What are Trash Polka Tattoos?

With tattoos becoming more popular each year, it’s only natural that designs would begin to change and evolve. As more people get tattoos, it becomes increasingly likely that two or more people will wind up with the same design. For many, that’s simply unacceptable, which is where designs like Trash Polka tattoos come into play.

The Trash Polka tattoo art style originates from the Buena Vista Tattoo Club in Würzburg, Germany. Tattoo artists Simone Pfaff and Volko Merschky are credited as the originators of the style, calling it a blend of “realism and trash; the nature and the abstract; technology and humanity; past, present, and future; opposites that they are trying to urge into a creative dance to harmony and rhythm in tune with the body.”

The two distinct aspects every Trash Polka tattoo features are its chaotic blend of real and abstract imagery, which often utilizes words or writing of some kind, and its sole use of red and black ink. Trash Polka tattoos are made to attract attention and appear fresh, bringing up concerns that they may not hold up well on their own over time. Although the style is so new that there’s no way of knowing just how much touch-up work may be required to keep its stark appearance over the years.

It may be difficult to find an artist who can mimic the Trash Polka style if you’re unable to fly to Germany and have it done by Pfaff or Merschky. The purposeful chaotic style of Trash Polka tattoos can be difficult to replicate, which is likely why Pfaff and Merschky often come up with designs for clients on their own.

Trash Polka tattoos are certainly a unique style in the tattoo community. Anyone looking for something fresh and one-of-a-kind should definitely consider getting something in the Trash Polka style. Most people find they either love it or hate it. Which camp are you in? We’ll let the gallery below help you decide.

Joshua White @joshuawhitetattooer




Volko Merschky and Simone Pfaff












Gigant DhikaTattoo’nAccesories




Craig Foster @skinwerks




Zsolt Kelemen @scarsbyzek



Gimez Ink Tattoo @federico_mezzabotta



amir3tayesh @amir3tayesh


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