12 Brilliantly Clever Tattoos That Transform When You Open Your Arms Or Legs

Sep | 42 sharesEmma Guinness

Since the dawn of time, we humans have been a seriously creative bunch, and, like so many other things in this world, the way we create our art has radically evolved over time. From our earliest primitive cave drawings to the impressively realistic works of the likes of Da Vinci, and, now, coinciding with changing attitudes towards tattoo artistry, wearable works of art.

While tattooing can be traced back to the fourth millennium B.C., attitudes towards the art form in Western society have typically been negative because of its long association with criminality. Thankfully, however, with improved machinery and indeed the quality of tattooing, people are slowly but surely beginning to see that it is very much a legitimate form of art.

To showcase this, we've compiled a list of 12 of the very best optical illusion tattoos out there - namely, tattoos which completely transform when the wearer decides to open their arms or legs. Strategically placed by the artists and drawn by hand, they are a testament to the fact that we've come along way since the days of faded-green skull and cross bone tattoos!

1. Pretty cool beetle tattoo, eh?

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Brainchild of artist Menace Tattoo, this beetle is even cooler when this woman opens her arm...

2. There's more than meets the eye to this octopus tattoo as well

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Created by one of the most well-known tattoo illusionists, French tattooer Vek Van Hillik, it becomes a completely different underwater creature when the wearer's limbs are opened up and goes from being cute to terrifying.

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3. Who wouldn't want a unicorn bunny tattoo?!

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Unlike stencil tattoos, each of these designs has to be drawn directly onto a body for accuracy of placement.

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4. Symmetrical tattoos work best when it comes to optical illusions

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To see this bug take flight, check out the video below:

5. I'm not quite sure what this one is...

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But there's no doubt that it looks pretty sick.

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6. The crescent moon is guarding a secret

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It's a portal to another world - perhaps a person's dreams. That being said, that moon does have a rather sinister grin on its face so maybe it's their nightmares.

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7. But it's not just the moon that can hide secrets

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Optical illusion tattoos can create works of art which look like something straight out of Howl's Moving Castle.

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8. This look looks like an ordinary enough fish, right?

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Nope. It's an underwater cyclops.

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9. A fish or a submarine with windows?

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I'll let you be the judge of that.

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10. One of the great things about tattooing is that there's now a place in the art form for more abstract pieces like this!

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Personally, I want to get a tattoo where it's difficult to tell exactly what it is on a first glance.

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11. Optical illusion tattoos like these really are a great way of getting two pieces of art in one

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And, speaking as the proud owner of five tattoos, I love how much of a talking-point they are, especially at social gatherings. So I can only envy the number of questions and admirations which Vek Van Hillik's work must inspire.

alt Credit: veksvanhilliktattoo

12. Open-mouthed skull...

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To closed-mouthed skull. And can we take a minute to appreciate just how awesome the house on top looks?!

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So there you have it - 12 of the best optical illusion tattoos out there. Have they inspired you to get inked? Even if you're not a fan of getting tattoos on your own body, I think that we can all agree that from an artistic point of view, these are seriously impressive works. If you'd like to keep up with the artists on this list, you can follow Van Hillik and Meance Tattoo on Instagram.