Rockabilly tattoos give you the opportunity to make your love of 1950s rock and roll as a lifestyle choice. The iconography of rockabilly is classic, evoking the rebellion of a simpler America. Remember that getting a rockabilly tattoo is a life-long commitment, one that should not be entered into as lightly as buying a pair of creepers. Before you sit down in the artist's chair, consider your options carefully including both design and artist.
Rockabilly tattoos are largely defined by their iconography, but there is also a design esthetic. Most rockabilly tattoos are done either in the style of traditional or new school tattooing. This is largely a matter of personal preference; traditional tattoos will more resemble a rockabilly tattoo someone actually got in the 1950s. If authenticity is important to you, take this track.
You can have a rockabilly tattoo in a couple of different styles, but you can't have it without the associated imagery from this era. Any rockabilly iconography can be used in a tattoo or combined with other icons to evoke the imagery of your subculture, lifestyle and the bygone era for which you have an affinity.
- Flames: These are as at home on your arm as they are on a 1957 Chevrolet. Fewer tattoos are more associated with rockabilly than flames. Put flames around just about anything to give it more of a rockabilly flavor.
- Dice: Putting some dice in your tattoo allows you to represent rockabilly culture as well as lucky -- or unlucky -- numbers.
- Pin-Ups: Equally at home with women as they are with men, pin-ups evoke the beauty of women in the 1950s. These were also popular tattoos during the original rockabilly era of the 1950s.
- Cherries: Frequently sported by ladies, cherries are evocative of a gambler image and old Las Vegas. Match this tattoo with dresses and housewares.
- Spider webs: Often done on the elbow, a spider web may also act as the background of a tattoo. Be careful, as this is a tattoo that started out in prison and still has connotations of prison gangs.
- Playing Cards: Get a deck of playing cards tattooed on your body to evoke a gambler's spirit. Some people get the Dead Man's Hand or all aces; you may also choose to get the symbols of the various suits of playing cards rather than the cards themselves.
- Cadillac Logos: The Cadillac was one of the finest cars available in the 1950s and many devotees of rockabilly get tattoos of the company's logo.
- Swallows and Sparrows: These are rockabilly birds frequently seen on devotees of the rockabilly subculture. Swallows are common on men while sparrows are more common on women. Often these carry banners with the names of loved ones or with words with meaning to the wearer.
A Commitment for Life
Tattoos are forever. While rockabilly is a subculture for some, it is a lifestyle choice for others. If your home and car look like something out of the 1950s, take things to the next level by showing your commitment to the lifestyle on your skin. Further, you can seal a marriage with another devotee of the subculture by getting marriage tattoos. There are even shops that specialize in this type of tattoos. Whatever your reasons for getting a rockabilly tattoo, you will walk a little taller after you get your ink done.