We’re not going to detail each horror and depressing thing from 2020, because you’ve lived it after all. However, it’s undeniable that this past year was unlike any of memory and many people have strong feelings about it. A time not tethered to normalcy has inspired people to design tattoos to help them make sense of what’s going on around them and to create art from their understanding of the world.
2020 tattoos show a myriad of emotions from despair to hope. While most of these tattoos skew morbid, many of them still are very interesting to look at and think about. We’re still in a tunnel but there’s a light at it now that multiple vaccines (thanks, Dolly Parton!) are beginning to roll out. Let’s take a look at some tattoos that are emblematic of this very strange year.
Not Going Great
The most common design we came across was a dumpster fire. It’s the perfect visual metaphor for this unhinged year.
Seeing a Trend?
There’s no one right way to showcase burning trash, so feel free to take this concept and run with it. Add some flowers, throw on a banner, the world’s your oyster.
Be Cute About It
You can even lean into a kawaii design that makes that smoldering waste look like a cute little creation. New rule: all dumpsters in the USA need to be painted pink. It would just be better!
If a Meme Were a Year
Another very popular tattoo for 2020 was the meme tattoo. We suppose the burning dumpster could fall into that category as well, but this design leaves little ambiguity about what it’s based on. The little dog from the “this is fine” meme is all of us.
Whole Bunch of Fire
Fire is a potent symbol that we found a good deal of in these plague-inspired designs. While none explicitly mentioned the insane wildfires we experienced earlier this year, we don’t think it’s a coincidence.
Through it all, people have done their very best to remain positive. Although we found fewer of these inspirational quote tattoos than we expected, it was still nice to be reminded that hope still exists.
But, It’s Like This
We told you some of these tattoos get rather morbid and we were not joking! Here, we find the Morton Salt girl has been replaced by a Grim Reaper. A mood.
Thankful for Our Plague Doctors
We saw several of these plague doctor tattoos that are the perfect tribute to this moment and to the doctors and nurses who are moving heaven and earth to save as many of us as possible.
Here’s another doctor this one adorned with flowers and surrounded by an ornate gold frame. This is extremely tidy work with tons of tiny details. Bravo!
They’ve Helped Keep Us Safe
The 3D tattoo is one of the hottest trends of the year. We’ve seen more people in medical gloves this year than we’d like. But, this tattoo is a welcome addition.
We’ve Picked Up New Habits
2020 found many of us wearing a face mask in public for the first time. Most of the country has embraced them as a way to keep others safe. Will the face mask be the most emblematic part of this year? Only time will tell.
And Perfected Old Ones
We were already in the habit of good hand hygiene but this year put most people over the top. We’re all now expert hand washers and soap is our best friend. This cute bubbly tattoo proves it.
She’s a lady! 2020 as a lady is an interesting prospect that we saw a few times. Here, we find a mask emblazoned with the year just to make sure that we get it.
Year in Review
Here’s another Lady 2020 and there’s a lot to unpack with this design. We think most of it is pretty straightforward, but we’d like to know why the hand sanitizer is encased in 24 karat gold? Did we miss something?
All of Us, Really
“Cutting out the toxicity and conquering the world in 2020!” the person who shared this tattoo wrote. “You can overcome anything!” Okay!
We’re All In It Together
Here’s another tattoo that tells a global story. We find a personified Earth wearing a face mask. This cute little micro tattoo is all it takes to express your feelings.
Even Though We Feel Like This
We don’t fully understand what’s going on here, but we did like the use of a roll of toilet paper to create a banner. #StaySafe has been the name of the game since March.
This battered but not completely broken skeleton wants you to know that it’s doing just fine. This is such a funny design that feels so right for the moment.
We will all be very happy to put 2020 behind us, no doubt. This perfect little tombstone with “Ugh 2020” engraved in it is a vibe we can all get behind.
Social distancing has not done wonders for any one’s social life. RIP to all the gatherings we had to forgo to keep each other alive.
Sorry, Not Sorry
If you’ll recall, things weren’t feeling all too normal before the pandemic crashed down on us. What started out as fine quickly evolved into something even worse and it snowballed down hill ever since then.
All Leads Back to You
Bats are known to be carriers of coronavirus. It’s believed that the source of the pandemic can be traced to one of Wuhan’s open-air “wet markets.” Thus, we found a number of bat tattoos as the right choice for some 2020 tributes.
We Will Carry On
A skeleton carrying a disinfecting spray gun seems right. We love the very bright and colorful inks chosen for this design. We’d never seen the streets sprayed with virus-killing chemicals until this very year. A year of many firsts!
We’ve Got Hope in Our Hearts
Although we joke, we really are hopeful for the future. So many have sacrificed so much to get us to this point. Keep the love for your neighbors in your heart. We’re nearing the end of this.
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We’re Almost Over the Finish Line
Although 2020 has not officially ended, people are getting ahead of the trend by going ahead with their “I survived 2020” tattoos. Expect to see a ton of these soon. We’ve almost kicked this thing’s butt, folks!
There you go! 2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year and is inspiring many to think back on it and get a tattoo to manifest their feelings about it. We hope you enjoyed this list and learning about the types of tattoos our plague year has inspired.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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