Biomechanical, or biomech, tattoos are designs that incorporate the images of machinery and organic tissue into a single drawing. The rise of these tattoos is attributed for the most part to the illustrations of H.R. Geiger, who also designed the aliens found in the Alien series of movies by Ridley Scott.
A biomech tattoo makes use of the trompe l’oeil style. Trompe l’oeil literally means "trick of the eye" in French and is characterized by extremely realistic imagery that looks to be three dimensional. Biomech tattoos symbolize the hidden potential or the hidden machinery that makes up the owner.
H.R. Geiger's illustrations and his involvement in the Alien franchise helped inspire the creation of biomech tattoo designs in 1979. Historically, biomechanical tattoos have been drawn using dark, metallic coloring. This coloring was drawn directly from Geiger's illustrations and helped the artist blend the depicted mechanical components into the skin far more easily. However, modern biomech tattoos have begun to incorporate a far richer palette of colors than the historically drab colors from the 1980s. Some examples of modern interpretations of biomech are the depictions of brightly colored butterflies in one's belly or the slight tear in a person's skin that reveals an intense light shining from it.