Tsuchigumo Tattoos:

Tsuchigumo is a Japanese yōkai, or demon. It’s a creepy crawly beast that according to legend can grow to a monstrous size, big enough to eat a person with no problems.

Tsuchigumo as a NSFW shunga piece by Carlos Guerrero.
More American traditional style Tsuchigumo piece by Isaac Bushkin.

Tsuchigumo literally means “ground spider”, and is found in mountains, forests, and caves.

Traditional Japanese Tsuchigumo by Harriet Street.
Crazy neo-traditonal head piece by Alex Rusty.

In legends, these beasts live in silk tubes in trees and caves, from which they trap their human or animal prey. Think Aragog from Harry Potter or Shelob in the Lord of the Rings.

Tsuchigumo sleeve topper with a Hannya mask, done by Lukas Speich.
Bright and bold Tsuchigumo by Dani Ardila Escobar.

Like a lot of Japanese yōkai, particularly snake and spider ones, Tsuchigumo relies on tricks and deceit to catch their smarter prey.

Tsuchigumo with a traditional Japanese skull done by Rocky Burly.

For example, one legend tells of a Tsuchigumo using an illusion to torun itself into a beautiful woman, with an army behind her, to attach Japan. Warrior Yorimitsu met army on the battlefield with his own force, and first attacked the woman general. When she was struck by a sword she transformed back into a creature, while her army disappeared as it had all been an illusion. she ran away back to her cave where she was sliced open. This led to thousands of babies spilling from her swollen abdomen, but each one was killed by the Japanese warriors.

Black and yellow Tsuchigumo done by Nero Morte.

Many more tales feature Tsuchigumo using illusions to trick their prey, leading to many people being eaten by the giant spider-beast.

Traditional Japanese Tsuchigumo as part of a sleeve by Jason Lambert.

As a tattoo, Tsuchigumo is usually done in a traditional Japanese style, as it comes from Japanese folklore. Though it can also be done with a more American traditional twist, Neo-traditional, or realistic style. It pairs well with Japanese warriors, or as fillers with webs, skulls, or flowers.

Big thigh Tsuchigumo by Ricardo Araya Con.

Which piece is your favourite?

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Artist of the Month: Bert Krak

Bert Krak is a tattoo artist working out of Smith Street Tattoo in New York City.

Full back done on model Cat Mcneil.
An Ed Hardy inspired full front piece.

Bert is a highly sought after tattooer for collectors of classic American traditional tattoos.

Panther and stars by Bert. Butterfly and dice by Chad Koeplinger.
Full dragon back piece.

In addition to tattooing, Bert also makes finely crafted tattoo machines.

Back of the head banger.

He has been collecting antique tattoo flash since he started tattooing, and uses these pieces of history to influence his own designs.

Healed chest and fresh butterfly.
Classic battle Royale back piece.

While sticking close to traditional iconography, Bert still has a distinct style in terms of colour palette and heavy lines.

Tiger head on the hand.
Matching peacock calf pieces.

If you’re passing through New York, or live nearby, be sure to set up an appointment with him. You can check out his work at his Instagram here.

Healed eagle, wolf, and panther. With a fresh Polito cowboy.

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Golden Age of Disney Tattoos

In this blog post, the Golden Age of Disney refers specifically to Disney’s animated films and does not include live action.

Snow White by Jordan Baker.
Thumper by Camille Gualtieri.

The Golden Age of Disney spans from 1937-1942 and includes Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi.

Jiminy Cricket by Nicole Zulianello.
Black and grey Snow White by Piotrek Taton on Grace Neutral.

Despite the name “Golden Age” this was actually a quite unsuccessful chapter in terms of financial gain, other than Snow White and Dumbo. In fact, Dumbo was originally supposed to be a short film but was made longer to make up for the financial losses suffered by Fantasia.

Dumbo by Silvia Damiano.
Figaro the cat done by Emilia Rose.

The films created in this time were all overseen by Walt himself, and helped cement Disney as a leader in animation.

Bambi and Thumper by Jordan Baker.
Dumb and his mother by Mason Stoner.

While Disney films are generally regarded as mainly happy and upbeat, these films all tell quite dark stories and actually contain some quite frightening scenes, especially for the young audiences they were aimed at. I know scenes in Snow White and Pinocchio certainly scared me as a child.

Poison apple from Snow White done by Eugenios Simopoulos.
A creative Thumper portrait by Nicole Robinson.

As tattoos, Disney animation are almost entirely done in new school style, with some realism and more experimental styles also making the cut.

Pinocchio transforming into a donkey done by Gold Marie.

I found no shortage of tattoos from this era of Disney, other than Fantasia, of which I only found tattoos from the newer 2000’s version which will be seen in a later post.

Dumbo and his mother by Mae La Roux.

Which Golden Age film is your favourite?

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Star Wars Tattoos:

May the fourth be with you!

Yoda and baby Yoda done by Ash Lewis in a realistic black and grey style.

There’s no denying that Star Wars is one of the most popular film and television franchises ever made. Here are some Star Wars facts and cool tattoos to help you celebrate today.

Darth Vader done by Ufoo Tattoo.

Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film “The Hidden Fortress” was one of many influences on George Lucas when he was first creating the story for Star Wars. Particularly the fact that both stories are told first from the point of view of lowly characters. The word Jedi is also derived from the Japanese word “Jidaigeki” which refers to the types of films directors like Kurasawa would make.

Cartoon Leia done by Allison Riot.

Harrison Ford wasn’t actually auditioning for the movies at all. George Lucas had him brought in to feed lines to other actors that were auditioning, but liked how he did it so much that he was offered the part of Han Solo.

Black and grey Darth Vader half sleeve done by Jeebby Aponte Quinones.

Orson Welles was almost the voice of Darth Vader, but that was changed when Lucas thought his voice would be too recognizable.

Gangster Chewbacca done by French Xav at Exile Tattoo Parlour.

Robert Englund (most fameus for playing the infamous Freddy Krueger) convinced a young Mark Hamill to audition for the movies after he was rejected for the role of Han Solo.

Luke’s severed hand and his lightsaber done by Chris Hatch.

Early shots of the millennium falcon escaping through an asteroid belt features potatoes spray painted to look like asteroids.

Darth Maul done by Bobby Tripp.

Star Wars features one of the misquoted lines in cinematic history. “Luke, I am your father.” Sound familiar? Well, it’s incorrect. Darth Vader actually says “No, I am your father.”

Kylo Ren and Rey done by Yesenia Concepcion.

Jabba Hutt was so large that he had to be puppeteered by seven people.

Realistic Jar Jar Binks done by Khail Aitken.

The Saga almost ended with Luke donning the Vader mask, but the idea was scrapped as Lucas wanted a happier ending.

Darth Vader and Kylo Ren portrait done by Jordan Baker.

Harrison Ford had been advocating for Han Solo’s death for about 30 years, and he finally got it in “The Force Awakens.”

Which Star Wars movie is your favourite?

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Artist of the month: Josh Sutterby

Banjo frog playing a tune.
Geisha and umbrella.

Josh is an artist specializing in American traditional style tattoos, working out of Love Tattoo Parlour in Melbourne Australia.

Classic dragon
Spiderweb belly button filler.

Josh bases his designs on classic old school art, with a focus on American traditional work. He also creates tattoos with a Japanese influence, done in American traditional style.

Battle Royale back piece.
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Based on Japanese classic, Kintarō wrestling the carp.

Currently (April 2020) Josh (and the rest of the world) is not tattooing, but you can commission paintings by him by sending a DM on Instagram

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American traditional flowers done up in a vase.
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A classic chest ship.

If you’re a fan of old school classics and want your own piece from Josh, whether you live in the Melbourne area or are stopping in on a trip, make sure to set up an appointment with Josh.

A sad hobo clown.
Sweet heart love tattoo.

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Black Metal Tattoos:

The very name “black metal” conjures up images of corpse paint, dark forests, and burning churches.

Behemoth “Evangelion” album cover by Damien Counihan.
A neo traditional burning church done by Alex Dörfler in Germany.

Black metal is a genre of heavy metal that started in the 1980’s with bands like Venom, Bathory, Celtic Frost, and Hellhammer. Coming out of England, Venom’s first two albums “Welcome to Hell” and “Black Metal” are often called the first black metal albums made, especially as Venom coined the term. Bands like the above mentioned formed the first wave of black metal, with the second wave coming out of the 90’s.

Celtic Frost album cover “Morbid Tales” by Mike Roberts at Port’s End, OR.
Gaahl portrait done by Uncle Allan in Berlin

The first wave of black metal was full of satanic words and imagery in their album art, music videos, and merchandise. Basically anti Christianity at its core. The second wave of black metal that came around in the 90’s was much more influenced by Norwegian black metal artist “Euronymous.”

Bathory Goat done by Georgia O at Southern Scars Outlaw Tattoo.
King Diamond portrait done by Ick Abrams.

Darkthrone became one of the most influential death metal bands coming out of the 90’s, despite their first album arguably being death metal. Their sound quickly developed and changed, and they were able to help put Norwegian black metal on the map.

Realistic burning church and skull done by Benjamin Trübner.
Black metal lady head done by Ice Abrams.

Norway is famous for black metal not only because of the music, but also because of what happened in Norway supposedly because of the music. In the 1990’s Norway became famous for the extreme music coming out of the country, and the mayhem its listeners carried out. This included the burning of traditional wooden Norwegian churches called staves. In June 1992 the first church was burned in the name of black metal, followed by three more churches being set ablaze that summer, and over 20 burnings over the course of 4 years by either black metal band members, or fans. Then in 1994, Varg Vikernes of the influential one man black metal band “Burzum” was found guilty of burning down Åsane Church and Stortveit Church in Bergen, Skold church in Vindafjord, and Holmenkollen chapel in Oslo. He was also found guilty of killing Aarseth, but claimed it was self defence.

Burning church by Renko Edge at Clan of Tusk Tattoo in Bruge.
Black metal shadow puppet done by Stephanie Cuevas Lost Harbor Tattoo Shop.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, atmospheric and ambient black metal started becoming more popular thanks to bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, Agalloch, Drudkh, Panopticom, and Alcest.

Darkthrone logo by Benjamin Toner at Hand of Hope Tattoo in Stockport.
Black metal lady and burning church done by Uncle Allan in Berlin.

Black metal has a very particular sound, and the different sub genres and waves of black metal have at least some of them in common. Much of black metal is known for its lower quality production, giving it a very DIY sound. Particularly the early stuff coming out of Norway. They tend to have heavily distorted guitars, lots of reverb, and low end bass (the sound not the instrument). Most black metal also has harsh guttural vocals, and fast pounding drums that are heavy on the double bass and snare.

American traditional burning church by Sebastian Berthe in Regensburg, Germany.
Arch Goat art done by Robert Z from Slovakia.

Some of the most popular black metal bands today (not necessarily still vatic bands) include Behemoth, Darkthrone, Burzum, Bathory, Immortal, Enslaved, and Cradle of Filth.

Portrait of Nergal from Behemoth done by Raul Khasanjanov.
Cute black metal portrait done at Tattoo Eternal Ink in Sweden.

Because black metal in general is either pagan or satanic in its themes, the imagery that comes with it often is too, including tattoos. Popular black metal tattoos include black metal band members, burning churches, skulls, goats, devils, and other pagan or satanic symbols.

Black metal corpse paint by Jose Daniel Valencia Giraldo at Black Lines Matter Columbia.
Burning church by Drew Gäben Hibler tattoo artist at Old Soul Tattoo. Gallatin, TN.

What’s your favourite black metal band?

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Artist of the Month: Alex Dahood

Alex is an artist working out of Santa la Muerte Tattoo in Madrid.

Realistic tiger eyes on the forearm.
Ariel from the Little Mermaid.

He has three styles that he works in, and he does them well. Realism, micro realism, and cartoon.

Micro realistic pooch head with a dash of colour.
The Mad Hatter and Alice, a Disney classic.

His realistic works are heavy on the black and grey, but he does use colour sparingly in these to make certain aspects pop, such as eyes and mouths in portraits of both people and animals.

Full realistic back piece of a snarling tiger. Black and grey with green eyes.

His cartoon pieces are like plucking a screenshot straight out of a movie or show, with great detail and colour throughout.

A classic Homer Simpson piece from Treehouse of Horror.

His micro realism pieces are great for those who want a small tattoo, and the amount of detail he’s able to pack into such a small space is unbelievable.

A portrait of Tupac done in black and grey.

If you’re passing through Madrid don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with Alex via his Instagram linked above.

Joaquin Phoenix’ portrayal of The Joker.

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Boost Your Immune System With Tattoos

Full back done by Joel Soon at Sanctum Tattoo.

Over the last few years there have been numerous studies looking at tattoos and their effect on the immune system.

And for all you fellow tattoo collectors I have good news. Tattoos do in fact have a positive impact on your immune system!

Are they going to keep COVID-19 away from you? Unfortunately, no, but people who have more than one tattoo generally have a stronger and healthier immune system than those who do not.

Full back done by Don Ritson at Rebel Waltz Tattoo.

In one test, a group of 29 people were tested before and after visiting a tattoo shop in Alabama. The researchers tested levels of cortisol, which is one of the body’s indicators of stress levels, as well as Immunoglobin A, which is in simple terms is an antibody that helps our bodies fight infections . This study showed that those going in with no tattoos yet showed a greater strain on their immune system with a dip in their Immunoglobin A levels, while those going in for their second, third, or even tenth or more tattoo, actually experienced a large boost in their Immunoglobin A levels immediately following the tattoo. The full test can be read here “Tattoos to Toughen Up.”

Big Hannya mask done by Hide Ichibay at Three Tides Tattoo.

Another test done in American Samoa by the same researcher took 25 saliva samples at the start and end of tattoo sessions on both tourists and locals getting tattooed. They also measured the tattoo recipients height, weight, and fat density to account for general health. Again, both cortisol and Immonoglobin A were extracted and tested, as well as an inflammatory marker C-reactive protein. A similar finding was concluded here, with Immonoglobin A staying remaining higher in the bloodstream even after tattoos had healed. As well, people with more and larger tattoos tested higher Immonoglobin A levels than those with less or no tattoos prior to the start of getting tattooed. This effect also appears to be dependent on getting multiple tattoos and not just having some time pass after getting tattooed once.

Full front torso done by Rich Hardy.

Of course having lots of tattoos won’t guarantee your health, but based on testing it can be beneficial for general immune health, and in particular skin injuries and health.

Both studies were done by Dr. Christopher Lynn.

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Peaky Blinders Tattoos:

Peaky Blinders is the incredibly popular British tv show following a gang called “The Peaky Blinders” in mainly Birmingham, immediately following the First World War.

Neo traditional Tommy portrait by Paula Canelejo
Tiny realistic portrait of Tommy by Dani Ginzburg

Every episode is written by Steven Knight, and is loosely based on both historical gangs in England, and a story the writers father used to tell him about his grandfather having him deliver notes to his uncles, the Sheldons, who became the shows “Shelbys.”

American traditional Tommy portrait and rose by Matthew Limbers
Shelby skull by Marcello Barros

The history of the “real” peaky blinders differs from place to place, with some sources saying they died out by the 1890s. While they weren’t the ruling gang in Birmingham by the end of World War I, it looks like they probably still existed, even though the bigger “Birmingham Boys” became the top dogs by 1910. Peaky Blinders also eventually became a term to describe all gangs coming out of the Birmingham area. In both the show and real life, the gang is made up of mainly young unemployed men, looking to gain power and money through robbery, violence, and controlling both legal and illegal gambling. In the show many of the men also fought in World War I.

Blackwork Tommy by Valentina
American traditional Arthur done by Edo Sent

The name Peaky Blinders comes from the clothes worn by both the real and fictional gangsters. Their signature style includes tailored jackets, overcoats, waistcoats, silk scarves, bell-bottom trousers, and “peaked” caps. In the show, the gang is famous for sewing razorblades into their caps as their signature weapon, but realistically these blades wouldn’t have been affordable at the time and weren’t used until around 1890, when the Peaky Blinders started to lose power.

American traditional Tommy and flower by Ju Lindien
Large realistic portrait of Tommy by Alexandr Ramm

Many people are drawn to the show for its style, and that translates into the tattoos we see being made. Most Peaky Blinders tattoos are done in a classic traditional style, keeping it bold and classy, just like the show. Other styles include neo traditional, black work, and realism. Most of the tattoos I found are of Tommy, but the other Shelby brothers also make fine pieces.

Neo traditional black and red Tommy and flowers done by Szofi
Black and grey John portrait done by Choc Inked

Who is your favourite character?

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