Various celebrities, from models, actors and singers, have tiny tattoos, whether in discreet places, where they are only seen when they wear backless dresses at red carpet events, for instance, or front-and-center and show them off proudly. The tattoos are usually a love token or a positive self- and life-affirmation in the form of a simple shape or word. Miley Cyrus has one that reads "love yer brain," Lady Gaga has a musical staff where the full notes are cleverly, "g-a-g-a," Ariana Grande has multiple on her fingers, Selena Gomez has at least two matching micro tattoos with her friends, Hilary Duff has a red heart on her wrist, and the list goes on and on. 

Ariana Grande signing "peace" with her fingers, exposing her micro tattoo on her fingers

Hilary Duff showing off her micro tattoo of a red heart and breathe written up her arm

Lady Gaga's clever tattoo of five musical bars and the notes: g-a-g-a

Miley Cyrus pointing at her micro tattoo: Love yer brain

A young, giggly Selena Gomez as she lifts her shirt to reveal a matching micro tattoo on her ribcage

So small tattoos aren't really new. They're a great choice for the hesitant tattooer or a tattoo lover who wants to keep them small and hidden. 

But new technology has burst wide open the possibilities to create more detail in a small space.

Trending: Microrealism tattoos

Some of today's tattoo artists are upping the artistry and fitting incredible detail, shading and creativity into an area the size of a Euro or the length of your finger. Microrealism takes micro tattoos up a zillion notches.  

Featured Microrealism Tattoo Artist: Alessandro Capozzi

Recently, Italian artist Alessandro (Alex Aureo) Capozzi designed the tattoo for none other than singer Demi Lovato! The two came up with the concept: three doves carry her body with strings through the air in a dramatic aerial ascension. Her limbs are limp and light and the dark wings dragging behind her represent her dark times. Her robe shaded in classical style, barefooted, her chest at the same time seems to receive, reflect and emanate light, with the light representing inner strength. The upward flight, lead by the ribcage, is all about being uplifted. The microrealism tattoo is a small, but powerful symbol of Demi's transformation, sobriety and rebirth.

With such a special talent, empirically influenced by Renaissance, classical art that surrounds him in Italy, and incredible ability to maintain such crisp detail, we have to highlight Alessandro's work.

Alessandro offers some details of how he achieves his microrealism masterpieces, talks about working with celebrities and future plans as a tattoo artist!

Q: You didn't always do micro tattoos. Why did you start?

Alessandro: I actually have always been fascinated by small scale tattoos and with time I’ve perfected the art of microrealism and continued to push the envelope and create smaller and more precise works of art. I started working with small needles, which helped me to render the most intricate and ornate details in every tattoo I worked on from that point onward.  

Nano needles are acupuncture-thin, usually used for cosmetic makeup but are the perfect needles for microrealism style for precision and to help avoid the ink spreading

Q: What's the most difficult thing about micro tattoos?

Alessandro: The fact that you’re using a very small needle makes the vibration of the machine more challenging to control and it becomes difficult to capture the minute details. Bigger pieces, on the other hand, allow room for error in some respects because you can easily go over the tattoo several times with shading and larger details. With micro tattoos you have to be extremely precise and remain concentrated throughout the entire tattoo process.

 

Q: Do you do anything different when you're inking a micro tattoo? 

Alessandro: I have to dedicate much more time to ensure the utmost quality in each piece. Micro tattoos require more delicate and slower movements to maintain the integrity of the image. 

Collage of Alessandro Capozzi's microrealism tattoo work: tiger, classical, Nefertiti, rose tattoo 

Q: Who is the type of client that wants a micro tattoo in microrealism style?  

Alessandro: Everyone suits micro tattoos. As a style, it can be incorporated into everyone’s look and lifestyle, meaning that if you like to be more ostentatious you can choose a location to flaunt your work of art in front of everyone, or if you prefer to be more discreet, micro tattoos can be easily hidden if you choose the right spot.

The beauty of micro tattoos is that there is an immense amount of detail that can be concentrated into one mind-blowing piece. 

 

Q: What are your thoughts about the popularity of the micro tattoo? 

Alessandro: Micro tattoos are becoming a hot trend because it has opened the door for nearly any work of art to be translated identically onto the skin, whereas before, technology didn’t allow such high levels of detail to be rendered accurately.

It’s also a more sophisticated style compared to the Old and New school styles of the past, which has started to intrigue certain people that may have never thought about getting tattoos before. 

 

Q: What do you enjoy the most about micro tattooing?

Alessandro: I enjoy experimenting with the most intricate subjects that would normally intimidate the majority of tattoo artists around the world. I get so much satisfaction out of seeing my clients' marveled expressions and the appreciation that they have towards this unique art form.

 

Q: What does a little star power, like Demi Lovato's tattoo, do for a tattoo artist?

Alessandro: It inspires a wider audience to think outside the box and come up with interesting ideas for tattoos that may have never been created before. Celebrity influence has allowed tattoo culture to be more socially acceptable and appealing.

From an artists’ point of view it helps to create buzz about the trends that interest us most and, as a result, more clients contact us for works. 

 

Q: What have celebrities appreciated when they work with you?

Alessandro: The celebrities I’ve worked with really appreciate my unique eye and ability to personalize each idea that they wish to translate onto their skin. Many times the most challenging, but also the most motivating aspect of working with celebrities, is precisely being able to personify a moral concept that could be interpreted in an infinite manners.

I think they’ve appreciated the fact that I intently listen to their life stories and respect their journey, which is what results in a stellar work of art that can never be replicated in the exact same way.

 

Q: Is there anything you'd like to clue the audience in about regarding working with celebrities?

I really love the fact that there is such a stimulating exchange of creative forces at play when working with celebrities.

Many people are under the impression that celebrities are flawless and never struggle in expressing themselves, but just like everyone in this world, we all have our own personal strengths and ways of communicating ourselves. For some celebrities they express themselves through singing, modeling, acting, dancing etc. and for others, like me, it’s through tattooing. I feel special having been able to contribute to their artistic expression. 

 

Q: You're a traveler, is it tied to your tattooing? 

Yes, I utilize my travels as a way to study and expand my practice. I love traveling around the world, especially if I am working in different tattoo studios, which offer me multifaceted perspectives on new techniques to adopt and new methods to try out.

I’m hoping that my international recognition will help me open up other studios in the US and abroad in the near future. 

 

Studio Aureo