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Marilyn Manson's tattoos - The Illustrated Man

2007 onwards: There are new tattoos to be added. I collected some photos for them and their story, then my computer was lost to me. I do have notes to sort out for it all. He had the first new one by Valentine's Day 2007 it seems, on his left wrist. It's shown in the artwork of the 'Eat Me, Drink Me' album. It's the Spiral Heart.

He also has a green skull and crossbones on his right upper arm and a skullhead butterfly on his left arm, next to the cobweb. The butterfly was created in New Zealand, October 2007.

There was talk of text on his back reading: 'Together as one against all others'. But I don't think that's happened yet.

Some more: He has a 'WOW' on the outer side of his right wrist. Wow is a song title on the album The High End of Low. He has '15' behind one of his ears, never seen that yet, and so does Evan Rachel Wood. There's an 'etc' on the inner side of his right wrist. And the boxy looking cross motif on the inside of his left upper arm is a good luck symbol.

Once upon a time, I made a little jaunt around the internet, in search of information about Marilyn's tattoos. I visited a lot of fansites but noone had much to say on the matter, so I decided to create something of my own; something to describe the 'outsider art' adorning Manson's arms.

Here's the best all-round photo of them I have, only excluding the two on his upper right arm.

tattoos
1994 photo of Marilyn Manson's tattoos

His tattoos (up to 2007) are by four people - Lou Sciberras, Donovan Stringer, Albert Sgambati and Ken Cameron - who all worked at Tattoos By Lou's of South Beach, Miami, Florida. The tattoos were created over a four year span, beginning in January 1991.

If you have any details about the dates, please send confirmation info and reasoning so I can check things out. I want the date information here to be accurate and as far as I know it is. But, if you know differently, feel free to say so.

Interpret and be damned

Why choose such body art?

This is my view on things: Manson has long been interested in the occult and mysticism, in religion, in the power of symbolism, and in art and the cinema. He's a longtime avid reader of many types of literature in book, magazine and comic-book form, with the horror genre as a particular favourite. And it's from this mix of interests that the various tattoos have arisen.

It also occurred to me, because he was a self-harmer from age 14, that there was perhaps a feeling of relief in the discomfort of having the tattoos done. And a side-benefit of the ones on his inner arms is the way they cover up the old criss-cross scars from his teens.

But what's 'the Big Picture' of all those little pictures, Manson? I see them as images of self-image, used to reflect, protect and repel. Some intriguing, some unsettling and all telling a part of the story of who you are.

To read more about each tattoo, select from the mini photos below.

Goathead tattoo Cyaegha tattoo Cyclops Head tattoo Skull and Spooky tree tattoo Red Devil tattoo Uncle Creepy tattoo Beelzebub tattoo

Reference to Manson's tattoos in Rag Magazine August 1994

Interviewer to Manson: 'A lot of taboos externalized in music these days - like the S and M lifestyle, piercing and tattoos - are now widely accepted. Were any of your tattoos symbolic to you, and do you feel this uprising is a sign of the times?'

Manson's reply: 'In a way, without sounding pretentious or like there's some big scheme. I think it was almost like a permanent Halloween costume for me. As a kid i would always wear a Halloween costume even when it wasn't Halloween. I guess that dripped over into my adult life.'