You guys may not know this, but the Dolan Twins have slowly been adding tattoos all over their bodies. That’s right. The YouTubers have already racked up more than 40 ink designs between the two of them, and each one has a super powerful meaning behind it.
And get this, you guys — Grayson Dolan just added another body art to the list! Yep, on Tuesday, June 2, the social media star revealed that he got the word “Empathy” permanently inked onto his knee, in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement, following the tragic death of George Floyd.
“Only through empathy will we achieve true cultural change and reach a deeper understanding of the suffering, discrimination and socioeconomic disadvantage the black community faces daily. #BlackLivesMatter,” he wrote on Instagram, alongside a snap of the new body art.
OK, but what do his and Ethan Dolan‘s other tattoos look like and what do they mean? We broke down each and every one of their ink designs down for you. Scroll through our gallery for a complete guide to Ethan and Grayson’s tattoos and the meanings behind them.
The brothers got new matching ink designs on October 8, 2019, when they announced that they were taking a step back from YouTube. In a tearful video posted at the time, the two stars admitted that their vigorous schedule (they had posted new videos every Tuesday for more than five years) had taken a toll on their mental health, and that they were going to take some time to focus on themselves. And at the end of the video, they decided to both get tattoos to commemorate the major change. Even though they’ll no longer be posting on Tuesdays, it’s clear that the third day of the week will always be special to them.
The twins’ zodiac sign is Sagittarius, so they each have the constellation tattooed on their leg. Their late father, Sean Dolan, also got the matching ink with them before he sadly passed away in January 2019 due to cancer.
The boys’ also have matching tattoos of the Italian phrase, “Famiglia per sempre,” which translates to, “Family forever.” It’s dedicated to their friends back home, which seriously makes our hearts burst!
On the outside of his right calf, near his ankle, Grayson has the word “matters” with a line drawn through it — but it is often mistaken on Twitter for “haters.” This was his very first tattoo, and it acts as a reminder for him to not focus on insignificant worries.
“I got that tattoo because it means nothing matters – not in a negative way. To me, the meaning of ‘nothing matters’ is to not get caught up in the small, stupid things that you stress about in life – that aren’t going to matter in years to come,” the influencer revealed. “I got this tatted on me because I was in a really stressed out frame of mind, and I was like, ‘Ah man, like people are gonna judge me ’cause I make stupid YouTube videos with my stupid brother.’ And all that stuff – but then I realized that it doesn’t f—king matter. It really just doesn’t. Nothing matters because we’re all going to end up in the same spot, which is dead.”
“This one right here on my foot is actually a homemade tattoo that my sister gave me,” Grayson explained. “This one’s special to me because I feel like without commitment you can’t really accomplish your goals in life.”
Gray’s biggest tattoo is the one on his thigh, and it’s inspired by the Kid Cudi album Man on the Moon. Grayson spilled, “The message of this album is super meaningful to me, and it helped me get out of that weird, dark time in my life.”
Grayson’s most oddly placed tattoo? It’s gotta be the one Ethan picked out for him on the bottom of his foot. During their “Where Am I?” challenge on YouTube, they both put each other up to some crazy dares. Each twin got the chance to blindfold the other and take them wherever they wanted. Each of the cuties had to sign a contract, in which they agreed to let the other one do whatever he wants. So where did Ethan take Gray, you ask? The tattoo parlor. Naturally, Ethan got to pick out the design — so he chose an arrow heart with his name inside of it.
Grayson has sun and moon characters inked onto his ankle, which are actually from Kid Cudi’s “Day ‘N’ Nite” music video.
“It’s from a music video that I really like — Kid Cudi ’cause he has done a lot for me through his music and his art,” the social media star explained. “People could think it’s a negative tattoo because both of the guys are frowning, but it kind of shows me that I’ve been sad through the day and the night, and I’ve gotten through it.”
Grayson’s angel design on the side of his thigh has a seriously powerful meaning.
“This is going to sound weird and like really deep but when I was birthed, there was some complications — and I died. I like flatlined,” he explained. “Years later when I was really young, I would have dreams about what I saw during that minute that I died. And I didn’t understand what the dreams were until I got older and kind of put them together. I always just felt like there was someone watching over me because of the whole experience. I always felt like it was a guardian angel of mine. I just really like the whole thought of that.”
Grayson has a number of designs on his feet, which he hasn’t explained the meanings of quite yet. But we did a little digging, and the “XR 80” tattoo is most definitely a tribute to his beloved red motorcycle. As for some of the others, we’re going to have to wait for him to give us an explanation!
Grayson revealed in his Instagram Stories that his shin tattoo design took about 8 hours in total! Tattoo artist Daniel Silva also shared a series of photos of the ink on social media, writing, “The meaning behind some of the symbols we used are truly amazing. But I’ll let him tell you when he’s ready.”
Ethan’s first tattoo ever was the roman numerals of his birthday. It also has a cross in the middle, which is a tribute to his grandfather’s tattoo.
Ethan’s small magnifying glass tattoo is one he slightly regrets, and that may have to do with the fact that fans think it’s a lollipop. The word “now” is seen in the middle of the glass, which symbolizes the idea to only focus on the present. It’s a very great message, but the boys admitted that it’s just a little too small.
There are a number of tattoos on Ethan’s foot, and the camera design is a no-brainer – they love film videos, duh! As for the tiny lightning bolt underneath it?
“It’s like quick, in the moment, powerful. It’s also really intriguing that like electricity comes down from the sky,” Ethan explained.
The animal one has a particularly deep meaning to him.
“I feel like humans as a species have come up with all these rules, like the way that you have to be, certain things that you gotta do so that you can be socially accepted and all. When at the end of the day, we’re really just animals. We’re just more complex in the brain than a fish, but we’re still animals,” the cutie said. “We’re all no different, we’re all equal and we’re all animals.”
Ethan said on Instagram that his “Can’t Fold” tattoo on his hand is his “most meaningful tattoo.” He later explained on YouTube that he got the ink design because he once punched a wall during a dark time in his life, and because of the damage, he almost lost his thumb. The words “Can’t Fold” come from a Kid Cudi song “Just What I Am” that describes a similar situation.
“In my spare time, punching walls, f-cking up my hand / I know that sh-t sound super cray but if you had my life you’d understand / But, I can’t fold, some poor soul got it way worse,” the lyrics read.
Ethan explained the meaning behind his large, circular thigh tattoo.
“It’s a skull inside a moon, so it looks like the moon has a face,” he said. “I always really appreciated art that you couldn’t tell what it was. It’s kind of based on what you perceive it to be. Upon first glance, that’s a moon. Or wait, is it a skull? You know what I mean?”
Turns out, eight is Ethan’s lucky number. He explained, “I just always felt like it was my ‘angel number’ — I guess you can call it that. I see the number eight a lot throughout the day. I also have really weird OCD things that I do, and I have to do things like eight times. Sometimes I’m shutting the lights off eight times. Sometimes I’m like scrubbing the dishes eight times…”
Ethan’s abstract fire design not only represents his zodiac sign, but it’s also a nod to his father.
“I also kind of got this for my dad too. He is a very important figure in my life. He’s done so much for me, and I really care about the guy — we would always have family time by the fire, and that was my dad’s thing. That’s what he loved to do. This reminds me of good, old family times with my dad,” Ethan said.
The influencer explained that this tattoo was inspired by a patch on a jacket he wore while visiting London, and it continues to remind him of good times and feeling thankful to be able to travel the world.
As we know, the twins are big fans of Halloween and all things spooky, so Ethan got this skeleton-inspired art inked to his leg on Halloween! For him, the two little skull guys represent him and his bro. Aw, how cute!
On February 22, Ethan took to social media to let fans know that he got his very first back tattoo. He later revealed the crown design, which he has tatted right in the middle of his upper back. “This ones for you dad,” he captioned the photo in honor of his late father.
While there’s no photo of it, Ethan also has a tattoo on his butt.
“It was probably my most painful tattoo. It’s of a pineapple. It’s on my right a– cheek,” he revealed in a YouTube video.
In March 2019, Ethan debuted some text on his shin. At first, fans had trouble making out the words. But after Ethan posted more photos featuring the tattoo, fans figured out that it’s seemingly his late father’s poem called “A Distant Shore.”
Ethan took to Instagram to show off this new ink in September 2019, which is located right around his rib cage. Tattoo artist Daniel Silva even posted a video of the process, and it looked super cool if we do say so ourselves.