Artist of the Month: Joey Ramona

Joey Ramona is a tattooer working out of Under My Thumb Tattoos in Toronto. They do old school tattoos while taking lots of inspiration from Jewish culture.

Gorgeous florals in old school colours
Jewish lady head from Joey’s flash

Joey strives to make a welcoming environment for all who wish to get tattooed, regardless of body type, skin tone, gender, etc. They are a fierce defender of Queer folks and also do their part to call out anti-Semitism, particularly in sub cultures of tattooing and alternative music. You can read an interview that features Joey and other Jewish artists here.

Bad ass Jewish heroine, Judith
Jewish lady head and flowers from Joey’s flash

When you check out Joey’s instagram (linked above) you can expect to see lots of flowers, (Jewish) lady heads, and Hebrew script intermingled with classic old school tattoo designs.

Spider lady and flowers
Ketubah-inspired flowers

Now (August 2020) Joey also makes face masks with other local Toronto artists, and has flash, shirts, tote bags, and more available on their Etsy.

Sofa and radio with a cassette around the corner
Healed cow girl, flowers, and dice

Be sure to check them out if you live in Toronto or are passing through!

“kindness” in Hebrew
hand drawn flowers

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Sun Dancer Tattoos:

The Sun Dancer tattoo is an easily recognizable American traditional design, first painted by Bert Grimm, a pioneer of American traditional tattooing who worked from around 1916-1970. An important part of Indigenous history and culture, the Sun Dance is a spiritual ceremony that was and is still very important to different groups, primarily to those of the plains cultures in America and Canada.

Sun Dancer with eagle and heads by Fabio Onorini.
Blackwork back done by Clemens Hahn.

The ceremony is a gruelling but important one, primarily (though not entirely) performed by males. The dancer fasts, going without both food and drink for days at a time, while dancing around a sacred fire and traditional pole meant to represent the sun. Others drum and sing prayers while the dancer dances until exhausted.

Sun Dancer true to Bert Grimm by Kim-Anh.
Backpiece true to Bert Grimm by Gustavo Silvano.

As part of the ceremony, piercing and suspension is also common. This involves a leader piercing rods into the chest or back of the dancer, while they drag a bison head until the skin rips. Other variations involve horses pulling at the rods, or the dancer being suspended from the pole by the rods in their skin. This inspired modern suspension.

Blackwork interpretation by Flurick Ruslan.
Cute foot Sun Dancer by Heath Arnolde.

Often times the dancer would become delirious and hallucinate both from the physical and mental exertion, topped with dehydration and extreme hunger. Unfortunately the ceremony was banned in Canada in 1885 under the Indian Act, but the ban was dropped in 1951, though Indigenous people continue(d) to be treated unfairly. Today the Sun Dance is still performed by some communities.

Sun Dancer with dragon in this piece by Florian Santus.
Big thigh Sun Dancer done by Nick Griffiths.

One of the first examples of this ceremony being painted is Bert Grimm’s Sun Dancer flash and tattoo. The original painting depicts a girl dancing with her left knee raised, right hand holding a spear, with a shield depicting a bald eagle in her left hand. A red sun and traditional roses make up the background.

Sun Dancer and dragon by Rich Hadley.
Skeletal Sun Dancer by Roger Oliveira.

As the design was first made by a pioneer of American traditional tattooing, it is mainly tattooed today in the same style. Though people do take artistic liberties, sometimes including animals or other flowers, and even changing the subject of the tattoo. It is often done as a back tattoo, but can also be seen on arms and legs, usually as still large pieces, though through adaptation artists have created smaller pieces as well.

Punk interpretation in a painting by Miguel Neils.
A more neo traditional animal version of the Sun Dance by Robson Nagata.

To read more about the Sun Dance please check out https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/sun-dance

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Krampus Christmas Tattoos:

You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry… Krampus is coming and he’s much less forgiving than jolly old St. Nicholas.

Done byA dam Hathorn at Big Troube Tattoo in North Park San Diego.
Done by Erin Mealing at Golden Rule Tattoo in Arizona.
Done by Moira Ramone, at 25 To Life Tattoo in the Netherlands.

Krampus is the demonic, German counterpart to St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas is the original Santa Claus; the patron saint of children. European cultures did (and to some degree still do) celebrate(d) St. Nicholas early in December every year. But equally fear(ed) Krampus; the Christmas demon who punishes children. He is usually seen as a massive beast, similar to a Greek satyr or faun, but much more menacing.

Done by Adam Rosenthal in Littleton CO.
Done by Mark Heggie
Done by Morg Armeni Lacrimanera Tattoo Saloon in Firenze.

Krampus stands anywhere from six to eight feet tall, has dark fur with matching long dark hair, huge sharp horns, a long forked tongue, and large hooves.

Done by Ally Liddle Tattoos Newcastle.
Done by Matthew R. Macri

Similar to Santa, Krampus also carries bells, lulling children into a false sense of security. He also carries a bundle of long birch sticks so he can beat children.

Done by Chong Tramontana
Done by Rodney Davis at Westside Tattoo Company.

He saves the worst punishment for the naughtiest children though. Children who are particularly bad get dragged down into the underworld in his large sack to be tortured. Just a bit worse than a lump of coal!

Done by Cody Reed at High Caliber Custom Tattoos in NC.
Done by Rylee West Anderson at Neon Dragon Tattoo in Cedar Rapids.

Krampus arrives on December fifth, which is also known as Krampusnacht. The next day is when St. Nicholas arrives and rewards all the good children.

Done by Debora Cherrys.
Done by Elliot Wells

Krampus is becoming more and more popular thanks to movies and tv episodes dedicated to the beastly Christmas character. People are always looking for a new way to celebrate Christmas, and for those who like the darker side of life, Krampus has become their own Santa Claus.

Done by Anthony Burkhead
Done by Jack Quadri

As a tattoo, Krampus is often done in blackwork style to emphasize how dark and menacing he is. Though American and Neo traditional styles are also quite popular. Krampus is also usually just depicted as a head, but is sometimes seen full-bodied and carrying children in his sack.

Done by Beebo at Rick Walter’s World Famous Tattoo.
Done by Matt Nemeth in Richmond VA.

Who will you be hoping to see this Christmas season; Santa, or Krampus?

Artist of the Month: Jack Peppiette

Jack is a black work artist working out of Insider Tattoo in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Peony in the ditch.
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Back of the neck and across the shoulders in a more Polynesian layout.
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Two cuffs, leading onto the hand.
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Heavy black and some dot and linework in this sleeve, featuring mandalas.
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Lots of flowers!
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Gorgeous hand and cuff piece.

Jack uses geometric patterns, adding flowers, mandalas, solid bands of black, and sometimes religious icons.

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Healed and heavy on the black.
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Chest piece with laurels.
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Gorgeous finished Ganesha back piece.
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Flowers and collar.
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Matching shoulder peony flowers.
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Detailed back of the neck piece, all the way up onto the bottom of the head.

Jack has incredible attention to detail, making large pieces filled with incredible line and dotwork.

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Ganesha and geometric patterns.
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Healed full sleeve with sacred geometry.

Jack does do some smaller pieces, but most of them are fairly large. Such as sleeves, backs, half sleeves, and chest pieces.

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Beautiful face tattoo.
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3/4 sleeve with lots of dotwork for the shading.
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Forearms added to existing pieces leading onto the hands.
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Mandalas, dots, and lines on the legs, leading onto the feet.

Jack is a must visit artist if you are in Scotland.

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.

Baphomet Tattoos:

Baphomet today is regarded as a Satanic figure, but for a long time Baphomet was actually a word for the prophet Mohammed in Islam, and worshipping a Muslim god or prophet was seen as idolatry. The Knights of Templar were accused of worshipping Baphomet the false idol in Medieval France, and were tortured under King Philip.

baphomet Daniel Baczewski
Baphomet head by Daniel Baczewski.
baphomet Róbert A Borbás
Brilliant back of the head and neck piece by Róbert A Borbás.
JASON OZ in Denver Colorado
Majestic Baphomet head done on the skull by Jason Oz in Denver Colorado.
Matthew Murray, Black Veil Tattoo, Salem Massechusetts
Amazing long bearded Baphomet head by Matthew Murray, Black Veil Tattoo, Salem Massachusetts.

Over the next 500 years, Baphomet changed from Mohammed the prophet, to a hermaphroditic stone figure borrowed from Egypt or the Gnostic Christian Ophites. This was after both scholars and mystics studied the Knights of Templar, writing that the Knights brought back ancient magical knowledge from the middle East and North Africa. The idol in question was called Baphomet in 1818, and were most likely just misidentified artifacts from other cultures and religions.

Patrick Toussaint Melbourne
Fantastic blackwork/linework full bodied Baphomet by Patrick Toussaint in Melbourne.
Anka Lavriv at Black Iris Tattoo in New York
Blackwork goat head by Anka Lavriv at Black Iris Tattoo in New York.
baphomet Brooke Ashliegh at Binx Tattoo
Pentagram, goat skull, and flowers by Brooke Ashliegh at Binx Tattoo.
Frederico Rabelo in Portugal
Large Black Philip torso piece by Frederico Rabelo in Portugal.

But the final Baphomet that we picture today was created in 1854 by occultist Eliphas Levi for his book “Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie” (“Dogmas and Rituals of High Magic“).  Levi describes Baphomet in detail in his book.”The goat on the frontispiece carries the sign of the pentagram on the forehead, with one point at the top, a symbol of light, his two hands forming the sign of hermetism, the one pointing up to the white moon of Chesed, the other pointing down to the black one of Geburah. This sign expresses the perfect harmony of mercy with justice. His one arm is female, the other male like the ones of the androgyn of Khunrath, the attributes of which we had to unite with those of our goat because he is one and the same symbol. The flame of intelligence shining between his horns is the magic light of the universal balance, the image of the soul elevated above matter, as the flame, whilst being tied to matter, shines above it. The beast’s head expresses the horror of the sinner, whose materially acting, solely responsible part has to bear the punishment exclusively; because the soul is insensitive according to its nature and can only suffer when it materializes. The rod standing instead of genitals symbolizes eternal life, the body covered with scales the water, the semi-circle above it the atmosphere, the feathers following above the volatile. Humanity is represented by the two breasts and the androgyn arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences.”

baphomet alex tabuns
Large goat head on the torso by Alex Tabuns.
baphomet sakari
Full bodied Baphomet in a fantastic blackwork backpiece by Sakari.
Matthew Kaufmann Drunken Monkey Tattoo, Mixhigan
Bright neo traditional Baphomet head and skulls by Matthew Kaufmann at Drunken Monkey Tattoo in Michigan.
Rodrigo Lopez
Three eyed Baphomet by Rodrigo Lopez.

As a tattoo, people often get the full bodied Baphomet, or a goats head, as goats are often also related to Satanism as well as witchcraft and paganism. Full bodied goats and goat heads are also popular in part thanks to the film The Witch, and the Satanic goat named Black philip. Generally these tattoos are done in blackwork or black and grey but also realism, neo traditional, and American traditional.

baphomet ant walsh
Three eyed goat head and quote by Ant Walsh in a neo traditional style.
forest ink tattoo, South Korea
Baphomet head and snake done at forest ink tattoo, South Korea.
Vince Genois Panthere Noire Limoilou:Quebec
American traditional take on Baphomet by Vince Genois Panthère at Noire Limoilou, Québec.
Nestor Gonzalez at Sailor's grave in Costa Rica
Huge American traditional stomach Baphomet and dagger by Nestor Gonzalez at Sailor’s grave in Costa Rica.
Tatiana Esmeralda Marcum Tattooer at Iron Rite
Full bodied Baphomet with a little bit of colour done by Tatiana Esmeralda Marcum Tattooer at Iron Rite.

Which style is your favorite?

Anubis Tattoos:

Anubis is the ancient Egyptian god/guardian of the dead. The name Anubis actually comes from the Greek, but the earliest Egyptian names for him include Anpu, or Inpu. Both have the same root word which means “royal child”, and “inp” which means “to decay”.

Anubis Agny Fran at Black Velvet Studio Salon in De Santiago, Chile
Watercolor Anubis done by Agny Fran at Black Velvet Studio in De Santiago, Chile.

He is generally depicted as a black, jackal-dog-man hybrid, with the body of a man and head of a jackal/dog. The colour black was chosen for its symbolism of both decaying bodies, and the soil along the Nile river.

Anubis Andrew Conner
More American traditional version of Anubis by Andrew Conner.

Anubis is first seen as the son of Ra and Hesat, before he is brought into the story of Osiris, and said to be his son.

Anubis Bryan Hidalgo Reyes
Black and grey full bodied Anubis by Bryan Hidalgo Reyes.

Anubis is the earliest god depicted on tomb walls, usually presiding over the mummification process, or weighing of the soul. This is the process in which a persons soul is weighed against the feather of truth.

Anubis Codrea Bogdan
Brilliant black and grey Anubis and Ra by Codrea Bogdan.

Anubis is both judge and guide of the dead. Making him an authoritative figure, as well as a protector. This makes him one of the most important gods in Egyptian history.

Anubis Dany Linhares in Brazil
Neo traditional Anubis by Dany Linhares in Brazil.

Later in history he was partially adopted into Greek mythology, associating him with Hermes.

Anubis Dono B in Seoul, South Korea
Blackwork skeletal Anubis by Dono B in Seoul, South Korea.

As a tattoo, Anubis is often done in blackwork, black and grey, neo traditional, water colour, and realism styles.

Anubis Fatima Oliveira
Neo traditional Anubis by Fatima Oliveira.
Anubis Heather Bailey at Black Heart in San Francisco, CA
Heavy matching black/dark colour Anubis and Bastet by Heather Bailey at Black Heart in San Francisco, CA.
Anubis Mario Farfán Calderón ar
Black/dotwork Anubis head by Mario Farfán Calderón at Blackmoon Custom Tattoo in Mexico.
Anubis Melissa Flattinger Corpsepainter Tattoo and Piercing in Munich, Germany
Realistic black and grey Anubis by Melissa Flattinger at Corpsepainter Tattoo and Piercing in Munich, Germany.
Anubis Meza Cruz in Mexico
Realistic black and grey Anubis head by Meza Cruz in Mexico.
Anubis Miss Poppy in the Netherlands
Neo traditional Anubis head and scarab beetle by Miss Poppy in the Netherlands.
Anubis Ráa Fernandes in Tokyo Japan
Black and grey sketchwork Anubis head by Ráa Fernandes in Tokyo, Japan.
Anubis Shawn Qin Cat Town Tattoo South Korea
American traditional Anubis by Shawn Qin at Cat Town Tattoo in South Korea.
Anubis Yeray Perez in Sitges, Barcelona
Brilliant neo traditional Anubis by Yeray Perez in Sitges, Barcelona.

Which is your favorite?

Goddess Kali Tattoos:

Kali is a Hindu goddess often misconstrued as a goddess of death. While she does bring about the death of the ego and demons, she does not kill humans. She is the counterpart of the more violent deity Shiva the destroyer, both of whom are the destroyers of unreality. Kali is depicted as a woman with a garland of skulls or heads, and dismembered arms, because the ego arises out of identification with the body. She also is usually seen with black or dark blue skin, which symbolizes the womb of which all creation arises and into which all creation will eventually dissolve into. So she is often mistaken as a fearsome deity, she is actually a motherly figure.

As a tattoo Kali is often done in American traditional style, neo-traditional, black and grey, or realism.

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Neo-traditional Kali by Aaron Riddle at Black Lotus Tattooers in Phoenix, Arizona.
kali-andrew-strychnine
American traditional, less angry Kali by Andrew Strychnine at Redrum Tattoo Collective in Moscow.
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Unfinished black and grey Kali back piece by Dan Molloy in Perth, Australia.
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Mostly black Kali by Joe Ellis at Sacred Electric Custom Tattooing in Leeds, UK.
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Full colourful Kali back piece by Natalia Litvinenko.
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Dark American traditional Kali head by Philip Yarnell at Skynyard Tattoos, UK.
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Full bodied version of Kali by Steven Huie at Flyrite Tattoo.
kali-tom-caine
Another unfinished Kali back piece by Tom Caine at Holy mountain Tattoo, UK.
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Full rib panel Kali head by Andrew Fyfe at Main Street Tattoo Collective in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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A much more motherly version of Kali by Lucy Pryor at Into You Tattoo & Piercing in London, UK.

Virgin Mary Tattoos:

In the Christian faith Mary is the mother of Jesus, also called mother of God.

In the story of Christmas Mary is visited by an angel and told she will give birth to the son of God.  Jesus is then born in a barn, amongst animals and wisemen. Throughout the bible Mary is constantly seen at her son’s side during his soteriological journey.

Images of Mary often show her praying, or mourning the death of Jesus, sometimes crying tears of blood. She is also often seen wearing blue, crown of 12 stars, pregnant, or surrounded by roses.

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Crying black and grey Mary and angel by david Drohan at Kingdom of Ink in the UK.

Artists such as Michelangelo and Botticelli, and now, tattoo artists all around the world.

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Neo traditional Mary in mourning by Jacob Gardner from Australia.

In tattoo form Mary is often done in black and grey realism, photo realism, American traditional, or neo traditional.

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Black traditional Mary on the back of a head, done by Chris Stuart at Ace Custom Tattoo.
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Full body black and grey Mary with roses and stars by James Armstrong at Holy Mountain Tattoo in the UK.
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Realistic black and grey praying Mary and Rosary by Seyer at Living Dreams Tattoo.
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Realistic black and grey Mary and dove by Tomas Sanchez Pineiro.
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Black and grey Mary with script on the scalp by Nene.
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American traditional Mary with rose by Kanye Sherwood at Flamin’ Eight in London.
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Dark traditional Mary with Sacred Heart by Philip Yarnell at Skynyard Tattoos, UK.
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Full American traditional back piece of Mary with Christ by Zach Nelligan in Austin, Texas.

Which is your favorite?