Rise and shine! The sun might be 92.96 million miles away from Earth, yet it only takes a mere 8 minutes to peak through our window blinds in the morning.
While the thought of light traveling at 300,000 kilometers per second sounds impressive, it actually takes millions of years for any energy to make its way from the core to the surface.
With that said, I’d like to shed some light on the meaning behind the sun tattoo design. A long time ago it was widely viewed as a God, and even worshipped by the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. In truth, many regarded the sun to be one of the highest symbols of life on Earth.
When it comes to the Greeks, it’s often associated with the eye of the god Zeus. The ancient Egyptians on the other hand, viewed it as the symbol of: Horus, the rising sun, Ra, the sun’s zenith, and Osiris, the setting sun.
Ancient Chinese believed it represented the cosmic eye in the sky, not to mention the great male principle, the ultimate Yang. For Native Americans, it has been seen as having the ability to heal, and symbolizes itself as the guardian of the day.
In Alchemical, the radiating golden beams from the sky not only are considered to be like the material gold, but also ideas of high intellect and the mind. It’s been said a circle with a dot in the middle represent completed good work.
Today, many men simply attribute the sun design to the idea of going from dark times to literally seeing the light. It’s a lot like the popular Japanese rising sun which is essence is the concept of beginning a new life.
Yet, in order to start fresh or new, you could say the sun is first and foremost a symbol of truth and light. It’s what’s needed to guide us out of those dark times in order to reach our destination.
Perhaps you’ll find a light of inspiration in this collection of the top X best sun tattoos for men. From sleeves with cloud designs to abstract art and ancient tribal styles, there’s plenty of ink to admire. Grab your sunglasses, these ideas are brilliantly bright!
Sun Tattoo Ideas
This sun tattoo presents a straight faced, solemn sun design. This sun appears to be made of stone or some similar material as its face bears multiple small cracks. The face is looking down. This sun is in some ways reminiscent of a sundial considering the shape and styles of its rays. Below the sun there lies a large rose. Knowing that sun tattoos often symbolize rebirth, the flower (often a symbol of new life) fits this scene well. One interpretation of this black and gray sleeve could be that the cracking face of the sun represents aging, thus countering the new life of the flower.
Quite a colorful work of art this sun tattoo not only features an expected reddish-orange but also adds a substantial amount of yellow and blue to the surrounding sections of the piece. The sun is in this tattoo is designed to look a great deal like an older man. Maybe this particular depiction of the great solar giant is meant to make it look more like a father figure, as in the common reference to “father time”. The possible meaning is relevant as the rise and setting of the sun is certainly often associated with the passing of time. Or, however, the specifics of this tattoo could have a completely different meaning.
This sun tattoo fits nicely on this man’s upper-chest area. It is cleanly drawn and contains simple but well executed and accurate line work. On the other side of the man’s chest sits a crescent moon. This symbol goes well with the sun and perhaps together they are intended to show the contrast of night and day. If so, this could go further and symbolize life and death.
This tattoo is quite interesting. It features a hot air balloon shape and basket as an outline. Within this outline is what appears to be a tropical beach scene. This picture contains palm trees, a large body of water, a sailboat and more. Possibly the most prominent feature of this tattoo, however, is the radiant sun placed above it all.This sun is simplistic as it is merely composed of a large circle and a collection of lines moving away from this circle to represent rays of light.
Here is a sun tattoo placed on a man’s leg. It is a dark, charcoal-shaded piece. There is a slightly protruding, three-dimensional nature of the main circle that makes up this sun. This aspect of the piece along with its empty eyes might somewhat remind someone of a theater mask of sorts. That could surely not be the case, but upon an initial look over this sun’s face, some element of theater or, at least some type of masking, might come to mind.
The sun depicted in this tattoo is one formed largely out of negative space. In fact, this entire tattoo is fairly minimalistic and makes extremely good use of negative space, something that can go quite wrong if not attempted with great accuracy. It certainly goes right with this piece, however, as the only actual ink put down on this upper arm is to show outlines of rocks, some of the water (which plays a big role in the design) and the sun’s rays on either side of its base. The actual sun itself, as well as much of the water it shines on, is simply made up of negative space. Even the ink that is a part of this work is fairly simplistic as it is often nothing more than multiple small lines of various lengths.
Seen here is a much different type of sun tattoo, one that does not take the usual shape. Unlike many depictions of the sun in tattoos, this one does not contain the perfectly round circle or the stylized rays. Instead, this sun tattoo has the appearance of one, mostly-congruent but also somewhat-deformed ball of orange, red and black star. Despite not being as aesthetically appealing as the more exact and crisply designed sun tattoos, this one is in many ways the most realistic. For the sun, a large star of fire, is not really as pretty as most body art would have you believe. With this in mind, it could be the case that this sun tattoo symbolizes truth.
This tattoo is quite intriguing as it covers this man’s entire torso. Not only is it large, however, this piece is also quite intricate and full of expression. The massive and visually essential tree takes up the bulk of this tattoo and presents the artist with design challenges as he or she must work out a way for a tree of this size and the branches stemming from it to conform to the relatively rigid human shape. While this great tree certainly is a lot to look at, it is the simple orange sun placed on the man’s chest that truly draws the eye of the observer. By placing this setting sun alongside an old, leafless tree, this piece certainly shows an important part of the cycle of life.
This sun tattoo is quite unique. For starters, the rays coming off this creative take on our star are stylized to look more like sharpened, synchronized points. There are two variations of these pointed designs and one almost looks like the end of a dagger of some sort. The circular base of the sun is also designed much differently than usual as the majority of it is filled with a large, mysterious eye. The artist behind this interesting work utilized black and red shading as well as a minimal but effective bit of yellow. This tattoo seems to reference some cultures of old who saw the sun as an all-seeing eye.
Pictured here is another personified sun. This one, however, has four eyes instead of the typical two. It is a black and gray composition and could symbolize any number of things but it seems reasonable to relate it to the idea of an “all seeing eye” (or “eyes”in this case) as was conceived by people from the earlier days of human civilization.
This casual black and gray sun tattoo features another version of the famous star possessing a face. This sun in particular looks a bit mellow, and, in many ways, a bit annoyed. If such a look is intentional it would certainly be interesting to find out why. In the meantime, the style of the tattoo can be enjoyed for the art that it is. On either side of this frustrated star is a cloud, one just above its eyes and one just below its mouth. The choices to darken and shade certain parts of the sun’s face are interesting as well. The darkening makes the sun’s facial expression look more tired and weary. Similarly, it makes the clouds look more like pencil sketches.
Here is a fun and engaging sun tattoo in which many might find the sun to be more of a backdrop piece than the primary focus of the artwork. This view is highly-understandable as there is a much more attention-grabbing focal point to this piece. If you guessed that it might be the large toad smoking a cigarette and playing a banjo, you would be correct. Symbolism and deep meanings aside, this is a fantastic and fun-filled tattoo.
Seen here is a figure of some sort, one that seems to be made up of planets, stars and other stellar materials. Possibly more importantly, however, this figure is holding a large orange ball in its hands. It would seem likely that the artist intended to depict this orange ball as our sun. Perhaps this is a way of depicting that while all of this may seem big up close, in actuality our whole world is really quite small. Regardless of whether such a meaning was on the mind the man receiving this tattoo or the artist himself, it is certainly an enjoyable and unique piece to look at.
To tie things up simply, here is a basic but strong sun tattoo. This piece is black and grey and while its linework and shading may appear to be simple, they are actually quite effective. This is especially true in areas of the sun’s face, particularly the shading around the eyes that give them depth and the subtle lines on the forehead and around the nose and mouth. It is often the little things, the seemingly small yet often crucial details, that can turn a tattoo from something nice and pleasant to look at into something of great depth. This depth might be achieved by way of meaning or on a technical level. Either way, it is truly awesome to see a tattoo artist bring someone’s idea for a piece of their art to life.
The scene exhibited in this sun tattoo is a simple one. It contains a total of three cacti, five birds and one large black sun setting behind them. Why is the sun black in this piece? It’s tough to be sure, but it could represent both the light of the sun and the dark of a shadow simultaneously. This tattoo is in some ways simple, but it may beg a second look. It is not uncommon for some of the most minimalistic pieces to have a great deal of meaning and impact on both the subject and the observer.
This tattoo is certainly an intriguing one. It shows what appears to be a nighttime scene. This scene shows a church with a steeple. Above the church is a crescent moon wearing a rather serious facial expression. Below it is a strand of clouds. Below those clouds, however, is why this tattoo makes this list: a tired looking sun sinking down out of the picture. It would be reasonable to think of this work as a snapshot of day turning to night and maybe even other instances of refreshment or rebirth.
Sun Tattoo FAQs
Where do you put a sun tattoo?
A sun tattoo can be placed on any number of locations on the body. Whether it be a mid-sized piece on a man’s upper arm, chest or leg, or a full back piece, there are numerous options for where to get your sun tattoo.
What does the sun symbolize?
The sun can symbolize everything from beginning a new life to coming out of a dark place or situation. Many ancient cultures associated the sun with their gods or as a great, all-seeing eye.