50+ Unique Trash Polka Tattoos for Feisty Men and Women

By Jason Hamilton / October 6, 2018
trash polka tattoo chest
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Most of us use tattoos to show our strengths or to convey how we overcame life’s challenges. But trash polka tattoos are a bit different and they have a unique aesthetic too. Nevertheless, it’s still something that you might want to consider too.

Many of us usually spend hours finding a tattoo that’s cute, classy, or something neat-looking that we can use to show a bit of our personality. However, there’s this one tattoo that stands out from the rest mainly because of its unique and bold aesthetics and its meaning. This piece is called trash polka tattoos. But what is a trash polka tattoo and where did it come from?


Knowing Trash Polka Tattoos

For starters, trash polka is a tattoo design that resembles a fine art collage combining realistic imagery with kinetic, smudges, and smear designs. This type of tattoo creates an odd and messy look to the tattoo. According to its creators, trash polka tattoos are a combination of different styles – from realistic images, graphics, calligraphy, as well as the “opposites that they are trying to urge into a creative dance to harmony and rhythm in tune with the body.”


Additionally, the original trash polka tattoos are only made with red or black ink or a combination of both colors. They may look chaotic but this type of body art is definitely something that you can say a beautiful mess.

Trash Polka Tattoos Origin

Trash polka tattoos were first made in a tattoo studio named, “Buena Vista Tattoo Club,” in Würzburg, Germany in 1998. Artists Volker Merschky and Simone Pfaff initially called all their pieces as “trash polka.” They derived inspiration from life itself, contemporary art, and even artists outside the tattoo industry. Over time, their works became popular. Their pieces started to shape into a style and influenced the world of body art. Today, the world now recognize it as an independent style and is getting even more popular among men and women.


What do Trash Polka Tattoos Mean?

The trash polka tattoo isn’t your ordinary tattoo. It’s not like an owl tattoo that can represent your personality nor is it a cute fox tattoo that can protect you from misfortunes. Rather, it’s something that breaks people’s view of death and chaos, as well as the rules of tattooing. Moreover, a trash polka tattoo aims at showing rebelliousness and boldness through its images.

You can use it to represent irony or your protests to the society. Apart from that, you can also use it to show your contempt or disagreement towards the common routine and mediocrity.


Things to Consider When Getting Trash Polka Tattoos

Trash polka tattoos aren’t something that you commonly see in other people. It’s rather unique so if you are thinking of getting this tattoo, here are some things you need to consider.

It’s Bold

Opting for large pieces of tattoo is already a dauntless decision. But having trash polka tattoos is bolder. Trash polka tattoos attract attention mainly because it has bold lines and black and red inks are heavily used. It’s something that is often dramatic as well.


It’s Rare

Again, trash polka tattoos are a combination of various styles. Thus, it would be hard for you to find the right piece. Additionally, it originated from Europe and while it’s already considered as an independent style, it’s still starting to grow more popular around the world. Thus, if you’re not in Europe, finding a tattoo artist for your trash polka tattoos can be quite hard. Plus, with not much experts in the said tattoo styles in your area, you might not get the exact design that you want.

Its Aesthetics is Very Much Unique

Trash polka tattoos are very unique. It makes use of different images that may not exactly relate to each other. Thus, it’s hard for some to appreciate it just as most tattoo enthusiasts. Its messy-looking style can also affect other people’s view of you, especially in the professional world if your trash polka tattoos are placed in exposed areas in your body.


Should You Go for It?

People have strong responses to trash polka tattoos. It’s either they love it or hate it; there’s actually no in-between. If you love this tattoos style, then, definitely go for it. Trash polka tattoos offer a one-of-a-kind aesthetics that you will not see in peony tattoo designs or other common styles. Plus, they look good on both men and women. Life is too short to let this unique tattoo style pass.

Trash Polka Tattoos for Women

Trash polka tattoos are very versatile as you can match it with almost any symbol. They are gender-neutral as well. However, it’s not that popular among women yet compared to men probably because of its unique messy aesthetics. But if you are a little edgy, here are some patterns that are often included in trash polka tattoos for women.


Since trash polka tattoos exit on the ideas of death and chaos, you’ll find many trash polka styles with this pattern. Additionally, skulls give aesthetics that suits the messy style of trash polka tattoos.

A black and red trash polka tattoo of a skull with roses on left thigh


Trash polka tattoos of a skull and flowers made with great dot work

A skull on the right side of the rib cage that extends to the sternum


A skull trash polka tattoo on the side of the torso


The face, particularly of a woman, is one of the most prominent features in trash polka tattoos. It has different variations. Some of which is a face without eyes, a half-rotten face, half-bloodied face, or sometimes a celebrity’s face with red accents.

A half-rotten face with red accents on the left thigh


A beautiful face of a woman with cracks placed on the ribs

A face trash polka tattoo of a woman with red accents on the forearm

A trash polka tattoo of a face placed on the upper left part of the back


For most tattoos, the clock is one of the symbols that are timeless. For the conventional tattoo designs, it represents transience. However, for a trash polka tattoo, it marks a moment in a person’s life that he or she wants to remember.


A broken clock trash polka tattoo placed on the upper arm

A trash polka clock tattoo on the leftmost part of the back


A trash polka clock tattoo on the side of the stomach

A trash polka clock tattoo with calligraphy on the inner forearm


Trash polka tattoos can blend with flowers as well, especially roses. But don’t expect that it will look like ordinary sweet and pretty-looking rose tattoos. Instead, like any other polka tattoos, it would still look messy and edgy.


A trash polka rose tattoo highlighted with red ink placed on the left shoulder


A black ink rose with red accents placed on the left upper arm

Another forearm tattoo of a rose trash polka in red and black ink


Trash polka tattoos of a half-rotten face of a woman, roses, and calligraphy

Trash Polka Tattoos for Men

Trash polka tattoos are more common in men than in women. For men, they mostly prefer their trash polka tattoos exposed like in the biceps, forearm, and calf. Most of them often place their pieces in their back area too as the back provides a nice big canvas for this type of tattoo. The skull, rose, face, and clock are the common patterns in men’s trash polka tattoos too. Here are some samples you need to see for your trash polka tattoo.


A trash polka tattoo of a skull with a top hat

A half face of a woman and a skull divided by a red ink line


A uniformed skull trash polka tattoo with red accents and barbed wire

A skull trash polka tattoo with a crown placed on the forearm


A half skull face of a man at the left side of the back


A big skull on the chest with splats of black ink

A skull with heart, calligraphy, and splats of red ink on the chest

A red ink X piercing through a skull placed on the bicep

A 3D skull with red crosses and a quote on the chest

A side view of a skull with splats of red and black ink

A big trash polka tattoo of a skull covering the entire back area

Trash polka tattoos of skeletons holding a loudspeaker placed around the calf


Face patterns are also often found in trash polka tattoos for men. Like in women’s, a woman’s face is also found in men’s trash polka tattoos.

A woman cupping a skull placed on the chest with red accents

A half skull face of a woman adorned with roses

A 3D face of a woman on the inner part of the forearm

A trash polka tattoo styled sleeve tattoo of a woman’s face with red lips

Another messy-looking but beautiful trash polka tattoo of a woman’s face with red lips

A side view of a woman’s face in 3d with good line work

Trash polka tattoos of a woman’s face and a skull placed on the calf

A trash polka face tattoo with hidden eyes on the bicep

A realism-inspired trash polka face tattoo situated on the calf

A crying and bleeding medusa trash polka tattoo on the forearm


Clocks are yet another pattern that are commonly used in trash polka tattoos. Its variations are often a broken clock or a pocket watch.

A combination of skull and clock trash polka tattoos on the inner arm

A pocket watch with splats of red ink on the inner forearm

A cracked clock on the forearm with stains of red ink

Another trash polka tattoos of a clock but with an eye, skull, and crows

A combined trash polka tattoos of a clock and skull

A Roman numeral clock inked on the right side of the rib cage

A broken clock trash polka tattoo adorned with flowers on the chest

A combination of different clocks, tree branches, and calligraphy trash polka tattoos

A mix of clock, eye, crow, skull, and rose trash polka tattoos

A clock with birds trash polka tattoos with a splat of red ink


Roses aren’t just for women but for men too. For this reason, roses are also one of the common petterns that you can find in trash polka tattoos.

Trash polka tattoos of a skull without a jaw, rose, and quote

A trash polka face tattoo atop a red ink rose

A red ink rose that stands out among the other details of trash polka tattoos in black ink on the chest

Trash polka tattoos of a rose and eagle with good dot work

Trash polka tattoos of a red ink rose on top of a fierce-looking wolf

While trash polka tattoos are often in black and red, you can still experiment with you tattoos. You can ask your artist to replace the red ink with blue, yellow, orange, pink or any color that you want just as long as you keep its messy and chaotic aura which is its signature. If you have more suggestions on trash polka tattoos, tell us in the comments below.

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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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