Denise Kreb
Denise Kreb

14 Magnificent Map Tattoos

Denise Kreb
Denise Kreb

These days, most people rely on GPS to get them from point A to point B, but there are those who still have a soft spot for good old fashioned maps. Here are some people who love cartography so much they got maps permanently inked into their skin.

1. The Traveler

Bill Passman is a world traveler who keeps track of his adventures with this massive back tattoo. Every time he visits a new country, he gets it shaded in. Based on his progress so far, it looks like Passman very well may be able to fill in his whole map within the next few years. The outlines were done by Mike at Tattoo Antigua in Antigua, Guatemala, and the colors were filled in by Natural Mystic Tattoo in Pineville, Louisiana.

2. Unraveling Earth's Mysteries

The stretched and squished proportions make this map completely unique and entirely beautiful, especially when viewed in full—the map explodes from an unraveled string of DNA. This lovely work was photographed by DeviantArtist ComaBlue.

3. The Weight of the World on His Shoulders

He may not have the whole world in his hands, but he's got it stretched across his back. No word on who did this tattoo, but the photographer and model are both Oliver Joe McLaughlin.

4. Worlds And Worlds

Photographer Denise Kreb's friend Maria has a lovely map tattoo on her back, which looks particularly impressive in front of a full-color world map.

5. Colors of the City

Deanna Wardin tattooed this beautiful watercolor version of a map of San Francisco on one lucky local's arm.

6. Beguiling Belgrade

This striking tattoo truly looks like a piece of abstract art. It was done by the Dark Arts Collective of Serbia.

7. Rounded Out

These beautiful stereographic hemispheres, complete with their own sea monsters, were tattooed by Adam Bomb of Milwaukee.

8. Traveling Lily

Compass alstroemeria doesn't have quite the same ring to it as a compass rose, but artist Alexander Lincoln Wolff's tattoo of a compass and a Peruvian Lily on a burnt map shows that any flower will work well as a navigational tool.

9. Surfing the World

Photographer Alan Light captured this fantastic photo of a surfer in Waikiki with a world map tattooed across his back. I have no information on the surfer or who did his work, but the photo is certainly impressive—it perfectly captures that surfer dream of catching the biggest waves across the globe.

10. National Pride

This break dancer has a map of the Philippines tattooed across his back, which is regularly on display during competitions. Like the surfer, there's no information on who he is or who did the work, but the photo was taken by DeviantArtist Schizoasylum.

11. Brazilian Beauty

Northeast Brazil is obviously home to this proud tattooee. Artist Alex Fontes of Arsenal Tattoo did a magnificent job capturing the terrain of Brazil in this impressive piece.

12. Kicking It Old School

This gal is obviously a fan of the classics—though she's obviously not into stuff that's too old or she would have left off the New World altogether. This wonderful map was inked by Karrie Lynne Whitfield.

13. Something Old and Something New

This tattoo by DeviantArtist Strangeris has the burned, frayed look of many classic maps, but the land masses look like they've been removed from the picture, giving the work an all new and intriguing look of its own.

14. Tools of the Trade

Paper maps, globes, and compasses were once all you could use to navigate the brave seas. Andrew Mitchell's cool navigation tattoo reminds us of the majesty of travel pre-GPS.

University of York
Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
UK Archaeologists Have Found One of the World’s Oldest 'Crayons'
University of York
University of York

A prehistoric chunk of pigment found near an ancient lake in England may be one of the world's oldest crayons, Colossal reports. The small object made of red ochre was discovered during an archaeological excavation near Lake Flixton, a prehistoric lake that has since become a peat wetland but was once occupied by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. Though it’s hard to date the crayon itself, it was found in a layer of earth dating back to the 7th millennium BCE, according to a recent study by University of York archaeologists.

Measuring less than an inch long, the piece of pigment is sharpened at one end, and its shape indicates that it was modified by a person and used extensively as a tool, not shaped by nature. The piece "looks exactly like a crayon," study author Andy Needham of the University of York said in a press release.

A pebble of red ochre thought to be a prehistoric crayon
University of York

The fine grooves and striations on the crayon suggest that it was used as a drawing tool, and indicate that it might have been rubbed against a granular surface (like a rock). Other research has found that ochre was collected and used widely by prehistoric hunter-gatherers like the ones who lived near Lake Flixton, bolstering the theory that it was used as a tool.

The researchers also found another, pebble-shaped fragment of red ochre at a nearby site, which was scraped so heavily that it became concave, indicating that it might have been used to extract the pigment as a red powder.

"The pebble and crayon were located in an area already rich in art," Needham said. "It is possible there could have been an artistic use for these objects, perhaps for coloring animal skins or for use in decorative artwork."

[h/t Colossal]

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Tour the National Museum of Scotland From Home With Google Street View
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Google's Street View technology can be used to view some amazing art, whether it's behind the walls of the Palace of Versailles in France or the Guggenheim Museum in New York. As the BBC reports, the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh is the latest institution to receive the virtual treatment.

The museum contains items tracing the history of the world and humanity. In the Natural World galleries, visitors will find a hulking Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and a panorama of wildlife. In the World Cultures galleries, there are centuries' worth of art and innovation to see. The museum's permanent galleries and the 20,000 objects on display can all be viewed from home thanks to the new online experience.

Users can navigate the virtual museum as they would a regular location on Street View. Just click the area you wish to explore and drag your cursor for full 365-degree views. If there's a particular piece that catches your interest, you may be able to learn more about it from Google Arts & Culture. The site has added 1000 items from the National Museum of Scotland to its database, complete with high-resolution photos and detailed descriptions.

The Street View tour is a convenient option for art lovers outside the UK, but the museum is also worth visiting in person: Like its virtual counterpart, admission to the institution is free.

[h/t BBC]


More from mental floss studios