The simple semicolon tattoo is a bright neon sign for those who battle suicidal thoughts, depression, and other serious mental health problems.
The symbol has been embraced as a permanent ink reminder that despite serious trouble people’s stories aren’t over, and that they should give themselves the opportunity to tell them.
The semicolon tattoo has proven a superb identifier for sufferers and supporters, and is becoming a symbol featuring in the list of 50+ best tattoo ideas. It’s a rallying point capable of breaking down stigma attached to self-harm and suicidal ideation.
Beyond the ink lies the message; a reminder to keep working, battling, and living to fight another day.
Read on for the gallery of inspirational semicolon tattoos, followed by information about the symbol’s development and use in the fight against suicide and mental health stigma.
1. Black Ink Semicolon Tattoos
The majority of semicolon tattoos are simple ink expressions relying on effective use of black ink etching to convey the message required. Some of the examples above utilize the clarity of message in combination with a supporting idea of growth, strength or resilience as their reminder to keep fighting.
2. Delicate Semicolon Tattoos
The best tattooists are tremendously skilled at identifying the motivation behind people’s tattoos, then using them in aid of fully exploring they ink they create for each subject. With such intensely personal, painful, and even devastating memories attached to each semicolon tattoo, the artists in the examples above were able to delicately yet fiercely bring each one to life.
The execution of artistic style – geometry, sharp or flowing linework, flowering vines and blooms, or simple objects – within these tattoos serve as armor reinforcement for the painful memories and battles fought by the subject to put their fight permanently onto flesh.
3. Illustrative Semicolon Tattoos
Semicolon tattoos by nature tend towards simple, intensely personal ink depictions without much ostentation. The tattoos above aren’t simple expressions, yet they fall a long way short of being blingy, extroverted creations.
These well etched illustrative tattoos subtly incorporate the semicolon within a larger piece of body art, almost hiding them in plain sight. In some ways, this parallels what happens with the people behind the ink, hiding their pain and struggle behind expressions of irony or other more camouflaged images of themselves in order to keep going.
4. Script Semicolon Tattoos
Words simply and powerfully add another layer of protection to the semicolon tattoo: affirmations or benedictions to reinforce the message of resilience. The words themselves act as reminders of faith – either in a higher power or coming from within the core of the individual.
These scripts complement the tenets of the semicolon tattoo – the fight is not over – and come in a range of styles, ink applications, and physical placements.
5. Technical Semicolon Tattoos
These ink examples reinforce the message of strength and resilience by using technically savvy body art to display the semicolon. There’s some tremendous tattoos found above – again, there’s no ostentation – powerfully using technical skills such as dotwork, clean single line tattooing, or modest gradients of grayscale shading to make poignant semicolon tattoos.
6. Tiny Semicolon Tattoos
Tiny tattoos are the most common depiction of semicolon ink yoo’ll find. They’re small identifiers of the battle, put up as much as a signal to other likewise strugglers as for any other reason. With these simple examples it all breaks down simply: I have struggled, I am fighting, I am still here.
7. Watercolor Semicolon Tattoos
Rare are the semicolon tattoos featuring bright and garish color, however watercolor can be employed to help alleviate and support against some of the darkness of tone (and sentiment) in this type of ink. Small pockets of color linked to ink, self expression, or escape, tie in well with the central semicolon themes and help brighten a daunting topic for most.
Semicolon Tattoo FAQs
What does the semicolon tattoo symbolize?
“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence but chose not to. The author is you, and the sentence is your life.” – Amy Bleuel
The semicolon tattoo was popularized by Amy Bleuel, the founder of Project Semicolon who unfortunately lost her mental health battle in 2017 at the age of 31.
The semicolon tattoo is meant to reflect that the battle is not over, and that self-harm and suicidal ideation can be fought against by sufferers, their supporters, and by the wider community.
What is Project Semicolon?
Project Semicolon is a charitable organization dedicated to suicide prevention and helping those with mental health issues get the help they need.
The Project’s work is based on the foundation and belief that suicide is preventable and that all people can contribute to playing a role in its prevention.
Project Semicolon operates through public awareness strategies, community education, and equipping individuals with the knowledge and tools to help save more lives.
For more information visit: projectsemicolon.org
Why are semicolon tattoos usually placed on the wrist or forearm?
Most semicolon tattoos are etched on the wrist and inner forearm – a meaningful nod to the most visible self-harm location chosen by individuals choosing to manifest mental anguish in a physical manner.