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How These Real Tattoo Artists Designed The Fake Ink In Sons Of Anarchy

"Sons of Anarchy," one of FX's most gripping dramas, deeply immerses viewers in the explosive world of motorcycle biker collectives and their unconventional community. With an all-star cast, creator Kurt Sutter showcases his violent imagination through crime, action, and enthralling storytelling. Starring Charlie Hunnam as Sons of Anarchy charter president Jax Teller, Katey Sagal as series matriarch Gemma, and Theo Rossi as the conflicted underdog, "Juice," these tattooed characters reflect our darkest capabilities. 

This addictive series consistently explores the ethical boundaries of humanity through truth, justice, and the almighty dollar. As Jax and his growing charter continue to influence the fictional town of Charming, their unflinching devotion to the crew leads them to commit unthinkable acts. Amid the chaos and drama is the seamless integration of the crucial ink these bikers bear out of pride and intimidation. The striking images produce fear in their enemies while also illustrating their incredibly high pain tolerances in an artful fashion. 

These tattoos appear so real, we, as viewers, easily forget they are not. Instead, they're the product of an intricate design process that leads to outstanding on-screen results. In a behind-the-scenes feature, the creative minds behind these captivating pieces shared the interesting inspiration behind this essential element. 

The ghastly tattoos are inspired by real outlaw biker gangs

"Sons of Anarchy" enlisted a real tattoo artist to create the authentic look of the characters' ink. In a behind-the-scenes look, tattoo artist Freddy Corbin broke down the iconic ink and the inspiration he drew from real-life sources. "We did a little research and looked up different outlaw biker gangs and we wanted it to look authentic but at the same time we couldn't copy anyone's logo," Corbin said (via YouTube). The end result is immediately arresting, particularly the attention to detail and commitment to scale. 

In the same video, actor Theo Rossi broke down the importance of the skull's symbolism and its consistent use throughout the series. "This is our symbol exactly. This is our symbol that's on our cut, this is the one you know everywhere. All our symbol is, basically, with the SAMCRO symbol the Sons of Anarchy is based around the skull. T-shirts, clothing, everything has to do with the skull representing the reaper." The reaper is a towering symbolic figure in "Sons of Anarchy" as a constant reminder of the finality of death.

Corbin continued, adding, "But I wanted it to be edgy. I didn't want it to be really clean and fancy. I wanted to have some guts." This critical point gives the tattoo's design a necessary distinguishing factor that highlights the series' originality. Viewers can now stream the entire "Sons of Anarchy" series on Hulu, witnessing the uniquely-created tattoo artwork for themselves.