James Hetfield can rightfully be considered a legend of heavy rock music. One of the founders of the Metallica group. An artist is not only an amazing guitarist, performer, his creative nature extends further. In his free time, he loves to draw, enjoys symbolism and graphic design. All his hobbies are displayed on the body in the form of numerous tattoos.
Body illustrations symbolism
James Hetfield puts deep meanings into tattoos, reflecting through them the attitude towards family life, marking significant events.
On the left shoulder is a composition of four playing cards that make up the date of his birth. The flames are associated with an incident during a concert performance in Montreal in 1992. On this day, the artist was engulfed in a twelve-foot flame in the process of performing “Fade to Black”. The performance took place together with the group “Guns’n Roses”. The accident was the fault of the pyrotechnics. The composition is complemented by the inscription in Latin “Carpe Diem Baby” literally meaning “Seize the day, baby”. Symbolizes the call to enjoy every moment in life.
On the singer’s chest there is a tattoo dedicated to family and children. It combines the names Marcella, Tali and Castor around the folded hands and the sacred cross. Children are always in his heart and he prays for them in his soul. The swallows on the sides appeared later.
On the inside of the right hand is a religious illustration of Saint Michael and Satan. The guitarist himself sees inspiration in the stories of the saints. The tattoo urges not to enter into temptation. It also symbolizes the victory over human vices.
Jesus Christ is depicted on the outside of the right hand. Displays James’ passion for icon painting, faith, and his search for inspiration in religion.
On the back of the palms are the letters of the Latin alphabet “F” and “M”, denoting the singer’s two loves: the creation of a lifetime by the Metallica group and the name of the woman of life Francesca.
On the right shoulder, there is a graphic composition based on a skull, surrounded by the words “Live to Win, Dare to Fail”. It means that life is given one and one must be able to take risks in order to achieve success.
On the fold of James Hetfield’s left arm, there is a tattoo of the scores of the song “Orion”. This composition sounded at the funeral of his friend Cliff Barton. She serves as a reminder of him.
On the back of the rock musician there is a composition of the words “Lead Foot”, fire and a horseshoe. The interpretation is simple: speed, hard rock and driving perception of life.
On the elbow of the right hand, there is a spider web with wrenches in it.
The skull is located on the back of the left hand.
The inside of the right arm contains a tattoo that says “Faith”.
A skull with wings is depicted on the singer’s neck.
The Iron Cross is depicted on the left elbow.
On the inside of the left hand there is a composition of the coat of arms engulfed in flames called “Papa Pat”. It is this name that is popular in the rock party. The ship features wrenches, a guitar, a microphone and a royal lily. The tattoo symbolizes the experienced problems and favorite hobbies of the musician. The musician gave the name “Papa Het” to himself after the birth of his second child.
The left hand has a religious tattoo with an illustration of an angel.
The letters “CBL” are tattooed on the left arm above the elbow in memory of good friend Cliff Lee Barton.
It is possible that James Hetfield’s religious tattoos are rooted in childhood. His parents were very religious. Most of the images were taken by renowned tattoo artist Korey Miller.