The ace of spades and tattoo design has a long and intertwined history that goes back to the old school days of soldiers and sailors getting inked on shore leave.
The highest card in the deck, the symbolism associated with this design is varied and powerful helping make the ace a potent design a popular choice for tattoos.
The practice of creating elaborate designs for the ace of spades dates back to the 17th century when King James I required playing card set to bear the insignia of the printing house where they were produced.
Since then the symbolism associated with the ace of spades has grown to include good and bad luck, death and rebirth as well as finding numerous uses in war time unit designation. The ace of spades also plays an important role in the Tarot deck giving this unique card added spiritual significance.
The ace of spades tattoo designs in this gallery are just a taste of what is possible with this powerful tattoo idea as inspiration for your next visit to the tattoo parlor.
1. Abstract Ace of Spades Tattoo
Since the meaning and significance behind a tattoo is often unique and ambiguous it only makes sense that some people choose an ace of spades tattoo that uses an abstract approach. A dagger, skull and flames are all elements that can be successfully incorporated into ace of spade tattoo designs but that is not the limit of what is possible. Barbells, a joker, flaming question marks and script work are all used alongside an ace of spades to create unique and abstract tattoos.
2. Black and Gray Card Tattoo
While it is commonly associated with Chicano tattooing, black and gray work is extremely versatile and can be used to complete any number of unique tattoos. The ace of spades tattoo designs in this gallery highlight the adaptability of a black and gray approach by utilizing smooth shading and precise line work to complete each piece. Everything from true to life renditions of playing cards to a photorealistic portrait of the man Lemmy himself, showcase these tattoos artists’ talent and the appeal of this classic tattoo style.
3. Blackwork Ace of Spades Illustration
The ace of spades is the ultimate black card, so it only makes sense that people choose an approach that utilizes stark black ink to complete their ace of spades tattoos. For these folks even the smooth gradation of tones in black and gray work is a bit too subtle, instead they utilize bold lines and densely packed black ink to create the contrast that makes these ace of spade tattoo designs pop.
4. Minimalism Spades Tattoo Design
Not everyone wants an elaborate tattoo full of intricate details and subtle lines and the ace of spade tattoo designs in this gallery demonstrate a minimalist approach, to greater and lesser degrees. Some of the designs depict straight forward playing card designs applied in a variety of styles while others recreate patterns reminiscent of wrought iron metal work. There is also a design inspired by Lemmy and Mötörhead’s seminal track, The Ace of Spades.
5. Neo-traditional Ace of Spades Image Ideas
Card games, dice and other vices have been common design elements in American traditional tattoo work for decades and these gambling motifs have also become popular in neo-traditional work. Some of these ace of spades tattoo designs stick closely to the bold lines and vibrant colors that characterize this aesthetic while other tattoo artists stretch their creative muscles and bend the limits of the style. Once again we find a tribute to the late, great God of Rock and Roll, Lemmy.
6. Script/Word Tattoos
Script work is a great way to cut through ambiguity in a tattoo design and make the meaning behind the piece a bit more visible. Several of these ace of spades tattoo designs incorporate quotes applied in script: elaborate cursive common in Chicano work as well as classic Old English lettering are on display here. For other designs a simple “A” is all that’s necessary to complete an ace of spades tattoo.
7. Sticker/Patch Tattoo Idea
One trend in tattooing that is gaining popularity uses a precise and consistent application of lines to recreate the effect of embroidery stitch work. If successfully applied by a talented tattoo artist the effect can be quite stunning: the best of these designs look as if an embroidered patch is actually stitched onto the skin.
8. Watercolor Card Tattoo
Bright colors in any tattoo are sure to turn heads, but when applied to such a powerful and fascinating subject as the ace of spades the effect can be exciting. From classic motifs to death card ace of spade tattoo designs inspired by the sugar skulls of Dia de los Muertos, these excellent tattoos will impress art enthusiasts for years to come.
9. Skull Body Art
Out of every design element ever inked on someone’s body, the skull might be the most common. That is not to say that skulls are boring, in fact quite the opposite as these ace of spades tattoo designs demonstrate. From black and gray realistic interpretations to stylized skulls that could come from 18th century lithographs, it seems a skull can be successfully incorporated into almost any tattoo design. The versatility of skulls in tattoos is why they remain so popular and when combined with this other classic motif to make an Ace of Spades Death Card, the results are undeniable.
10. Unique Tattoo Illustration
For most artists, creating a compelling and one of a kind work of art is the ultimate goal and this goes for a tattoo artist as well. With the popularity of ace of spade tattoo designs, creating a new and completely unique piece may seem a tall order, but this clean design demonstrates that there is still room for creativity. In this piece, the tattoo artist uses an informed understanding of shading and depth to give the impression that the ace of spades is sitting below the skin, producing a one of a kind tattoo.
Ace of Spades Tattoo FAQs
What does the Ace of Spades represent?
The meaning associated with the ace of spades is so broad that it almost defies classification, so here are just a few examples of the significance related to this fascinating design.
Within the Tarot tradition the ace of spades represents the Ace of Swords and is a powerful spiritual sign. It is associated with beginnings of both conflict and great love, making the ace of spades one of the more profound symbols in this schema.
The ace of spades is the highest card in the deck which has led to a number of other meanings attached to this unique playing card. Within war time there have been a number of uses for the ace of spades, perhaps most notably by certain units in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. Soldiers painted the ace of spades on the sides of their helmets as a designation and as a good luck charm owing to its top rank in a deck.
The ace of spades also made its way into pop culture and is often referred to as a trump card thanks to its placement in a deck of playing cards. Mötörhead and other seminal metal songs by the same name further cemented the ace of spades as an essential symbol in the outlaw world of fast cars and metal songs.
What does the Ace of Spades represent in regarding sexuality?
In the modern world that promotes a growing dialogue about different genders, the ace of spades has a gained another significance.
An asexual person naturally feels little to no sexual attraction to either sex and an ace playing card – whether heart, diamond, spade or club – have become symbols used by these communities to self-identify thanks to this phonetic play on words. For an asexual person that also self-identifies as aromantic (having no natural romantic urges) the ace of spades has become a popular tattoo symbol.
Adoption of the ace of spades as a symbol of the asexual/aromantic community demonstrates the continuing power and versatility of this fascinating symbol outside the world of art enthusiasts and the tattoo shop.
Did you enjoy the amazing work in these Ace of Spades tattoos? Looking for your first tattoo or the next in your collection? Click on the links below for more tattoo inspiration.