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10 Impressive Tattoo Cover Ups

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Getty Images

While the stigma of tattoos has been largely eradicated by their popularity, the problem of unwanted tattoos remains a big issue. Those with tattoos they no longer want have a few options—lasering them off, trying “removal” creams that tend to only lighten the ink, or covering them with another tattoo. Here are some funny edits people have made to their unwanted tattoos through cover ups.

1. Wino Forever

Perhaps the most famous tattoo edit is Johnny Depp’s “Wino Forever” tattoo, which started out as “Winona Forever.”  He got the tattoo done in February 1990 by artist Mike Messina to celebrate his engagement to Winona Ryder. The engagement didn’t last, though, which left him with a bit of a dilemma. While he could have had the whole thing lasered off, he explained to GQ, “I think of my tattoos like a journal. To have it [the tattoo] removed, or erase it, is to try and say it never happened. If I alter it in some way, make it funny—put her next boyfriend’s name on top of it, say—it would still be honest.” Eventually, he combined a bit of laser removal and new ink to revise the tattoo into something he felt would be honest for the rest of his life.

2. The Death of Love

Covering up a portrait of an ex is particularly hard, but this shows that it is possible to do. When you turn your ex into Death, it certainly says a lot about how you currently feel about him or her.

I can’t find out more about this tattoo, such as who did the cover up or who it belongs to, but this is the earliest posting of the image I could find.

3. Now That’s True Love

What could possibly cover up an ex’s name better than an image of someone you will always love—for example, your loving, trusty pup, Egor. Cover up tattoo by Lisa of Crimson Heart Designs.

4. Don’t Do Names

Tattoo artist Andrew Sussman reminds everyone, “DON’T DO NAMES!!!!!!!...unless you want me to cover it up. then go right ahead!” If you do want your artist to have something fun to cover up though, by all means, get a name tattoo—that will eventually be replaced by an image of something you really love, like the ocean.

5. Dun-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Batman


The Dark Knight isn’t just great at fighting crime—his dark colors and friendly bat entourage make him a fantastic image for tattoo cover ups as well. Of course, it helps if you have a talented tattoo artist like DeviantArt user Remistattoo doing the cover up.

6. Luke, I Am Your Tattoo

Who knew geek icons made such great tattoo cover ups? Just like Batman, Darth Vader’s black shading makes him perfect for hiding unwanted tattoos of any color. This particular cover up is by DeviantArt user hellcatmolly.

7. A Gentleman And A Dinosaur

This cover up by Tim Pangburn was an internet sensation back in 2010, and with good reason. Not only was the original pretty terrible and the artwork on the cover up pretty great, but the fact that the design is a scholarly T. Rex makes the design destined for internet greatness.

8. Party Dog

Just because you have a “Party Dog” tattoo doesn't mean it has to look like something you were inspired to get after partying too long one night. This guy by Tim Pangburn is still a party dog, it’s just that now he has a little better taste. 

9. Spider to Spider

Sometimes a cover up is only necessary to hide the poor quality of a tattoo, but not the subject itself. In that area, it’s hard to beat this great spider tattoo cover up by DeviantArt user Pedi. The use of the original spider’s legs as shadows on the new design is particularly impressive.

10. Now That’s A Majestic Beast

It’s hard to tell if the original design was supposed to be a reindeer, a moose or a horse, but the cover up, by Deanna Wardin of Tattoo Boogaloo, does an amazing job at hiding the terrible tattoo that was there before and making something new and beautiful in its place.

I’ve wanted a cover up of the blurry, all black cat on my leg for years. I was told that it was too dark to cover up with anything but a big black square before, but maybe a Darth Vader would work. What about you guys—do you have any tattoos you want covered up, and if so, what do you want to cover them with?

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Tom Etherington, Penguin Press
The Covers of Jack Kerouac's Classic Titles Are Getting a Makeover
Tom Etherington, Penguin Press
Tom Etherington, Penguin Press

Readers have been enjoying classic Jack Kerouac books like The Dharma Bums and On the Road for decades, but starting this August the novels will have a new look. Several abstract covers have been unveiled as part of Penguin’s "Great Kerouac" series, according to design website It’s Nice That.

The vibrant covers, designed by Tom Etherington of Penguin Press, feature the works of abstract expressionist painter Franz Kline. The artwork is intended to capture “the experience of reading Kerouac” rather than illustrating a particular scene or character, Etherington told It’s Nice That. Indeed, abstract styles of artwork seem a fitting match for Kerouac’s “spontaneous prose”—a writing style that was influenced by improvisational jazz music.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of The Dharma Bums, which was published just one year after On the Road. The Great Kerouac series will be available for purchase on August 2.

[h/t It's Nice That]

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John MacDougall, Getty Images
Stolpersteine: One Artist's International Memorial to the Holocaust
John MacDougall, Getty Images
John MacDougall, Getty Images

The most startling memorial to victims of the Holocaust may also be the easiest to miss. Embedded in the sidewalks of more than 20 countries, more than 60,000 Stolpersteine—German for “stumbling stones”—mark the spots where victims last resided before they were forced to leave their homes. The modest, nearly 4-by-4-inch brass blocks, each the size of a single cobblestone, are planted outside the doorways of row houses, bakeries, and coffee houses. Each tells a simple yet chilling story: A person lived here. This is what happened to them.

Here lived Hugo Lippers
Born 1878
Arrested 11/9/1938 — Altstrelitzer prison
Deported 1942 Auschwitz
Murdered

The project is the brainchild of the German artist Gunter Demnig, who first had the idea in the early 1990s as he studied the Nazis' deportation of Sinti and Roma people. His first installations were guerrilla artwork: According to Reuters, Demnig laid his first 41 blocks in Berlin without official approval. The city, however, soon endorsed the idea and granted him permission to install more. Today, Berlin has more than 5000.

Demnig lays a Stolpersteine.
Artist Gunter Demnig lays a Stolpersteine outside a residence in Hamburg, Germany in 2012.
Patrick Lux, Getty Images

The Stolpersteine are unique in their individuality. Too often, the millions of Holocaust victims are spoken of as a nameless mass. And while the powerful memorials and museums in places such as Berlin and Washington, D.C. are an antidote to that, the Stolpersteine are special—they are decentralized, integrated into everyday life. You can walk down a sidewalk, look down, and suddenly find yourself standing where a person's life changed. History becomes unavoidably present.

That's because, unlike gravestones, the stumbling stones mark an important date between a person’s birth and death: the day that person was forced to abandon his or her home. As a result, not every stumbling stone is dedicated to a person who was murdered. Some plaques commemorate people who fled Europe and survived. Others honor people who were deported but managed to escape. The plaques aim to memorialize the moment a person’s life was irrevocably changed—no matter how it ended.

The ordinariness of the surrounding landscape—a buzzing cafe, a quaint bookstore, a tree-lined street—only heightens that effect. As David Crew writes for Not Even Past, “[Demnig] thought the stones would encourage ordinary citizens to realize that Nazi persecution and terror had begun on their very doorsteps."

A man in a shop holding a hammer making a Stolpersteine.
Artisan Michael Friedrichs-Friedlaender hammers inscriptions into the brass plaques at the Stolpersteine manufacturing studio in Berlin.
Sean Gallup, Getty Images

While Demnig installs every single Stolpersteine himself, he does not work alone. His project, which stretches from Germany to Brazil, relies on the research of hundreds of outside volunteers. Their efforts have not only helped Demnig create a striking memorial, but have also helped historians better document the lives of individuals who will never be forgotten.

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