Fluid Ink – Tattoo Ideas, Artists and Designs


No matter who you are or where you’re from, every tattooed person has been asked the same question: “You know these tattoos are permanent, right?” Chances are this question has never been answered by anything other than a roll of the eyes and a sigh of exasperation, but there’s some merit in digging into the idea of ​​tattoos a little bit more and permanence. A tattoo is harder to get rid of than a bad haircut or even a poorly thought out piercing, but as collector Bee Vanian would say, tattoos are part of an ongoing and changing life story.

“I don’t regret getting my face tattoo at all, for me it’s a journey,” says Vanian. “I was able to experience life with my tattooed face and now I’m taking them off because I’m on a different path in my life. I’m going through a metamorphosis and even though these tattoos bother me bring joy, sometimes they make me think of really hard times when I wasn’t a very happy person and I don’t feel that way anymore.

Vanian’s tattoo journey started at age 21 and almost immediately after getting their first piece, they started moving towards large scale designs with heavy black work. This decision was not only informed by their love of style, but as a way to regain autonomy over their own bodies.

“When I was 15, I had met someone I thought I was going to be with for the rest of my life,” Vanian says. “It turned into a hugely abusive relationship and they abused me from 15 to 21 years old. It took me up to 21 years to finally leave the situation and it almost cost me my life. This person had told me that I would never be anything, that no one would want me as a friend and that no one would ever find me beautiful or attractive. They said I wasn’t going anywhere and I was going to die. But then that’s when I started getting tattoos.

After leaving that relationship, Vanian spent the next few years learning to love himself. During this time, getting tattoos became a way to heal from years of trauma they had suffered. “I wanted to be covered from the neck down, because for me it’s almost like a security blanket,” says Vanian. “I guess you could say it was something to hide behind and I felt safe in my little cocoon. [Getting tattooed] gave me confidence and I kept getting them little by little.

Photos by Ilee World

As their collection grew, Vanian began to make bolder and bolder tattoo choices. First came blackwork, which Vanian embraced on his arms, legs, and torso. Once they had those basics covered, they felt ready to move on to face tattoos. “My first facial tattoos were the clown dots under my eyes,” says Vanian. “At the time, I felt like a sad clown. I was someone who wanted to be perceived as happy, even if I was dying inside. But, I don’t feel like that now. I feel more like a cheerful, goofy clown.

Over the past few years, Vanian has undergone a major change, both inside and out. They had struggled for years to connect with their bodies and getting tattoos was a way to slowly but surely come to terms with their identity. But tattoos couldn’t do much. Through self-discovery, Vanian realized that they were gender fluid and that many of those insecurities they had felt about their bodies were the result of gender dysphoria. “Before I had surgery, I was a very miserable person,” says Vanian. “I was trying to do my best, but I didn’t feel like I was living honestly with myself. Once I had surgery, I started noticing changes in me spiritually, internally, and emotionally. My life has been crazy and I’ve lived so many different lives, but I feel like my metamorphosis has led me to become that endgame person.

The surgery put everything into perspective for Vanian, making them feel free for the first time. It changed virtually every aspect of their lives, including getting a tattoo. For years, Vanian used tattoos to cover up and hide how they felt about the world. Now, Vanian is proudly showcasing her new chest piece to an audience of millions on TikTok.

“I had no idea I was going to explode on this app,” Vanian says. “I felt like if I showed my chest, maybe other people who felt the same way would feel less alone. I have a lot of gratitude because I learned a kind of system of support with the people I met on TikTok.

Vanian has a new breath of life. They no longer hide who they are, but show it proudly, with their heads held high and their torsos bulging. It took years to get to this point and along the way they removed tattoos that no longer served them and added new pieces to their collection. Luckily for Vanian, they have the rest of their lives to continue figuring it out.


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