The World’s First Animated Tattoo

artist K.A.R.L "activating" the tattoo

artist K.A.R.L “activating” the tattoo

So I know that this article is old. But I’ve always remembered this piece and felt it was very creative and interesting. 

A tattoo artist named K.A.R.L created the first animated tattoo back in 2011. 

(The following link shows the article and video process of the creation and activation.)

Click here to watch the video

I find it to be an interesting combination of stylized art and incorporating a QR code, which on one level is some mysterious image that is almost like that of an unknown text. But then also bridges the gap to technology and opens this moving and functioning video animation. Am I saying I would get one? not necessarily, but I do find it very intuitive and I think its a good interesting step in the right direction towards the future of art in all media.

What do you guys think about this?



(image from


2 thoughts on “The World’s First Animated Tattoo

  1. That is pretty interesting. It takes some creativity to think of using a QR code to add to a tattoo! It is such a simple idea but I would have never thought of it. I feel like the only drawbacks are that the link will only work when there is an internet connection…or if someone has a code reader. Let’s just hope that the video that they link to the code to doesn’t get taken down because then that would be awkward.

  2. Ian,

    Thanks for sharing this, I’ve never seen it! I think it’s really interesting that a phone could detect a QR code off of tattoo ink on a person’s body—who would’ve known?

    Visually, QR codes could most definitely pass for a secret language (as K.A.R.L said in his video). If people get tattoos of tribal prints and miscellaneous patterns, people will not have a problem getting a tattoo of a QR code.

    What if, instead of Chinese letters vertically decorating the back of somebody’s neck, it was QR codes decorating the back of the individual’s neck. QR codes are very graphic-looking and could slowly become a new creative method of tattooing. People could secretly embed QR codes in their tattoos to be scanned and displayed as a video. Perhaps the video is of them and a loved one they once lost, or a music video that means a lot to them as it relates back to the individual’s life. Or just a nonsensical and totally weird video that means absolutely nothing. Whatever the customer wants.

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