Star Wars Tattoos Part I

The Rise of Baby Yoda

As everyone’s favourite three apples tall green little outer galactic infant has returned to a streaming screen  near you, we thought we would honour Baby Yoda, hmm, we mean the Mandalorian, by taking a look at the symbolism of the Star Wars saga, and the body art it has inspired. As a side note, we pass no judgment on episode VII to IX here (or on I to III either for that matter). Although tempting, that is not the task of this post. 

Seldom has a new character introduced into a legacy universe been as adored – or meme-worthy – as Baby Yoda. Or, the Child, as he is officially known. Besides, the events take place after Return of the Jedi, so it could not possibly be the actual Yoda. Trundling along after his babysitter/bountyhunter Mando across the universe, wielding some serious Force connection and next-level cuteness, he has made his way into nerd hearts and onto their skins. But the subgenre of Star Wars tattoos has been around for much longer than the premiere of The Mandalorian on Disney+ last year. And so have the artists that specialise in them, some of whom we take a look at here.

US-based Josh Bodwell specialises in Star Wars pieces

Josh Bodwell, Pennsylvania

Some tattoo artists are more specialised in characters from George Lucas’ sci-fi saga than others. Even before the release of Episode VII, The Force Awakens, Pennsylvania-based Josh Bodwell estimated he had tattooed over 200 Star Wars-themed pieces of body art, including spectacular portraits of Darth Maul and full collector’s sleeves with Boba Fett, Darth Vader and Yoda. Bodwell travels around the Star Wars convention circuit (well, under normal circumstances), bringing his art straight to the fans. 

Saga Anderson, Calgary

Another artist specialising in larger Star Wars pieces is the aptly named Saga Anderson. Based out of Calgary in Canada, he says that Rouge One has sailed up as his new favourite film, with the end scene his favourite Star Wars moment. (In fact, we couldn’t agree more.) His pieces are otherworldly and exploding with hypnotising colour work. It covers classic iconography such as Storm Troopers, and newcomer fan favourites like BB-8. He also says the secret to making a great Star Wars tattoo is that you really need to have a love for the franchise. 

Needles, New York

In New York, an artist known as Needles has been tattooing for 28 years. As he has been a dedicated Star Wars nerd since he was five and first saw A New Hope, it came naturally to focus on characters and scenes from the films. Drawing inspiration from the concept and poster art of the actual movies, he learned how to illustrate and took that visual storytelling with him into tattooing. He also has a license from Lucasfilm to tattoo at the Star Wars celebration events, and has inked fans in the hundreds over the years.

Vivid’s own team

Stormtrooper Star Wars tattoosAnd of course, Vivid Ink has an abundance of amazing artists that could make your dreams of a Galaxy far far away come true. At least in ink-form. Like this epic Stormtrooper by Ceco from the Hagley Road studio.

While things may have gone somewhat awry lately and epic opportunities for the Skywalker saga were lost (oh, there we went casting judgment, couldn’t help it), the cultural legacy of Star Wars remains undeniable. And it has made for some spectacular body art.

Come back around for the next instalment when we explore its symbolism that has transferred so well into tattooing in more detail. We also take a look at what roles tattoos themselves play in the Lucas universe.