The Joker tattoo is a derivative style taken from traditional clown motifs. The clown is often indicative of humor and entertainment. Though they are often seen as a fun loving and jolly character, there is often a flip side to their personalities with an underlying bitterness or sadness about them. They are the lighthearted souls who are often struggling against their own inadequacies. Despite their attempts they always end up falling on their faces. As the king’s jester, the clown mocked authority and ridiculed the establishment. Anything generally accepted as common knowledge was fodder for the jester’s ridicule. The jester was the only one who dared talk back to the king. In fact, that was his role, to think laterally, to think outside box, to abandon reason, and precisely for this reason were his ideas often incorporated into official policy. Besides he joker tattoo, other sub groups of clowns are often grouped together under the same heading. These include jesters, minstrels, tramps, tricksters, troubadours, and mimes. The joker is also associated with the fools depicted on playing cards or the “Fool” in the tarot deck. Even though the Joker is seen as someone foolish they are also quite intelligent.
Joker tattoos used to be associated with playing cards and is related to ‘The Fool’ in tarot cards. As a playing card they usually have special powers and can be used in play or not as in ‘jokers wild’. Even though the joker is seen as someone foolish, they are also quite intelligent. They rise above their circumstance by laughing at the serious and sometimes tragic world. Thus, they are the ultimate symbol of resilience. But, nowadays the joker tattoo has taken on a more garish and ghoulish design. There seems to have been an evolution from the friendly fools of the tarot into sinister monsters and demons that haunts the recesses of our subconscious. Take a look at the examples in the picture. You can barely see the resemblance that jokers once shared with clown and mimes. The trend began to tip towards the horror spectrum. As a result the symbolism of the joker tattoo has also moved towards the macabre and evil. They are now portrayed as sinister tricksters ruthless in their pursuit of our dreams and perhaps our souls. No longer do they rise above strife or hardship but seem to be the instigators of it.
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