Artist of the Month: Lera Ooqza

Lera is an artist from Moscow, Russia. Her specialty is blackwork, particularly Asian inspired horror.

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Japanese Yōkai featuring a couple of lantern demons and terrifying head.
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Terrifying demon woman.
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Incredibly dark blackwork demon and monsters.
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Japanese geisha demon with a geometric kimono.
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Detailed moth and moon.
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Shoulder flowers with eyeballs.
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Japanese inspired demon with too many hands!

Most of her work takes on a dark theme, such as ghosts, demons, and skeletons.

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Skeleton and nude woman. Some fantastic details in there.
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Peony flowers covering up old scars.
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Robotic severed hand and knife.
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Sternum moth.
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Maneki-neko cat from Japan.
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Heavy blackwork goldfish.

When she isn’t doing blackwork, her other work is quite delicate, including flowers and other natural plants.

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Delicate pink rose.
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Cute mushrooms!

Lera has an incredible attention to detail, with an eye for the supernatural and spooky!

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Queen of hearts meets gruesome death.
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Creepy goblet of blood.
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Namakubi with incredible linework in the hair.
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Small butterfly with some great dotwork detail.
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Some brilliant kanji with great hand placement.
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Split lion head with a distinct Asian style.

Lera is a must see artist for your creepy blackwork needs.

Artist of the Month: Zhuo Dan Ting

Zhuo Dan Ting is the owner of Shanghai Tattoo as of January 2007 (located in Shanghai, China) where she tattoos people from all around the world. People seek out her art from far and wide, and are not disappointed with the results.

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Black and grey baby portrait.
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Realistic elephant half sleeve.
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Black and grey bio mechanical sleeve.

Zhuo Dan Ting has been an artist since an early age, where her father (an art teacher himself) and his friends would teach her new techniques. She went on to art school in Harbin after high school, but quickly moved onto something entirely different.

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Black and grey Asian leg sleeve featuring Fu Dog, peony, and great wall of China.
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Bio mechanical/ripped skin/ realism back piece!
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Bright dragon and flower half sleeve.
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Amazing realistic Greek Poseidon sleeve.

Ting found the subcultures of death metal and punk music, which is where she fell in love with tattoos. Ting started off tattooing her friends in Harbin’s underground music scene, where she quickly started making a name for herself in the tattoo world.

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Full black and grey realistic sleeve with monster, lightning, waves, etc.
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Ting doing her thing, tattooing a painful chest piece!
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Surrealist color sleeve with angel, skull, and watercolor.
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Color realism owl, skull, and eyeball half sleeve.

Ting does brilliant black and grey, photo realism, portrait art, and Asian styled pieces inspired by both Chinese and Japanese art. Along with making beautiful art, Ting was also the first woman in China to open her own tattoo shop, a big step for the Chinese tattoo community!

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Black and grey Monkey King half sleeve.
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Realistic color eye.
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Brilliant Japanese style peony flower.
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Realistic Japanese/Chinese style dragon sleeve.
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Realistic portrait.
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Terrifying zombie clown portrait.

If you’re in Shanghai, Shanghai Tattoo is the place to go!

Artist of the Month: Apro Lee

Apro Lee is a tattoo artist from South Korea. He tattoos in Seoul in a private studio called Black Mark It. He has been tattooing since 2005, and doing only blackwork since 2007.

Tattooing in South Korea is still illegal, making it difficult as you can imagine for someone to make a living as a tattoo artist. Only a person with a doctor’s license can be a tattoo artist. Police don’t bother artists unless someone actually reports them. People who usually do the reporting are often other tattoo artists looking to get rid of competition, or neighborhood gangs. If an artist is reported and apprehended, they usually have to pay a fine as well as have all their equipment taken from them, but they can also face months of prison time. Despite tattooing being a crime, it is estimated that there are at least 20,000 tattoo artists working in illegal studios throughout South Korea.

Apro Lee decided to become a tattoo artist while serving his mandatory military time. He saw a portrait of Kurt Cobain on the internet, and it amazed him that tattoos could be something other than tribal or dragons and other iconic Japanese pieces, for gangsters. Apro has loved drawing and art since he was a child, and found that tattoos were the right fit for him.

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Since tattooing for all intents and purposes is still illegal in Korea, Apro learned how to tattoo online in 2005 from someone who was willing to teach Apro and a few others through the internet. After that Apro went to work in Westside Tattoo in Brisbane, Australia, learning from owner Matt Cunnington.

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Korean tiger and arrows

Apro started by doing realistic black and grey pieces, but now almost solely does bold blackwork. One of Apro’s signature designs is the Korean tiger, which features hard bold black lines, and intricate dotwork to create a stunning tiger in the Korean style. The contorted tiger represents government, and is usually featured with a magpie which represents a person laughing in its face.

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Black and grey realistic skull
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Huge tiger and magpie
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Neck tiger and magpie

Apro wanted to show people that Korea has their own art style, as Chinese and Japanese art largely dominates Western ideas of what Asian art is. Apro has been a guest tattooer in Europe, Australia, America, and all over Asia, spreading the Korean style of tattooing. Apro always tells people the meaning of the tattoos he is giving people, and wants to spread Korean culture as much as possible.

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Korean style sleeve
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Korean style blackwork clouds

Apro also tattoos many nooses on his clients, and has one on himself as well. The noose on himself signifies the fact that in his country he is technically a criminal, but the part where the noose is cut means that he has survived, or that he will survive it. On clients this can stand for many things throughout a life that has been tough.

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Bold black noose