This is Water Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

This is Water Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

‘This is Water’ tattoos are a bit mysterious when you first see one, unless you’re familiar with their origin and rather impactful message. In today’s article, we’ll explain a little more about the history behind them and what this seemingly-simple message really means. There’s a good reason for i’s popularity, so read on and we’ll tell you all about it!

What is the History of This is Water Tattoos?

When you see ‘This is water’ tattoos you might be wondering just where that odd and interesting statement came from. As it turns out, it’s from a commencement speech that was given by a man named David Foster Wallace at Kenyon College.

It was such a well-received and insightful speech, that it would be published later in an essay format in 2009 and word quickly got around about its message and meaning and this naturally meant it would soon make its appearance in the world of skin art.

This makes their history relatively brief, as the inspiration for these tattoos is just a little over a decade old, but their popularity leads us to believe that the message behind them is certainly a powerful one that has captured the hearts and minds of many in the brief time that it’s been around!

What Do This is Water Tattoos Symbolize?

This is Water tattoos symbolize the message that David Foster Wallace wished to share in that commencement speech and later in his essay, which essentially boils down to the value of educating oneself – but not simply as a means of quoting facts.

Rather, the point of constantly educating yourself and learning everything that you can, it all about elevating your awareness. The conscious awareness of yourself and of others is vital and often its mysteries are hidden all around us. He compared this to a fish living in a large body of water.

By achieving an awareness of your surroundings based on knowledge that you’ve gathered to increase your perception, then there is virtually nothing that you can’t achieve. To put it simply, our awareness must extend all around us so that we don’t miss the reality right in front of our faces and so that we may function intuitively and effectively.

“This is water”, he explained, and if you’ve never read the essay then it’s well-worth taking a little time to see what you think. Just words, but with the weight of the context behind them, they are very heavy ones!


What Do This is Water Tattoos Mean?

This is water tattoos are all about awareness of the self and of what is around you. Too often we take things for granted, moving through the world almost on ‘automatic’ and becoming so used to what we see that we never give it a second thought.

A ‘This is Water’ tattoo means that the owner of this skin art is well-aware of this and strives to make sure that their consciousness is open, expanded, and well-aware of the world at play around them.

This is the most common meaning that is associated with this tattoo, although you do see the occasional parody, as many tattoo owners have quite the sense of humor, so don’t be surprised if you also see a ‘This is Water’ tattoo next to a lovely watercolor pool depicted in ink on someone’s skin.

After all, if you can’t have a little fun with your tattoos from time to time, where’s the fun in that?!

Where Do This is Water Tattoos Usually Go?

While tattoos are often placed so that the outside world is the first to get a glance, This is Water tattoos are a little flexible in this regard, as often they are worn as a reminder to their owner.

Most commonly it will simply be on the outer arm so that both the owner and others can easily see the message, but as it’s a very personal message, it’s not uncommon for someone to tattoo it at their hip or thigh, on their leg or ankle, or even as a part of a larger collection of inspiration items on a lovely backpiece.

Your placement options are really quite versatile. As the reference itself is only 3 words, you can certainly fit it just about anywhere, and it’s even open to a little creative interpretation, such as the words ‘This is’ contained in a brilliantly inked waterdrop.

Think about whether this is a message meant to remind only you or if it’s something that you want to share and that should give you a good idea of where the perfect placement for your own tattoo might be.


Characteristics and Styles of This is Water Tattoos

As far as characteristics of these tattoos, usually they are simply done in a script that the owner likes, often one that’s got some nice curvature to it unless a starker-font is desired as a way to modify the original message.

Water can be incorporated into the design, as in our previous example, and this allows for much more colorful representation of the message. You can also even go with the wonderful exaggerative New School look, so that instead of flowing text you’ve got large-than-life, colorful letters sending that message out into the world.

The best way to decide is to Google a few examples of ‘This is Water’ tattoos or simply get a good look at the one’s that we’re sharing with you and that should help you to decide. Remember, just because it’s just 3 words doesn’t mean that you can’t get creative with it.

So think on it a bit and we’re sure that you’ll be able to personalize it and really make this tattoo your own!

Some closing words on ‘This is Water’ tattoos

If you haven’t read the essay, it’s definitely worth your while, as ‘This is Water’ is much more profound than it seems on the surface. Sometimes we hear or read something special, and it’s SO special that we want to keep it forever.

With skin art, you can do exactly that, and if you help to enlighten a few other people in the process, well, what’s the harm in that?

Sometimes it feels good to share this kind of inspiration with the world, so if you think that ‘This is Water’ is a definite keeper, then a tattoo will ensure that this powerful message stays with you forever!

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