Eye Tattoos: What Do You See?

Eye Tattoos: What Do They Reveal?

“The eyes are the window to the soul.”

Eye tattoo from schmutz.fink
Artist: Alexandra Fink

 

Okay, maybe that’s a little cliche but it does still hold some truth!

Eyes have fascinated people for centuries. From modern art that uses eyes to symbolize everything from beauty to being watched by Fred from the FBI, to the ancient Egyptians who represented the sun god Ra with a black, heavily-lined eye – they eyes can hold a myriad of meanings in art.

Which is quite fitting, if you really think about it. After all, the eyes often communicate far more than words do!

So how about we take a look at some awesome eye tattoo designs and see what these tattoos mean?

 

Have a design in mind? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment today!

 

Eye Tattoos: Popular Designs and Meanings

1. Religious Eye Tattoos

Arguably one of the most popular eye tattoo designs, the third eye has been a popular symbol across religions, spiritual groups – and even cults! – for a long time.

Getting a third eye tattoo on the hand is quite popular, but what does this design really mean?

Illuminati eye tattoo from raphafons
Artist: Rapha Lopes

 

In spirituality, the third eye refers to clairvoyance, or the ability to see beyond the physical realm and into the spirit world. The third eye is also thought to bestow the power to see beyond the illusion of reality and foretell the future.

The most common tattoo design featuring the third eye is one where it is enclosed within a triangle.

Illuminati eye tattoo from raphafons
Artist: Rapha Lopes

 

Interestingly, this design , especially when it includes the rays of the sun is also associated with Christianity, where it is know by a variety of names including The All-Seeing Eye of God and The Eye of Providence. As the names imply, it is thought to represent god’s protection and watchful eye, but it has the added meaning of trinity, represented by the triangle.

Illuminati eye tattoo from Lizards Skin Tattoos
Artist: Niloy Das

 

The triangle eye design is also very popularly associated with another group – the infamous Illuminati. Though in modern times it tends to refer to a most likely fictional organization that wields an excessive amount of power allowing them to orchestrate world events, historically, the Illuminati were a group of free thinkers who opposed religious influence over public life and state law. They were eventually outlawed due to pressure from the Catholic church.

This gorgeous sketch-style eye tattoo seems to perfectly capture the chaotic associations the triangle eye design has in the modern world!

Eye tattoo by Rodrigo Assi
Artist: Rodrigo Assi

 

Another popular religious eye tattoo is the ‘evil eye‘ which, contrary to its name, is meant to ward off evil.

Eye tattoo by Rodrigo Assi
Artist: Rodrigo Assi

 

Though the original design is quite intricate, modern evil eye tattoo designs tend to be far more simple and subtle.

Small eye tattoo by Zaya
Artist: Zaya

 

Evil eye tattoos are generally placed on the wrist, though some also place their evil eye tattoo on other body parts, such as the back of the neck and even the chest.

Evil eye tattoo from snip_art
Artist: Robbin Snip Art

 

The third eye and evil eye also feature in various other tattoo designs, including the Hamsa and mandala designs.

Hamsa eye tattoo by Rodrigo Assi
Artist: Rodrigo Assi

 

They are also, however, often used on their own in ornamental pieces.

Eye tattoo from snip_art
Artist: Robbin Snip Art

 

Whether you believe in its religious and spiritual meanings of protection and prediction or not, the eye itself can symbolize a variety of things including vision, focus, thought, and intuition.

Eye tattoo from mcapocci
Artist: Marcelo Gallucci

 

That makes ornamental eye tattoos meaningful all on their own!

 

Want more religious and spiritual tattoo ideas? Check out Religious Tattoos

 

2. Tiger Eyes

Tiger eye tattoos, especially on the forearm, are a staple in the tattoo community. They’re fierce yet poetic in their own way, but they also have deep symbolism – a tiger’s eyes are used to represent the human will to survive.

Tiger eye tattoo from Emerald Tattoo
Artist: Nick

 

While they generally represent focus, patience, and one’s primal instinct, a tiger’s eyes are also thought to symbolize the ability to make decisions based on sound, unclouded judgement and without the interference of fear and anxiety.

 

Want more tiger tattoo design ideas? Visit Tiger Tattoos and their Meanings.

 

3. The Eye of Ra

Also called ‘The Eye of Horus’, this ancient Egyptian design is a dedication to the sun god Ra. It symbolizes protection and royalty.

Ra back eye tattoo from mcapocci
Artist: Marcelo Gallucci

 

Eye of Ra tattoos work beautifully in combination with other designs, such as this one featuring a cross, the triangle – and even a lightning bolt! Whether you associate that with the gods or with Harry Potter is entirely up to you!

Ra eye tattoo by Rodrigo Assi
Artist: Rodrigo Assi

 

This Eye of Ra tattoo features the Svefnthorn, an ancient Nordic symbol that is most commonly associated with putting one’s enemies into a deep sleep that they may never awaken from. Together, these symbols form quite a powerful talisman!

Nordic Ra eye tattoo by Rodrigo Assi
Artist: Rodrigo Assi

 

Find more Nordic tattoo inspiration at Tattoos of Europe: Norse Mythology and Symbolism

 

4. Realistic Eyes

We can’t talk eye tattoos and not bring up realism!

Realism has taken on a whole new life with modern tattooing. 3D tattoos are all the rage now – and 3D eye tattoos are right up there on the top of that list!

We absolutely ADORE this hyperrealistic green and blue eye tattoo!

Eye tattoo from thebakery
Artist: Jordan Baker

 

If colour isn’t really your thing though, classic blackwork can always do the trick!

Eye tattoo from tattooist_yeono
Artist: Tattooist Yeono

 

5. Gatsby Eyes

Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ has influenced a great many things. One important symbol it gave us are T. J. Eckleburg’s eyes, a symbol that has gone on to become extremely popular as a tattoo.

While many versions of it exist, we’re particularly partial to this Gatsby Eyes tattoo design – a dark art tattoo that captures the silent, crushing death of the American Dream that is an important theme in the novel.

Gatsby eye tattoo from _miserymachine
Artist: Steven Carrera

 

6. Crying Eye

Most people assume a crying eye tattoo, or tear tattoos in general imply the wearer has served time in prison, most likely for murder. Some also relate this symbol to gang membership.

Eye tattoo from snip_art
Artist: Robbin Snip Art

 

In reality, this tattoo more often than not relates to loss, usually of a very near and dear loved one.

This black crying heart tattoo is pretty gut-wrenching, even without the context! But for context, this piece is title ‘Love Hurts‘.

Heart eye tattoo from heksa.handpoke
Artist: Heksa Handpoke

 

Visit Heart Tattoos: Say it With Love for more heart tattoo ideas!

 

7. Flaming Heart Eye Tattoo

A flaming heart tattoo is generally thought to represent a love so intense, it sets the heart ablaze. When combined with an eye, it can represent foresight – or a lack thereof – when it comes to such an intense love.

And when combined with a crying eye, it can represent the loss of a great love.

This flaming heart design draws on the sacred heart, a reference to Jesus Christ.

Sacred heart eye tattoo from snip_art
Artist: Robbin Snip Art

 

Visit Heart Tattoos: Say it With Love for more heart tattoo ideas!

 

8. Pop-culture Eye Tattoos

The fascination we have with eyes has extended into art, film, TV, and music. These peculiar windows that reveal so much more about us than even we know have time and again been used to express what even words often cannot.

Cheshire Cat Eye Tattoo

The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, quirky and prone to leaving both Alice and readers puzzled, is one of the most popular characters that finds a place in ink. While its smile is the symbol usually associated with the Cheshire Cat, its eyes are an equally popular symbol – after all, the Cheshire Cat enters and exits with nothing but its eyes and a grin most times!

A Cheshire Cat eye tattoo might be simply a tribute to your favourite novel or animated movie – or it could be a riddle and joke that only you know the punchline to!

Cheshire cat eye tattoo by Ilgin Ozdogan
Artist: Ilgin Ozdogan

 

Mike Wazowski Eye Tattoo

Cyclops eye tattoos are a pretty interesting design – the cyclopes are thought to be beings of great strength, and their single eye represents seeing things through only one perspective.

Mike from Monster’s Inc. starts out just like that – unable to see things from a different perspective. He eventually learns that there’s more to life than what he knows, and grows beyond his preconceived notions.
Monsters Inc. Mike eye tattoo from thebakery
Artist: Jordan Baker

 

Kirin Tor Eye Tattoo

If you’re a World fo Warcraft player, you’ll appreciate this one!

The Kirin Tor, with some of the most powerful wizards in the world, was once a secret order that now stands as one of the leading factions in the fight against threats to Azeroth.

Their banner features a purple eye in a tribal design, which makes for a great new school tribal eye tattoo!

Kirin Tor eye tattoo fr0m puff_channel
Studio: Puff Channel

 

Art-Inspired Eye Tattoos

The eyes have also inspired artists throughout time, and their art has gone on to inspire tattoo artists as well!

This gorgeous circle tattoo is inspired by the artist and sculptor Fornasetti’s infamous plate series, which were a collection of illustrations he made inspired by the face of dancer Lina Cavalieri. Her eyes were a big part of her ‘classic beauty’ that made people like Fornasetti consider her their muse.

Fornasetti eye tattoo by Tattooist Yeono
Artist: Tattooist Yeono

Another popular art-inspired design is the use of early statues and sculptures, usually in their broken form, which lends a magical and nostalgic tone to any tattoo. Pairing that with the third eye makes for quite a mystical piece of art!

Eye tattoo from snip_art
Artist: Robbin Snip Art

 

The Pale Man Eye Tattoo

Pan’s Labyrinth was a classic horror film in many ways, and the Pale Man – though only present for one scene – has cemented his place as an antagonist that will be remembered for a long time!

If you haven’t seen the movie – spoiler alert!

The Pale Man is a character said to lure children to his lair before eating them alive, usually keeping their clothes as trophies before he paints the horror of his actions onto the walls of his cave. His appearance is pale – and his eyeballs are in the palms of his hands.

Eye tattoo from _miserymachine
Artist: Steven Carrera

 

Liking these horror tats? We’ve got some more for you – right in time for the spooky season! Read on!

 

9. Creepy Eye Tattoos

Halloween is the perfect time for some horror eye tattoos! But be warned – if being creeped out isn’t your genre, this might be a scary ride!

 

Ready to get inked? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment today!

 

The third eye tattoo gets a horror revamp with this third eye man tattoo! If Count Dracula had the gift of prediction…

Third eye tattoo from puff_channel
Studio: Puff Channel

 

Rick Griffin’s ‘Flying Eyeball‘ poster gained a cult following since it came out in the 60s, and has since become one of the most recognizable identifiers for the psychedelic era of Acid Rock. It has also inspired numerous eye tattoos, such as this stunning calf tattoo.

Eye tattoo from oddhouse
Artist: Alexander Oddhouse

 

Abstract eye tattoos are also extremely popular. This shoulder eye tattoo is as artistic as it is creepy – and we can’t help but love it!

Eye tattoo from jvtattoo
Artist: Victor Martins

 

Eyes have long been used to represent the creepy feeling that we’re all being watched – a notion that became more popular with the invention of the TV and eventually the computer.

Eye tattoo from _miserymachine
Artist: Steven Carrera

 

Horror tattoos aren’t just for clients – we love this creepy eye tattoo done by artist Steven Carrera on his own arm!

Eye tattoo from _miserymachine
Artist: Steven Carrera

 

Another popular Halloween tattoo is zombies and everything about them – including their eyes!

Zombie eye tattoo from thebakery
Artist: Jordan Baker

 

Follow us for more Halloween tattoo inspiration!

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10.Quirky Eye Tattoos

If you like the idea behind horror tattoos but aren’t quite a fan of the genre, you could try the same design in a classic or new school style – it’s just as beautiful!

Eye tattii from puff_channel
Studio: Puff Channel

 

You could also switch out some parts of the design, such as a camera instead of a computer.

Eye tattoo from _miserymachine
Artist: Steven Carrera

 

11. Meaningful Eye Tattoos

Eye tattoos can have a range of meanings – as we’ve already seen! But they can also be unique and have personal meaning for the wearer.

This handpoked sternum eye tattoo featuring the idea of duality is an absolute beauty. A great choice for Geminis!

Eye tattoo from heksa.handpoke
Artist: Heksa Handpoke

You can get pretty creative with personal meaning tattoos, combining different designs to make something unique. This arm eye tattoo features references to the third eye placed above a gazelle, an animal symbolizing agility, alertness, and consciousness.

Eye tattoo by Rodrigo Assi
Artist: Rodrigo Assi

 

12. Filler Tattoos

Fillers are a way to fill in the spaces in a larger tattoo, and they’re usually done in sleeves.

Eye tattoo from snip_art
Artist: Robbin Snip Art

While filler tattoos are mostly taken straight from flash designs, you can just as easily incorporate third eyes and crying eyes as fillers into tattoos – they look great on their own and can blend pretty well into the rest of your ink!

Filler eye tattoo from snip_art
Artist: Robbin Snip Art

 

You can also, however, get something quirky – or even creepy! – as a filler tattoo. You’re really only limited by your imagination.

And possibly your stomach for gore.

Eye brain tattoo from oddhouse
Artist: Alexander Oddhouse

 

Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment and get inked today!

 

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Looking for more tattoo inspiration? Browse our site!

 

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© Jhaiho Pvt Ltd, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jhaiho and jhaiho.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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