Ah, the great thinkers of the world… These influential intellectuals have inspired all of us. Some so much so that they find themselves with killer tattoos inspired by one (or more) of these great minds.


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Albert Einstein tattoo by Jose Perez Jr.

Albert Einstein is a popular choice for a tattoo, for good reason. The theoretical physicist from Germany developed the general theory of relativity. Relativity and quantum mechanics make up the two pillars of modern physics.

Albert Einstein Tattoo - Tomás Sánchez Piñeiro

Albert Einstein tattoo by Tomás Sánchez Piñeiro

E = mc is “the world’s most famous equation.” What does it mean? It’s the mass-energy equivalence formula for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

While he published 300 scientific papers, he also published 150-science fiction works. In December 2014, universities and archives released Einsteins paper: over 30,000 documents. No wonder “Einstein” is synonymous with “genius”.

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Albert Einstein tattoo by Zsolt Sárközi

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” -Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein tattoo by Josh Payne


Ludwig Van Beethoven was a composer, critical to the transition between the classical and romantic eras. The last 10-years of his life he was almost completely deaf. Although he gave up performing and conducting in public, he did continue to write–and those were some of his most memorable pieces. Today, he remains one of the greatest composers of all time.

Beethoven Tattoo - Valentin Colunga

Ludwig van Beethoven tattoo by Valentin Colunga


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Charles Darwin tattoo by Gunnar V

Charles Darwin is known for his contributions to evolutionary theory. As a naturalist and geologist, he studied a variety of species and their fossils, determining that all life has defended over time from common ancestors. He later began looking at man (human evolution).

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Charles Darwin tattoo by Pony Larson

“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of a man.” -Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin tattoo by Sean Herman

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Charles Darwin tattoo by Chris Lowe


David Lynch is a film and TV director, visual artist, musician, actor, and author. He’s been known to, “disturb, offend or mystify” audiences. His first motion picture, Eraserhead, became a cult classic. Followed by The Elephant Man,  Dune, and Blue Velvet.

His TV series with Mark Frost, Twin Peaksalong with his other works throughout the 90’s to present day, began to follow even more non-linear narrative structures, such as found in the psychological thriller Lost Highway. He is one of the greatest surrealists of all time.

David Lynch Tattoo - Max McCartney

David Lynch tattoo by Max McCartney


Frida Kahlo was a brilliant painter from Mexico. She’s best known for her self-portraits. While some have called her work “surrealist”, such as Andre Breton, initiator of the surrealist movement, described her work as a “ribbon around a bomb.” Frida rejected the surrealist label because she believed her work reflected reality, not a dream.

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Frida Kahlo tattoo by Marcin Aleksander Surowiec

“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” -Frida Kahlo

“I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.” -Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo Tattoo - Xavi Garcia

Frida Kahlo tattoo by Xavi Garcia


Gloria Steinem is a well-known feminist, journalist, and activist. She currently travels around the world, lecturing and organizing on issues of equality. In the late 60s and early 70s she became nationally recognized as a feminist leader.

“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” -Gloria Steinem

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Gloria Steinem tattoo by Char McGaughy


Hunter S. Thompson, journalist and author, is well-known for his investigative journalism. His first, Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, published in 1967. This was his new brand of journalism, he dubbed, “Gonzo”. This experimental style of journalism leaves reporters as central figures in their stories.

His other notable works include: The Rum Diary, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, and The Curse of Lono. 

At the age 67, suffering from many health problems, he committed suicide. Per his request, his ashes were shot from a cannon at his funeral.

“If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.” -Hunter S. Thompson

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Hunter S. Thompson tattoo by Lee O’Gorman

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Hunter S. Thompson tattoo by Ryan Hadley


Noam Chomsky, in sum, is a brilliant mind. Linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commenter, and social justice activist. He’s described himself as a “fellow traveler” of the anarchist tradition and has advocated the merits of anarcho-syndicalism. Anarcho-syndicalism is an anarchist theory that advocates syndicalism as a means for workers in a capitalist society to gain control of an economy and with that control, influence broader society.

Chomsky is currently is currently Professor Emeritus at MIT, where he has spent most of his career. His influence on academics throughout his life has him cited in the field of Arts and Humanities more often than any other living scholar between 1980-92. He continues to work as a political activist and is a leading critic of US foreign policy, neoliberal capitalism, and the mainstream news media.

“The general population doesn’t know what’s happening, and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know.” -Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky Tattoo - Heather McLean

Noam Chomsky tattoo by Heather McLean


Sylvia Plath, famous poet, short-story writer, and novelist, was born in Boston. She is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry. Her struggle with clinical depression, to which suffered most of her adult life, lead her to commit suicide in 1963 by placing her head in the oven. She described her depression as “owl’s talons clenching my heart.”

“The worst enemy to creative is self-doubt.” -Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath Tattoo - Kelly Doty

Sylvia Plath tattoo by Kelly Doty