65+ Contemporary Trash Polka Tattoos – Understanding the Style

Tattoos are steadily becoming commonplace. As this happens many fans of the art are now searching for artists that can give them more distinctive and attention-grabbing ones. This desire is the reason behind the invention of new tattoo styles or genres and enhancement of the traditional ones to create some eye-catching and contemporary body art.

Many artists also now prefer to take a different approach when it comes to tattooing, and it is this mentality that is responsible for the development of the Trash Polka tattoos.

If you are not a tattoo enthusiast, the chances are that you do not know about the Trash Polka style as it is relatively new. However, it is the in thing for most tattoo lovers, and most love it due to its distinctiveness, uniqueness and the fact that it does not conform to the traditional parameters of tattooing.

Although like any other tattoo types some people do not like it, the fact is that it still creates some unique images. If you are contemplating on drawing a new tattoo or trying something different, understanding what the Trash Polka is all about might convince you that it is a suitable choice for your next totem.


History of Trash Polka

Trash Polka is a genre or style of tattoo that is the brainchild of Volko Merschky and Simone Plaff. Both Volko and Simone were born and raised in Wurzburg, Germany. Their interest in the arts started at a young age, and both attended art school to pursue different art related courses.

Simone was studying graphic design in college but later developed some interest in tattooing while Volko was pursuing a course in interior design and architecture photography before becoming a tattooist.

The two great artists met in the 90’s and started dating before they went into the tattoo business at a professional level together. Apart from tattooing, they are also painters, photographers and musicians and have been doing these different trades for close to three decades now. But, they are more famous for their tattooing skills and unique style than they are for any of their other talents or passions.

In 1998 Simone and Volko started the tattoo studio “Buena Vista Tattoo Club” which they still operate to date. By the time they started the studio, both were already tattooing professionally and relatively known in their home town.

Also, they began by doing the traditional styles and would and still draw different styles to conform to their customer’s needs. However, there has always been something unique with their choice of colors and theme for the tattoos.

Trash Polka style developed gradually starting from the early 2000’s, and even the artists themselves cannot point out to the exact year or time when they came up with this style. It has been a gradual process, and it has taken them many years to perfect their style and make it distinct and very recognizable.

And after many years of work their style is now considered a unique tattoo genre and many tattoo lovers and experts now often describe it as technically perfect and a very innovative style.

Like any other  tattoo style, the Trash Polka is always evolving and changing as the artists get more creative and put in some fresh ideas. However, certain traits must    till be there for any totem to qualify as a Trash Polka.

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Main Characteristics

The Trash Polka tattoo style tends to resemble the fine art collages since it will combine some realistic images with smudges, smears and kinetic designs to bring a chaotic and discordant look to the piece. These tattoos will sometimes also include one or more words or even some phrases and quotes. But when there are words their calligraphy and choice of ink has to be in harmony with the rest of the image.

Trash Polka will always entail using black and red ink when doing everything from the realistic image to the smears and smudges. However, some variations will also involve using some black-gray ink. But, these tattoos can have different shades of these colors.

Volko and Simone describe their choice of colors and how they use them in their tattoos to combine different contrasting elements as realistic trash. For example, nature and abstract, past with present and future, technology and humanity and many others depending on the theme of a particular tattoo. And so to simply state it the Trash Polka will use opposites in a tattoo and try to urge them into harmony with the body.

Here are three other traits that best describe this body art.

#1 Trash Polka is Bold

Trash Polka style of tattoos uses bold and fine lines that combine very well with the black and red inks to make them stand out. This perfect combination will always give the tattoo a dramatic look, but this is only true when it is still fresh because just like any other tattoo the colors will fade as it ages and change its appearance.

The fine lines also do not do so well in the long run, and so the tattoos tend to get a softer look after some time. When getting these totems, you should keep in mind the fact that the bold appearance and stark contrast that make them stand out does not last forever.

#2 Trash Polka is a Rare Style

If you are on the search for a rare contemporary tattoo, the Trash Polka will be a perfect choice for you. This tattoo style is relatively new, and if you are not very keen with modern tattooing trends, you might not even know that it exists. Like most other tattoo styles the trend always spreads from its epicenter which in this case is Germany before becoming commonplace in other parts of the world.

And so it is relatively rare to see the original style with anybody that is outside Germany because it means paying for an international plane ticket. The fact that you can only get the original Trash Polka at the Buena Vista Tattoo Club in Wurzburg also makes it even rarer than most other styles.

#3 Trash Polka Has Unique Aesthetic

Few other contemporary tattoo styles can elicit a stronger response from fans and tattoo artist than the Trash Polka. Although most people will credit this to the stark contrast of the images and choice of color, the unique aesthetic that the body art creates also has a role to play. The use of imagery and pictures of items that are not related is one of the core elements of these tattoos and also what creates the unique aesthetics.

These images also create a weakened relationship with the owner. For some tattoo fans, this is a good thing while for others this is one of the negative characteristics of this style of body art.

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Symbolism of Trash Polka Styles

From the surface, the Trash Polka looks like a meaningless and chaotic style without any particular symbolism. But, this is not necessarily true because like any other genre there are several things that you can associate with these totems. For most people, they are a symbol of insolence and rebelliousness. These traits are represented by bold and bright pictures or in some instance some vulgar ones.

Although your tattoo can symbolize or mean anything that you want the Trash Polka will aim to show irony, protest to the society and refusal to conform to the expectations of others, monotony, and commonness.

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Common Trash Polka Style Symbols

Trash Polka tattoos will exist on the notion of chaos and contrasting elements. And so there are some symbols that the inventors of the style and other artists that draw it will use in most of their tattoos, and they include.

#1 Skull

Skulls are famous symbols of danger, evil and death. The image of a skull in a tattoo will always bring despair and gloom, and so Trash Polka style will make use of it to symbolize these and many other elements of life.

#2 Game of Dice

In the game of dice winning will give life while a loss causes death. The contrast between death and life makes this symbol suitable for this style of tattoos. Including a dice in your tattoo can also represent evil, luck or opportunity.

#3 Clocks

A clock is one of those tattoo symbols that will always be in demand. It is a conventional tattoo symbol that will represent transience, but in Trash Polka it will symbolize a moment that the owner of the totem wishes to remember forever. In most cases, it will include a broken dial or some birds to make it more symbolic.

#4 Faces

Faces are a prominent feature in this genre of tattoos. There are also many ways of representing them, but the most common ones face without eyes, half bloodied face and half-rotten face. Volko and Simone will also depict celebrity faces in unusual ways and make use of bright accents to add detail to the eyes and lips to make the totem more impressive.

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Trash Polka Tattoo Ideas

It is not easy to classify the Trash Polka tattoos into types or categories because every image is unique and most will always depend on what you want the image to showcase. But if you are pondering about getting one here are some ideas that will help you choose an eye-catching design.

#1 Bloody Polka Trash

This piece features a clock and sugar skull, and it makes use of red ink to resemble blood and black ink for the rest of the tattoo. It is quite a symbolic body marking since the clock reminds one of the life values while the skull represents death.Trash Polka Tattoo 8Source

The contrast between the two elements and the way the image they create is in perfect harmony is one of the main characteristics of this style of body art. This tattoo will be an excellent shoulder piece for both ladies and guys.

#2 Dot Style Trash Polka

Although this totem is famous for the use of bold lines, it is still possible to spice things up by fusing it with other tattoo styles. Dot style is one of the best options for this, but you still need to include the series of images like skulls and portraits and use red and black ink to maintain the overall Trash Polka theme.

#3 Trash Polka Flower

It is not common for many tattoo artists to use black ink to draw flowers but this is not the case for this contemporary style. A black flower on the forearm and with some red patterns on the side or background creates an elegant and trendy tattoo that both men and women can get.

#4 Lion and Wolf Tattoos

Animals like wolves and lions are easy to incorporate into any style of tattoo, and they are also very symbolic. For this genre, you should draw an aggressive wolf or lion to show strength and confidence. You also need to include the bright touches of Trash Polka, and you can use some lettering or words to emphasize the idea.

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Where Can One Get these Tattoos?

These tattoos are a relatively new style, and so getting them can be a little challenging, and this is more so if you want the original ones by Volko and Simone. If you love the style and want to get the best tattoo, you might need to travel to Wurzburg, Germany to their Buena Vista Tattoo Club. However, in the last few years, some experienced tattooist and some upcoming ones have been learning the style.

The increase in the number of artists that can create perfect images in the Trash Polka style means that it is possible to get them in the USA and a few other countries in Europe (besides from Germany). However, you should do enough research on the artist and ask to see evidence of their past tattoos to determine how good they are at drawing this particular style of body art.

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Any tattoo fan will always want to move with the times and try out some contemporary styles that seek to break away from the typical tattoo designs and themes. If you are one of these enthusiasts and are looking for something that is attention-grabbing and controversial to some extent, the Trash Polka tattoo will be an excellent choice for you.

But, before you get one it is important to understand what this style is all about and its origins. It will also be a good idea to know some of its key features and where to get one.

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