are you stuck trying to decide what to tattoo because you’re searching for the perfect subject?
don’t stress yourself out, the subject might not be the most important thing, think about the context, and everything else will follow naturally ^_^

in today’s article, I want to talk to you about the importance of context when we’re working on designing a tattoo

context is everything
context literally changes everything

like day and night in a midsummer night’s garden: nothing changes about what’s there except the context, the light or its absence, and everything changes its appearance, meaning, emotions, and purpose

to show you how everything can change by changing the context, I will tell you the story of 12 paintings I created: my zodiac signs


I started studying the zodiac signs 2 years ago just with the intention of drawing them
I need to understand things to draw them
and when I understand them, I understand what’s beneath them, I understand the emotions inside, and the result is that I can no longer draw the standard little things we all immediately think of
I can’t draw an Aries, a Leo, a Taurus, fish, an amphora, and a scorpion just because that’s what everyone has in mind when they think of the zodiac signs


I studied the archaic psychology said to be associated with each zodiac sign, which defines a character trait
I immersed myself in what could be the feelings of someone living with those character traits and then found my way to represent them

all 12, all alike and yet different


you know, there’s a particular philosophy related to ancient Greece that describes the zodiac signs as the hero’s journey:
12 stages, 12 challenges, 12 goals, 12 different ways to dream of a better world, 12 different characters trying to achieve it, and 12 different obstacles to overcome

the hero’s journey of the zodiac signs: this philosophy inspired my drawings

so I imagined my hero as a little bird, cute, plump, and cheeky
and the hero is always the same in all 12 paintings, only the context changes, changing the story, life, loves, problems, dreams, passions

like us humans: seemingly all the same, yet each of us lives in a different context

so let’s start
let’s start with Aries and continue in order with Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Virgo, Leo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and finally Pisces


let’s start with Aries
the first sign of the zodiac is the symbol of primordial fire, the origin of everything, and Aries is dominated by this impetuous, brilliant, charismatic, explosive, and stubborn creative impulse, determined to ignite everything, from tender and easy straw, to difficult, young, fresh, and green wood: contagious, stubborn, and…




the impetuous fire of Aries eventually begins to stabilize when it encounters the earth, its firmness and solidity
the fire that creates everything becomes mischievous and touchy
the stability of Taurus and its cunning give our hero the opportunity to start looking inward to discover new worlds he hadn’t accessed before






gemini splits, finds a new point of view, and oscillates between the perspective of the right eye and the left eye
erratic, moody, indecisive, but so charming




our hero understands the existence of new worlds and with the Cancer sign begins to fear leaving the nest
after all, a mother’s embrace is always safe
we’re safe in the arms of Mother, while the world out there is a real mess, full of jerks and things to shovel
can we just stay here in limbo for a while rather than going crazy out there?



but no, the sign of Leo arrives
our hero gathers courage, even plenty of courage, swagger, and authority
he goes out into the world and discovers himself as the leader he wants to dominate it
charismatic, sunny, powerful
the problem arises when all this power is not reciprocated and thus comes the end of August, the intense heat, the earth now dry and barren
we’re still at the mercy of the omnipotent explosion of the lion, but everything around us is dry and arid


the psyche of Virgo oscillates between everything and nothing,
losing control and falling into the abyss is just a moment away
because of this, Virgo is an obsessive perfectionist, a control freak:
because this way everything can be kept under control

control, of course, falls apart when the world presents you with an injustice, a betrayal, a crime, something that just shouldn’t happen




the sense of justice and equality fiercely settles in and creates the psyche of Libra, which ruins itself over today’s world that seems to make more mistakes than right decisions
so, what to do? Kill them all? Or kill yourself?




or hide in the depths of an underground life that
cannot see anything or be seen
the only animal that, in moments of deep crisis, stings itself to self-destruct and stop enduring
the ultimate self-destructive type, hoping for a better world but not seeing it
and it hides to avoid seeing or does it not see because it hides?




on the other hand, Sagittarius sees clearly and sharply, aiming accurately at the target and pointing its arrow straight at the goal
here begins a point of no return
a change begins from which there is no going back the horse becomes a man. the beast becomes human. psychology splits, and raw, animalistic character alternates with wisdom and diplomacy



wisdom and diplomacy, like that of hermit monks living in the mountains,
sacrificing themselves to create a better world
silent, solitary, because only a few reach the peak
only a few are such workaholics that they sacrifice social life and freedom to make the world a better place for others, like Capricorns and even if it were possible for him to enjoy himself a little, no, he’s so stubborn and determined that he wouldn’t understand





and when hard work is in progress to create a better world, the project is perfected by a dream architect
Aquarius. he takes water from the earth and lifts it to the sky.
he takes a project and makes it epic, takes an idea and turns it into a revolution, a movement, an empire.
to share it with everyone. in Aquarius, the ego goes out the window, and the world becomes one, guided by utopian ideals and we know utopia is as dangerous as pessimism. overdoing it is just a moment away, and the ideals of a better world become in an instant the stable ideas of a tyrant.


and so, Pisces submits to the will of the dictator, wavering
between divine omnipotence and the cosmic void of hell. it is perhaps the most difficult zodiac sign to control from within. worlds double and invert in an infinite dance, a vortex that spins and creates perpetual motion while everything seems to remain still and immobile in the same spot. spins like a top but stays in the same place. the end point. the starting point. the same perpetual motion that creates infinite energy. the energy that creates everything and causes everything to start over, from Aries, the sign of primordial fire that creates everything and then destroys everything.



So, there you have it:
12 worlds, 12 colors, 12 feelings, 12 stories, but just one small, tender little bird that changes 12 faces simply because it changes context ^_^

moral of the story?
if you’re stuck trying to decide what to tattoo because you’re searching for the perfect subject, don’t stress yourself out; the subject might not be the most important thing
think about the context, and everything else will follow naturally ^_^

to understand what tone to give your context, first you need to understand the meaning you want to convey, and you can start by reading these articles: WHAT SHOULD I TATTOO? and IDEAS TO AVOID BEING ORDINARY
I’ll write an article soon to give you more technical guidance on the matter, playing with colors, graphic techniques, imagery symbolism, rules of composition, arrangement of subjects, and relationships between them ^_^



With love, but always cheeky