When we think of tattoos, often times one of our first associations is with bikers and motorcycles, and the motorcycle that we think of first is usually the legendary Harley-Davidson. 'Harley Davidson' -- America's symbol of the road. And for many a potent symbol of freedom. No less so than some peoples consideration of a tattoo as an expression of personal freedom. It's no accident that tattoos and bikers are intertwined in the public's imagination.
If you're sporting a 'Harley Davidson' tattoo, you likely own a Harley. While the name can be incorporated into any graphic arrangement of eagle, wings and wheels, the standard 'bar-and-shield' logo that appeared in 1910 is still the defining symbol of Harley Davidson to this day. While the logo depicts nothing in itself, it invokes a myth that's summed up in the philosophy 'Live to Ride, Ride to Live'. The Harley is also unique in the way it has been altered and customized over the years by its owners. Like tattoos, a Harley can be made into a very specific expression of its owners vision of what a bike should be, a one-of-a-kind individual expression of motorcycle art.
Harley-Davidson tattoo designs usually make heavy use of the HD logo, but you will also frequently find patriotic design elements and symbols such as the American Bald Eagle and the Stars and Stripes of the American Flag. Other popular design elements are engine parts like spark-plugs, pistons and connecting rods. And in an homage to the biker philosophy of 'Live Fast, Die You, Leave a Good-looking Corpse', many tattoo designs feature skulls, a stark reminder that life is transitory and short. Ride while you can!