Ominous black birds find rest at the swirling branches of a dead and bare tree. The sense of desolation and lost is impossible to escape. Up there the birds, down the claw-like root clutching the earth beneath it.


This tree, with its muscly trunk and its dominant stature, is all about the strength. It embodies the sheer power and abundance of nature.


Dead trees are often symbolic representations of grief. Visually spectacular, the tattoo features an intricate web of branches that seemingly invade the space about the tree. Just as the tattoo pours over the limits of the shoulder, so does the grief encompass the soul.


What transforms this scene from one of despair into one of hope is the vision of small leaves hanging persistently. They’ll fall off eventually, sure, but the idea of rebirth will not die with them.


While the last tattoo featured only the traces of leaves, here they get their fair share of prominence. Here, just as orange and green fight for predominance, so are the fertility and growth wrestling with dusk and death.


Considering the image of a full life cycle (birth, life, and death), this tattoo marks its beginning. Green root, not yet fully realized, suggests the youth of the tree, while the instances of buds all over point to a sprawling future.


“I climbed the tree to see the world”; Patrick Watson’s words are a true well of inspiration. They suggest that in order to gain the true knowledge, we ought to change the perspective in which we perceive the world. In other words – we ought to gain a form of enlightenment.


The writhing root seems almost to mirror the branches above. This helps conveying a sense of stability, gained only through a rigorous self-discipline.


Given its stately root and its spectacular leafage, the oak tree is predominantly seen as the endurance personified. It is also cast as a symbol of firm foundation in life, something the word “BALANCE” etched beneath the oak tree tries to embody.


Wrist seems to be the perfect place for a tree tattoo. The vein that goes through the arm takes on a new form as it approaches the hand. That form is best represented by the near-tribal lines of a sprawling tree.

More tree tattoos for guys on the next page…