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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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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Serial Killer Tattoos:

Most people are horrified by the thought of serial killers. There have been some truly terrifying and disgusting people; people who have done awful things. So it’s normal to be repulsed by them. But some people are drawn to this darker side of humanity. Many people want to know why and how someone could take another’s life. Some also try to relate to killers and humanize them. Making them pseudo-celebrities.

Jem Owner of Dissident Art 14 in New Zealand
Serial killer sleeve done by Jem, Owner of Dissident Art 14 in New Zealand.

Here are some of the most notorious and well-known serial killers; immortalized in skin.

Rick Vicious owner of INk-Slingas Tattoo
Another serial killer sleeve, this one done by Rick Vicious,owner of INk-Slingas Tattoo.

H.H Holmes is one of America’s most well-known serial killers. Holmes was convicted of 9 murders, confessed to 27, but is thought to have killed up to 200. He is known for building a “murder hotel”. In 1887 he constructed a hotel full of passages, dead ends, and trap doors. People would check in, get lost and wander the hotel sometimes for days at a time before he would finally kill them. In May 1896 Holmes was hanged for his crimes.

Phil Kaulen (H.H. Holmes)
A blackwork and terrifying Holmes done by Phil Kaulen.
Anrijs Straume Bold as Brass tattoo (H.H. Holmes)
Dark hyper realistic Holmes and his hotel done by Anrijs Straume at Bold as Brass Tattoo.

Richard Ramírez, also known as the “Night Stalker” brutally attacked and killed people in Los Angeles from 1984-1985. He was a known Satan worshipper, known for drawing pentagrams in blood in the homes of his victims. Ramírez was charged with 14 counts of burglary, 11 sexual assaults, 5 attempted murders, and 13 murders.  His youngest victim was a 9 year old girl, and his oldest were a couple in their 60’s. He was sentenced to death and was on death row for 23 years before he died due to complications from lymphoma in 2013.

siobhan (Richard Ramierez)
Ramírez and his famous pentagram, featuring devil horns. Done by Siobhan.

Jeffrey Dahmer, known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, was an American serial killer and sex offender who raped, murdered, dismembered, and ate parts of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Along with cooking and eating parts of his victims, he also committed necrophilia on a number of the bodies. Dahmer was finally caught and convicted after a would be victim was able to over power him and call the police. In 1992 he was convicted of murder and given 15 life sentences. He died two years into his sentence when he was beaten to death by a fellow inmate.

Po Zhang (Jeffrey Dahmer)
Dahmer portrait done by Po Zhang.

Ted Bundy was an American serial killer and rapist who terrorized women and young girls during the 1970’s. Bundy was described as charming and handsome. He would lure his victims into secluded areas and then overpower them where he would sexually assault them and finally murder them. He decapitated at least 12 of his victims and kept the heads in jars in his apartment as trophies. Bundy was actually caught twice, escaping police and a court house, committing three more murders before finally being caught for good. He admitted to killing 36 people but it is believed he killed up to and possibly more than 100 people. He was put to death in 1989, by electric chair in Florida.

Zel Tattoo (Ted Bundy)
Bundy and chrysanthemum flower done by Zel Tattoo.
Ted Bundy Steve Ropp Waynes Tattoo World Derry
Black and grey portrait of Bundy in court done by Steve Ropp Waynes at Tattoo World in Derry.

John Wayne Gacy, also known as “Pogo the Clown”, and, “The Killer Clown”, was an American serial killer from Chicago. He sexually assaulted and murdered 33 teenagers and young men 1972 and 1978. He was a trusted member of his community and was even involved in local politics. Gacy was also a party clown and would perform for children. He would lure his victims to his home with the promise of work before strangling them, then burying their bodies in his crawlspace. Gacy was convicted of 33 murders and was given the death sentence. He died by lethal injection in 1994 after spending 14 years on death row.

Jan Veldman (John Wayne Gacy)
Pogo (Gacy) done by Jan Veldman at Gypsy Cat Tattoo in Winnipeg Manitoba.
Jonathan Hernandez at tattoo lab in Culver City (John Wayne Gacy)
Another creepy Pogo done by Jonathan Hernandez at Tattoo Lab in Culver City.

Edward (Ed) Gein, also known as “The Butcher of Plainfield”, was an American murder known for exhuming corpses from the local graveyard and creating decorations for his home from their bodies. He did also murder two women, but he is not actually a serial killer; though most people include him in their list due to his macabre hobby of crafting decorations made from corpses. Ed Gein also inspired Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses and Tone Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Gein lost all of his family members, but it was when his mother died that he truly seemed to “lose it”. He boarded up rooms used by her to keep them in pristine condition, but quickly let the rest of the house fall into disrepair, and started filling it with macabre creations such as lamps made from bones, with lampshades made of human skin. Upon further inspection done by police, Gein had also covered chairs in human skin, put skulls on his bedposts, made bowls from skulls, masks made from female faces, and Mary Hogan’s face in a bag, and her skull in a box. Mary was one of Gein’s two victims. Other more gruesome items were also found in his home. He killed Mary Hogan in 1954, and Bernice Worden in 1957. He was found unfit to stand trial and put in a psychiatric hospital where he remained until he died at age 77 in 1984 from cancer of the liver.

Javi Aiwass (Ed Gein)
Ed Gein and his creepy farm house done by Javi Aiwass.

Charles Manson is one of the most famous people on this list. He was a cult leader in California. Manson spent half of his life in correctional facilities for various crimes before trying to make it as a musician in California. He worked briefly with the drummer from The Beach Boys and recorded a few short albums of his own. Manson believed in “Helter Skelter”, a term he stole form The Beatles song. He used it to describe an impending race war he thought would happen. To start this war he convinced a number of young people to murder 7 people for him. These were people who followed his cult. Manson was charged with the murder of 2 people, and for the murder of 7 others, even though he did not actually kill them. His band of followers were known as the “Manson Family”, and they are most famous for brutally murdering actress Sharon Tate, Gary Hinman, and others. The “family” was also responsible for numerous thefts, assaults, and the attempted murder of President Gerald Ford. Manson was given the death sentence, but it was later ruled unconstitutional. He was in prison from 1971-2017 where he died from natural causes. Manson continued to have followers in prison and had hundreds of people (mainly women) writing to him.

Adam Williams (Charles Manson)
Blackwork Manson head done by Adam Williams.

Sweet dreams…

Tattoo Bodysuits:

A bodysuit is the ultimate way for a tattoo collector to show their dedication to the craft. A bodysuit is most often done as one cohesive piece, usually in one style. But some people do start getting tattooed without the intention of having a bodysuit, then end up growing into it.

Adam Craft at The Tattooed Heart
Japanese bodysuit done by Adam Craft at The Tattooed Heart.
Frank Lewis Montreal
The late Rick Genest’s bodysuit done by Frank Lewis in Montreal Canada.
MATT JORDAN SHIP SHAPE TATTOO
Hyper realistic suit completed by Matt Jordan at Ship Shape Tattoo.
Samuel Christensen
Brilliant black work/tribal bodysuit done by Samuel Christensen.

Japanese is the most well known style for creating bodysuits. Done by one artist, tied together with background work such waves, clouds, and other nature themes.

back by Shige at Yellow Blaze in yokohama. Sleeves unknown
Back and legs done by Shige at Yellow Blaze in Yokohama.
Guy Le Tattooer
The recognizable line work of Guy Le Tattooer.
Nissaco
Black work and geometric bodysuit done by Nissaco in Osaka.
Tomas Tomas Seven Doors London
Black work/tribal bodysuit done by Tomas Tomas at Seven Doors Tattoo in London.

More recently black work is becoming more popular for full bodysuits. Either heavy black work or smaller pieces.

Collaboration piece between Gerhard Wiesbeck and Little Swastika
Heavy black work torso and arm piece. A collaboration between Gerhard Wiesbeck and Little Swastika.
Jason Butcher immortal ink tattoo studio
Beautiful black and grey bodysuit done by Jason Butcher at immortal ink tattoo studio.
Paco Dietz Tattoo Artist, Oil Painter, Sculptor. Santa Clara, Ca
Colourful bio mechanical bodysuit done by Paco Dietz in Santa Clara, Ca.
Valerio Cancellier
Heavy black work done by Valerio Cancellier.

Similarly people get bodysuits of American traditional pieces. Hundreds of small pieces filling up a body to make it look more or less like one huge suit.

Cory Ferguson Good Point Tattoo Ontatio Canada
Geometric and dotwork done by Cory Ferguson at Good Point Tattoo in Ontario Canada.
Julian Siebert Corpsepainter Tattoo Munich:Germany
Arm, Back, and leg done by Julian Siebert at Corpsepainter Tattoo Munich, Germany.
PIERLUIGI DELIPERI
Black/geometric bodysuit done by Pierluigi Deliperi.

Black and grey, neo traditional, and realism styles are also being used for bodysuits now, making for eye popping artwork.

Duncan X
Black work torso and shoulders done by Duncan X in the UK.
Koji Ichimaru
Full body Japanese suit with lots of black done by Koji Ichimaru.
Rich Hadley UK
American traditional bodysuit done by Rich Hadley in the UK.

The word bodysuit may make you think of really a full body covered in tattoos, but it also refers to torso pieces that lead onto the arms, and/or legs.

Gakkin
Beautiful and heavy black work nature themed bodysuit done by Gakkin.
Lupo Horiokami Italy at mushin studio
Heavy black Japanese done by Lupo Horiokami Italy at mushin studio.
Rich Hardy UK
American traditional mostly black work torso and arms done by Rich Hardy in the UK.

Which bodysuit is your favourite?

Frankenstein Tattoos:

Frankenstein is a story that has delighted and frightened readers since 1818, now two hundred years!

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An electrifying monster done by Nikko Hurtado.
️Kyle ‘EGG_ Williams, Uk ,Grindhouse tattoo productions
A gorgeous realistic black and grey piece of the monster and a man with a torch. Done by Kyle Williams at Grindhouse Tattoo in the UK.
Jordan Croke Second Skin Tattoo, Derby UK
A very blue Bride of Frankenstein done by Jordan Croke at Second Skin Tattoo in Derby UK.
Jordan Croke
Another one done by Jordan Croke.

Frankenstein is the story of a mad doctor that brings the dead back to life. Only to find that he has made a monster.

Alejandro Mazakre
Neo traditional green monster done by Alejandro Mazakre.
Keely Rutherford London
Cute blackwork love tattoo by Keely Rutherford in London.
Tom Chippendale
An adorable monster out for some Halloween fun done by Tom Chippendale.

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was 18, and had it published when she was 20. She wrote it for a writing contest for ghost stories, and she shocked the world!

Audie Fulfer jr. tattoo artist in Fresno CA
Terrifying realistic and colourful monster done by Audie Fulfer jr. Tattoo artist in Fresno CA.
Kyle Cotterman
A realistic and bruised looking monster done by Kyle Cotterman at Distinction Tattoo in Kettering Ohio.

When the book initially came out, readers were disgusted and horrified, but by 1823 it became widely popular, as gothic literature was becoming all the rage.

Bob Tyrrell
Black and grey portrait by Bob Tyrrell.
Mike DeVries (@mikedevries_art) @MDTattooStudio
The monster under candlelight done by Mike DeVries at MDTattooStudio.

In 1910 the first Frankenstein film was made by Thomas Edison, a one-reel 15 minute short film, thought by some to be the first horror movie.

Debora Cherrys
Neo traditional portrait of the monster and his bride done by Debora Cherrys in Madrid.
Nicholas Keiser •Materia Tattoo @materiatattoo -Downingtown ,PA
A very colourful neo traditional monster and rose done by Nicholas Keiser at Materia Tattoo in Downingtown ,PA.

Many others have been made including Frankenstein in 1931, Bride of Frankenstein in 1935, Son of frankenstein in 1939, The Ghost of Frankenstein in 1942, and many more!

Fredao Oliveira
Brutal blackwork 3/4 sleeve of the monster and flowers done by Fredao Oliveira in Brasil.
Nick Sarich
Another green monster, this time done by Nick Sarich at Timeless Tattoos in Chicago.

Fans of gothic literature and horror movies often get Frankenstein tattoos, mainly of the monster, whose name is not actually Frankenstein. Many relate to the monster because he is a misunderstood creature. He may have some violent tendencies, but what he really wants is to be understood and feel love.

Gary Parisi
An electrifying portrait of the Bride of Frankenstein done by Gary Parisi at MAYDAY! Tattoo Co. Chicago.
paul acker
A beautiful Bride of Frankenstein done by Paul Acker at The Séance Tattoo Parlor in Bensalem PA.
franky
The monster also done by Paul Acker.

Frankenstein tattoos are often done in realism, black and grey, neo traditional, and American traditional, as well as black work.

John Claude
A little green monster done in American traditional style by John Claude in Cheltenham, England.
Steve Wimmer
The monster and the castle and storm that created him done by Steve Wimmer at The Grand Reaper in San Diego, CA.

“Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery, and be overwhelmed by disappointments; yet, when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.”
― Mary Wollstonecraft ShelleyFrankenstein

Medusa Tattoos:

According to Greek mythology, Medusa was born a beautiful woman, one of three sisters known as the Gorgons. When she was still human she was a priestess to the goddess Athena. Being a priestess she was sworn to celibacy.

Aaron Breeze
Dark American trad Medusa head done by Aaron Breeze at Life & Death Tattoos Shrewsbury, England.
Gara Happy Lighthouse Seoul Korea
Heavy blackwork Medusa head as a statue done by Gara at Happy Lighthouse Tattoo in Seoul, South Korea.
Lynn Akura Illustrator, tattooing since 1999. Tiger Bones, Brighton UK
Black and red traditional Medusa head done by Lynn Akura at Tiger Bones, Brighton UK.
Zhuo Dan TING Owner-Tattoo artist at Shanghai Tattoo
Full hyper realistic black and grey backpiece done by Zhuo Dan Ting at Shanghai Tattoo in Shanghai, China.

So how did a beautiful maiden turn into the monster we’re all familiar with? Medusa was really a victim, and turning into a monster was not at all her fault, but the god of the sea, Poseidons. Poseidon met Medusa and was immediately infatuated. He tried over and over again to seduce Medusa, who refused each time. Finally Medusa sought refuge in Athena’s temple to get away from Poseidon. Poseidon didn’t care and went after her, following her into the temple of Athena, where he forced himself on her against her will.

Abel Sanchez
Neo trad Medusa head and rose done by Abel Sanchez at Red Dagger Tattoo in Texas.
Dave Lao Winnipeg,Manitoba,Canada Lone Wolf Studios
Realistic black and grey Medusa done by Dave Lao at Lone Wolf Studios in Winnipeg, Canada.
Kike Esteras
Black and yellow Medusa piece by Kike Esteras at Black Ship in Barcelona.
Shio Zaragoza
Neo trad Medusa head done by Shio Zaragoza at Blessed Tattoo in Spain.

To punish Medusa for having relations inside her temple, Athena turned Medusa into a monster. A woman with snakes for hair that could turn any who looked upon her directly into stone. Seeing herself as a hideous monster, Medusa fled, shunned by all, wandering alone. In her despair her character turned into the monster of her outward appearance.

Alexander Grim
Blackwork decapitated Medusa head done by Alexander Grim.
helena darling halifax Nova Scotia
More elegant looking Medusa by Helena Darling in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Matias Noble in Valencia, Spain
Hyper realistic Medusa piece done by Matias Noble in Valencia, Spain.
Teresa Sharpe
Neo trad Medusa head and Perseus’ sword done by Teresa Sharpe at Unkindness Art in Richmond VA.

Many warriors tried unsuccessfully to slay Medusa, but all were turned to stone, and her reputation grew with each kill. Until Perseus was sent to collect her head and bring it to the king Polydectes. Perseus was given quite a bit of help to complete this task, which the other warriors did not have. He was given a sword smithed by the god Hephaestus, Hades’ helmet of invisibility, winged sandals from Hermes, and a mirrored shield from Athena.

Anderson Luna
Realistic black and grey Medusa on the back of the head done by Anderson Luna in New York.
Jake Danielson from Melbourne, Australia
Large neo trad thigh piece done by Jake Danielson from Melbourne, Australia.
Nik The Rookie
Very bright neo trad Medusa head done by Nik The Rookie.

Perseus was able to slay Medusa by looking at her reflection in the mirrored shield so he could see her coming and not be turned to stone. He decapitated her, and in doing so freed her from Athena’s curse.

Daniel Teixeira
Linework Medusa head done by Daniel Teixeira.
Karlos Lloyd
Dark neo trad piece done by Karlos Lloyd in Australia.
Oash Rodriguez
Heavy black and good use of negative space in this piece by Oash Rodriguez.

As a tattoo Medusa is often done in black and grey, neo traditional, realism, blackwork, and American traditional. She is most often tattooed as just her head, either visibly decapitated or portrait style.

Heath Clifford
Lots of red in this neo trad piece by Heath Clifford at Throne Room Tattoo in New Zealand.
Kati Berlinkey
Black and yellow neo trad piece done by Katie Berlinkey.
Rodrigo Kalaka
Lots of green in this neo trad piece by Rodrigo Kalaka in Barcelona.

Who is your favourite mythological Greek character?

Winnipeg Artist 9: Dave Lao

Dave Lao is a black and grey artist working out of his private studio, Lone Wolf Studios in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Dark religious piece.
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Realistic Greek god/monster back piece.
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Crazy surf tattoo with shark.
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Centaur and flowers.
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Game of Thrones’ Daenerys.

Dave works in realism and sketch work styles. Much of his work is portraiture, such as characters from shows and movies, and lots of animals.

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Roman statue styled piece.
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Eyeball with a space theme.
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Beautiful elephant back piece.
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Angry polar bear.
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Virgin Mary portrait.

Dave has an impeccable attention to detail; with every line counting.

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Terrifying grim reaper.
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Greek/Roman surreal piece.
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Greek god Atlas.
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Portrait/ sketch work style lion.
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Surreal woman portrait and nature themed piece.

Most of his portfolio is made up of somewhat larger pieces, but he will also do smaller tattoos which are just as impressive.

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Nautical themed hand.
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Canadian army memorial piece.
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Realistic king piece.
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Small photo realistic swiss army knife.
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Gas mask and chopper.

Dave is a must see artist for black and grey work in Winnipeg.