The melting clock tattoo is a fantastic choice for fans of surrealist painter Salvador Dali or even those who simply want a very cool looking design that has a lot of unique meanings. At first glance most people simply see odd looking clocks in these tattoos, but they were created for a reason. Getting to know the history of the melting clocks as well as some of the many meanings attached to them can help you decide if this is the type of tattoo for you.
Famous for his incredible surrealist paintings, Salvador Dali’s masterpiece The Persistence of Memory is a representation of a unique perspective of time that counters our traditional view of consistent, linear progression from one spot to the next. The clocks are seen again in a follow-up piece done by Dali entitled The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, featuring the same time pieces only less detailed and defined.
The concept of melting clocks may also differ from Dali’s original design and appear quite different. They may appear more or less distorted and feature various symbols on the face of the clock rather than or in addition to warped numbers.
Dali was known for painting during trance-like states that he claimed to have induced in himself in order to create his otherworldly, striking pieces that elevated him to a status of great esteem by his peers and eventually the surrounding world. The paintings’ meanings weren’t always perfectly clear to the people who saw them, but it was always pretty obvious that a genius had created something special, particularly with the melting clocks.
Below we will take a look at some of the meanings associated with the melting clock tattoo as well as some of the very cool ways that you can get the clocks designed.
Popular Melting Clock Tattoo Meanings
The most obvious reason why so many people get the melting clock tattoo is because they want to tell the world that they are huge Dali fans. Sure, you could get any Dali paining in your tattoo, but since most people recognize the melting clocks, it is the best option if you want to ensure that most people recognize the design that is on your skin.
The melting clocks – especially pocket watches – that are featured in the The Persistence of Memory painting are a symbol of the Einstein’s newly introduced concepts of space, time, and general relativity. Dali played with this idea and produced one of his most famous works which is most often the inspiration for tattoo designs that feature melting time pieces. So not only can you get the melting clock design to show your love for Dali, but also as a tribute to Einstein’s ideas.
Dali’s melting clocks are favored by art lovers and those who appreciate the surrealistic style of his unusual artwork. The clocks are often imitated in exact likeness to not manipulate an already highly regarded design and tattooed to appear like they do in the painting. The pocket watches are thin with reflective gold rims that droop over the branch of a bare one-branched tree, sharply over the edge of a perfectly angled cliff, and draped, only half visible, over the lethargic body of an unnamed creature. Any one or all three of these clocks can be used in tattoo design and often become elements used in a much larger piece.
Dali was and is often seen as the type of person who saw more in things than others, so the melting clock tattoo can also represent wisdom. This is the meaning for anyone who is known to look outside the box.
People will also get their melting clock tattoos to show that time passing does not bother them at all. You’re not going to find many other tattoos that have this meaning, so it can be the perfect fit for anyone who is not bothered by aging.
Mystery is yet another great meaning that is often attached to the melting clock tattoo. You can be sure that people will wonder who you are if they see the melting clocks on your skin since it is such an interesting image and one that most people simply don’t understand.
Other Melting Clock Tattoo Meanings
The hands on the melting clocks are often pointing at a specific time that serves as a representation of something significant to the individual. For example, if you want to honor your child in a unique way, you could get the exact time they were born in your melting clock tattoo. You could also get the time when you proposed/were proposed to or when you were married. If you remember the exact meaning of any type of significant event and you love Dali’s painting, you might find that this is the perfect tattoo idea for you.
The hands of the clocks may be missing altogether, emphasizing the fragility of our concept of the passage of time. This is a great meaning for anyone that finds time to be a hindrance and wants to forget about it so they can get more from their lives. The melting clock is there to remind them not to be a slave to time and instead to focus on what’s important to them.
All types of clocks are used including older styles that feature roman numerals and can be used as a symbol of a past time period, or serve as a tribute to a loved one who has passed on, or be an appreciation for Steampunk. The clock may also be depicted in the grasp of a hand or hands, puddling in the palm and dripping through the fingers. This can signify the fluidity of the concept of time.
A melting clock is also featured in one of Dali’s sketches in his Alice in Wonderland series that he completed in honor of Lewis Carroll’s intricate and whimsical world described in his novel. Dali paints a rendition of the white rabbit’s pocket watch warped and dropping around a tree adorned with butterflies. The soft and dripping quality of the painting is easily mimicked by the modern and trendy watercolor style tattoos.
Melting Clock Tattoo Designs and Placement
In most cases people want their melting clock tattoos to look like the original Dalis, but you can absolutely customize the design if you want to. The key is to make sure that you find an artist who can work with this unique style, regardless of whether you are using the original painting or your own variant.
As far as coloring goes, it really comes down to personal tastes. Most will want to get their melting clock tattoos in full color to match the original paintings, but the clocks can also look great in black and grey or in alternative colors. If you are thinking about getting one of these tats and can’t figure out how to color it, it’s a good idea to have multiple designs drawn up to give you a better idea of how the final design will look on your skin.
One of the most popular melting clock tattoo designs is the sleeve since the clocks already have that wrapping effect. In these cases people often include other parts of the image, such as the sky in the background, the sand in the foreground, and the tables seen in the original paintings.
Those who choose to get the clock by itself will usually either place the tattoo on their forearms or on their legs because the curvature of the design seems to work best in those locations. It can also work quite well as a neck tattoo or even as a finger tattoo for those looking to get a smaller design.
The melting clock tattoo is a pretty complex design in most cases, so regardless of the meanings you’re using you will want to get a top artist to do the work for you. It would be a good idea to search around for artists in your area who have created Dali tattoos in the past or something similar to up your chances of getting a design that will really pop on your skin.
This melting clock tattoo can be pretty expensive, though, compared to most other tattoos. This is especially true if you are getting a large sleeve or back tattoo with a lot of detail. If you want to get a realistic melting clocks tattoo but can’t afford it yet, definitely have patience rather than getting a cheaper variant.
Is the Melting Clock Tattoo Right for You?
As you can see, there are a lot of great meanings that you can use with the melting clock tattoo. It also has a fantastic look to it, so it’s one of those tattoo designs that can mean a lot to the people who get them and also look great to outsiders when they see them.
Unlike most other tattoo designs, you should know right away if the melting clock tattoo is a good choice for you or not. If one or more of the meanings make sense for you and you love the look of the melting clocks, then you will probably always be happy with one of these designs.