanji-smatter potential. I'd disrecommend it for that reason.

Browsing briefly brought me to this picture of Rumi's tomb: in it you can see standard calligraphy, some kufic work, geometric tiles, floral designs with lots of symmetry, repeating borders, and a landscape, as well as three-dimensional repeating art on the beams above the tomb. There's a lot of types of art, so you can definitely go in many related directions, all of which have that Arabic vibe to it.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:48 PM on January 14, 2008

Response by poster: I grew up in the middle east, to non Arabic parents, plus I think the art is bueatiful... Most of the art done by Arabic artist is Calligraphy, So if i would get that, it would have to be something that mean something. I would make sure to get it verified by an Arabic speaker.

I should have phrased the question better, was looking for patterns or art work done by Arabic artist.
posted by boyinmiami at 4:52 PM on January 14, 2008

I'm pretty sure Islam frowns on tattoos in any case, so I'd sort of wonder at what you're saying with that.
posted by fnerg at 6:14 PM on January 14, 2008

Many (but not all) Muslims consider tattoos to be against islamic law, so make sure that none of the artwork, in any way possible, looks like the word "Allah" or some other words of religious importance.
posted by iviken at 6:15 PM on January 14, 2008

Yeah, I'd frown on the Arabic writing anyway - it'd look too close to Quranic verses and would just get you more hateful looks than anything.
posted by divabat at 7:08 PM on January 14, 2008

it would have to be something that mean something.

Too easy to get it confused with an actual sura. I'll advise you to stay away lest you end up like this guy.
posted by divabat at 7:10 PM on January 14, 2008

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