The alien head has become an icon in American pop culture that probably originated in the 1950s around the time of the Area 51 incident. The head is shaped roughly like a teardrop with two large, black, oval eyes. It has come to stand for the existence of UFOs, aliens, and extraterrestrial life. In tattoo art, the alien head is often accompanied by full alien body and other space scenes.
When asked why someone would get an alien tattoo, the most common response is, “Because it’s cool,” and there is no denying the fascination these science fiction characters have. Aliens became an icon in pop culture sometime in the 1950s, so it is not surprising that since then, alien tattoos have taken off.
A good example of this is alien tattoos featuring H.R. Giger’s art. H.R. Giger created one of the most recognizable alien figures in film history. His artwork is known to be surreal and often times frightening, and has influenced many people in their choice of tattoo art.
Some people choose to use a lighter tone when getting an alien tattoo. Using the popular depiction of a small green creature with an exceptionally large head and big, black oval eyes, they will create a cartoonish figure that appears almost cheerful and unassuming.
People most frequently choose alien tattoos out of an interest in science fiction. This creates a world of possibility for design ideas. Some may decide on the classic alien, while others may choose something more disturbing. The backdrop may consist of an alien floating peacefully through space, or invading earth.
Another great idea is the steampunk alien. These tattoos are often black and red, and show the alien profile intermingled with gears and other mechanisms. These are vaguely parallel in design to tribal tattoos; they are similar in coloring and can easily be mixed with your starry, alien motif.
Some alien tattoos may contain a theme from popular culture. For instance, the Gigeresque depiction of an alien bursting through the skin — usually on the chest; a large headed alien with an exposed brain, from films; or an image similar to a man, with distinctly alien features, such as pointed ears, sizable eyes or green skin.
Though most people will choose a modest size when it comes to alien tattoos, others have taken it a step further and covered the vast majority of their body with designs steeped in this fantasy. Though it has not been proven whether or not the existence of extraterrestrial life is real, some people feel as though they have a connection, either by sighting or direct contact, and feel the need to express this understanding by making such a bold statement with their tattoos.
Although these designs are not as common as others, the bearer of such a tattoo usually feels the need to be different, and express themselves in an uncommon manner. And what could be a better way of doing this than depicting a piece of art on a subject that so few people truly understand, but is just as visually — and emotionally — stimulating for the fact that it isn’t.