Artist of the Month: Nick Oaks

Nick Oaks is a tattooer working out of Bait & Schlang Tattoo in Montreal. His work is as classic as it gets. Filled with big bold dragons, lady heads, roses and skulls.

Classic Sailor Jerry monkey.
Bright and bold back piece featuring a dragon and classic lady.

He takes inspiration from greats such as Sailor Jerry, Tony Polito, E.C. Kidd, and more.

Tony Polito cowboy skull.
Black traditional E.C. Kidd dragon.

Whether you’re looking for black traditional or bright and colourful, Nick can take care of it for you.

Bright geisha head.
Pharaoh’s horses on the stomach.

His Instagram is full of both small one off designs, and large scale work such as back pieces.

Classic lady head.
Panther and snake in battle.

Nick has lots of flash to choose from, and lots of paintings for sale as well.If you’re in Montreal, or going to be, click the link above and check out his Instagram where he has his contact information.

A beautiful tiger, ready for a scrap.
Healed lady head and tiger on the ribs.

Build your own blog using the link below!

Getting Tattooed in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is probably the most interesting city I’ve ever been to. It’s by far the most multicultural, and it’s full of rich and interesting history.

Hong Kong also has a fantastic art scene with artists from around the world finding their style and inspiration in and among Hong Kong’s towering skyscrapers and narrow, winding streets filled with irreplaceable noodle shops, the all-important umbrella repair store, and a thriving tattoo scene.

Arguably some of the best artists in the world reside in Hong Kong, at some of the best and most interesting tattoo shops I have been to yet. This past month I received three different tattoos from two different artists at two different shops in Hong Kong.

Star Crossed tattoo

If you’re getting a tattoo in Hong Kong there’s a good chance you don’t live there and are either just passing through or visiting for a short time. I currently live in mainland China and though it’s only a short train ride into Hong Kong, it is a hassle, and it’s not called the world’s most expensive city for nothing. These two factors combined mean I have only spent around a total of eight days or so in the city, even though I’m so close.

If you are a visitor to the city like myself, then you’ll want to find your artist and get ahold of them well before your visit. I mainly use Instagram to find artists I want to go to, and a quick search on the old gram of “hktattoo” will yield seemingly endless results.

The Company tattoo

Alternatively you can google tattoo artists or shops in Hong Kong and you’ll have similar results. There are a number of artists and shops that will appear first in your searches such as Star Crossed, The Company, Freedom Tattoo, MoFo Tattoo, and Blackout, to name a few. For my own tattoos I chose Star Crossed and The Company.

If you prefer to find your shop one of the old school ways you can also wander through the streets and find ones to walk into, but there’s no guarantee artists will be available as Hong Kong is a bustling place. If you want to find yours by walking then your best bet is taking the metro into Kowloon or Central and starting from there.

The Company tattoo

Once you find your shop and artist send them an Instagram message or email if they prefer and find out if you need a consultation or if you can start talking designs and prices straight away. If you are coming from outside of Hong Kong there is a good chance you’ll have to pay your deposit through PayPal, and this is common practice. I did so for my tattoo on Japan and Hong Kong, both.

Tattoo day has come finally and you’re excited, and possibly nervous if it’s your first tattoo. If you are getting your first tattoo and it’s in Hong Kong I have a few tips for you. 1. If you are like myself and not used to blistering heat then you’re going to want to drink a fair amount of water before your tattoo, and bring a cold drink with you as even with AC some places in Hong Kong can be pretty hot. 2. Sanitation in parts of Asia, including Hong Kong, are a little different compared to Western cities, so you’ll want to make sure the shop has hygienic practices, and afterwards you’ll want to do a good job washing your tattoo with soap and hot water. 3. This one is again to do with the heat. If you’re a sweater then you’ll really want to make sure you clean your tattoo twice a day to make sure it’s not getting caked in sweat while it’s trying to heal.

Myself and Cathy from Star Crossed

At Star Crossed Tattoo I was tattooed by their resident apprentice and local Hong Konger, Cathy (as of July 2019). Cathy tattoos in an American traditional style with an HK twist. I got some script and a good luck piece from Sailor Jerry’s Hong Kong flash that Cathy updated a bit and made her own. If you’re going to get a Chinese character tattoo, make sure you can read it, or get it from an artist who fluently reads and writes the language (that goes for getting a tattoo in any language you don’t actually speak). And this goes both ways, I have also seen people in China with English words tattooed on them that make absolutely no sense. Don’t be that person. The script I got reads jiāyóu, which literally means “add oil”, but is used to say “you got this” or, “keep fighting”. Cathy’s work is often inspired by punk music, and she has many punk rock pin-up ladies you can choose from to get tattooed on you. She mixes old school motifs with a bit of a Neo-traditional colour scheme. Meaning my Sailor Jerry piece has some popping blue and green in there in addition to the black, red, and yellow. Cathy is extremely friendly and Star Crossed has an open and inviting atmosphere. I highly recommend checking it out.

A Sailor Jerry re work done by Cathy
Chinese characters from Cathy

The next shop I visited was The Company. I was tattooed by black work artist James Lau, another Hong Konger, born and raised. James tattoos in a heavy black work style, using thick, bold lines and dark shading to create stunning original pieces. James is known for tattooing finger and palm pieces that really last. James is also a very friendly guy, joking and inviting as soon as the door of the shop opens. The Company has a similar open-floor plan to Star Crossed, so the whole place is very free and open feeling. The Company is also a must visit shop in Hong Kong.

James and the finished product on me!
Heavy black work piece on the back of my neck done by James

Artist of the Month: Jack Peppiette

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

18579816_658547777672962_6956156894054449152_n
Peony in the ditch.
19762006_941756909295449_8768800600985960448_n
Back of the neck and across the shoulders in a more Polynesian layout.
29739930_1809539596007238_3320500226548039680_n
Two cuffs, leading onto the hand.
31326640_167827533896775_141134476477464576_n
Heavy black and some dot and linework in this sleeve, featuring mandalas.
31425431_165698597448727_2396788774202769408_n
Lots of flowers!
33940710_1832213170414896_2974634988466601984_n
Gorgeous hand and cuff piece.

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

19227577_1943671182575560_9065200859633156096_n
Healed and heavy on the black.
19933230_1972013243032774_9180370064078012416_n
Chest piece with laurels.
30077646_198874834172061_7406293720355569664_n
Gorgeous finished Ganesha back piece.
32406977_192678431454143_424557250921627648_n
Flowers and collar.
33818254_216162039161553_6985703936883687424_n
Matching shoulder peony flowers.
35575617_262802347801313_5490443379525287936_n
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.

19367438_174429829761533_6561384335092482048_n
Ganesha and geometric patterns.
20836937_135914673680445_4144081276665593856_n
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.

19379771_446414652402828_3018685306925744128_n
Beautiful face tattoo.
29737919_766575703549928_6041027963187625984_n
3/4 sleeve with lots of dotwork for the shading.
30602859_430952954022106_464393708247187456_n
Forearms added to existing pieces leading onto the hands.
36086310_1999907326898476_3114367424409894912_n
Mandalas, dots, and lines on the legs, leading onto the feet.

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

Artist of the Month: Susanne König

Susanne is a tattooer at Redwood Tattoo Studio in Manchester. She does fine linework, dotwork, and blackwork. All of her tattoos use only black ink, but her intricate dotwork make a great contrast to the heavy black.

30830476_2042295312458586_7139974046849957888_n
A girl and her cat, the start and the moon.
34420592_1804736559617761_8728482385768742912_n
Victorian octopus lady looking very serious.
34616850_1629058350537384_4226431240137342976_n
Fantastic night time land and city scape.
32307965_379821199189856_2813399635547127808_n
Gorgeous Venus piece!
31920717_282131112351293_3505305333490778112_n
Lovely jellyfish in a jar.
32247699_993910357439348_4058640122151698432_n
Three adorable foxes cuddling.
32070137_164810507520982_2350098992181805056_n
A girl and her big dog!

Much of her work features popular characters or places from books, film, and tv.

31897696_168446423822566_1657461375976341504_n
Eleven from Stranger Things!
33788417_483777995387390_2867886776075157504_n
Severus Snape wearing Neville’s Grandmother’s clothing.
32287516_347482725775590_3710996290868346880_n
The first years heading to Hogwarts!

She draws much inspiration from histories famous painters, and even does their portraits.

30602831_363613174140176_7518400772032167936_n
Brilliant portrait of Van Gogh with his own sky design as the background.
30841564_1892887094063627_292451010448719872_n
Frida Kahlo as one of her own portraits.
34409125_312406252626780_4878373027600924672_n
Dot and blackwork Picasso vase!
30856202_368157093684418_2131175451018657792_n
Katsushika Hokusai’s wave, one of the most iconic Japanese motifs.

Her whimsical animal portraits are fantastical and heartwarming, such as space narwhales, dogs in space, dinosaurs in clothing, etc.

26388215_538511883177399_8461765019766358016_n
Sloth bathing in some tasty ramen!
29415394_575317139496547_7503021031016103936_n
Super cool badger rocking out.
29417315_1505902186198686_5393927604594016256_n
Pirate kitty!!
30085427_192864924774379_5983002237759127552_n
Narwhale with a cool space theme.
34982582_252942768809628_7959071292844408832_n
Brachiosaurus in some fancy clothes.
33740385_256699644896959_5627538593879687168_n
Very pretty mermaid.
33091110_192623124698042_1737405393258151936_n
A heavily tattooed and bearded merman.

Susanne is a must see artist if you’re in Manchester!

Raven Tattoos

Ravens make for a bold tattoo. They are often linked to death and mystic symbolism in more ancient literature and folklore.

Alessandro Micci
Raven and Japanese hannya mask done by Alessandro Micci.
Cedric Weber
Neo traditional raven and hand by Cedric Weber.
Hans Heggum
stomach raven done by Hans Heggum.
Pari Corbitt
Dark chest raven done by Pari Corbitt.
Debora Cherrys.png
Edgar Allan Poe and raven done by Debora Cherrys.

Many cultures believed that the raven had magical qualities including knowing the answers to powerful secrets.

Akos
Neo traditional raven paired with a tiger and a skull. Done by Akos at Adorned Empire.
Bryan Nirvana Tattoo Studio in Glasgow, Scotland
Treehouse of horror Bart Simpson raven done by Bryan at Nirvana Tattoo Studio in Glasgow, Scotland.
Heath Clifford
Two headed raven done by Heath Clifford.
Mitchell Allenden
Raven in a noose done by Mitchell Allenden.

Ravens can also be associated with wisdom and intelligence as they are extremely smart birds, capable of even mimicking human voices.

Andre Cast
Head raven done by Andre Cast.
David Le Goon
Raven paired with bright flowers done by David Le Goon.
Jason James Smith
Raven with geometric border done by Jason James Smith.
Oshin Timoshin
More delicate dotwork raven and flowers done by Oshin Timoshin.

Ravens can be a symbol of protection, pagan magic, the future, secrets, an omen of death, light/shadow, war, intelligence, and pain.

Andrew Borisuk
Huge torso raven done by Andrew Borisuk.
Dino Nemec
Black and white ravens done by Dino Nemec.
Laura Yahna
Heavy blackwork and pagan raven done by Laura Yahna.
Robert Borbas
Bold mastectomy coverup raven done by Robert Borbas.

Mythologies and religions associated with the raven include Norse, Greek, Roman, Native American, Celtic, Muslim, Christian, and Pagan.

Canijo Marciano
Heavy blackwork and stylized raven done by Canijo Marciano.
Dmitriy Tkach
Sketchwork raven done by Dmitriy Tkach.
Mariñe Perez.
Native American styled raven done by Mariñe Perez.
Scott Move
Raven head done by Scott Move.

As a tattoo, ravens are often done as blackwork pieces, neo traditional, or realistically. They can also be designed with a third eye.

Bruno Santos
Two headed raven done by Bruno Santos.
Drew Shallis
Raven and peaches paired with a red sun done by Drew Shallis.
Mark Halbstark
Horror raven done by Mark Halbstark.
Susanne Konig
Raven with moonlit design within done by Susanne Konig.

Which is your favourite?

Jason Voorhees Tattoos:

Jason Voorhees is the iconic villain from the Friday the 13th franchise. Jason is a silent, undead killing machine, and mamma’s boy. Jason haunts Camp Crystal Lake where he drowned as a child due to inattentive lifeguards. As a tattoo Jason is done in a realistic style portrait, American traditional style, neo traditional, black and grey, and new school/cartoon. He is usually seen wearing his hockey mask, sometimes paired with his machete or other weapons, or seen in Camp Crystal Lake.

DJ at True Color Tattoos
Jason mask with full bodied Jason in very dark tones done by DJ at True Color Tattoos.
Paul Acker The Séance Tattoo Parlor in Bensalem PA
Hyper realistic Jason in a killing position done by Paul Acker The Séance Tattoo Parlor in Bensalem PA.
Joe K Worrall at Heart & Arrow Tattoo Studio, U.K
Colour piece by Joe K Worrall at Heart & Arrow Tattoo Studio in the UK.
Matt Beirne at Stefano's Tattoo Studio in Ft. Lauderdale
Black and grey Jason at Camp Crystal Lake with nude camp counsellor by Matt Beirne at Stefano’s Tattoo Studio in Ft. Lauderdale.
Moira Ramone at 24 to Life in NL.
Great contrasted Jason mask and machete by Moira Ramone at 25 to Life Tattoo in NL.

Jason was born with facial deformities and a mental disability. His mother kept him away from other people, homeschooling him and looking after him herself, but when she was unable to find a babysitter she resorted to sending him to Camp Crystal Lake where she worked as the cook. Jason was bullied by the other kids and thrown into the lake where he drowned while the counsellors were having sex in the woods. Mad with grief, Pamela, Jason’s mother, murdered the counsellors she blamed for Jason’s death. Jason came back to life and waited for his mother to come back to him, for 20 years. Years later the camp tried to re open, but Pamela murdered all but one of the counsellors. The survivor, Alice, cut off her head, while Jason watched. Jason killed anyone who came back to the camp, mostly using the machete that killed his own mother.

Alessia at Bikini Bottom Tattoo Shop
Adorable cartoon Jason done by Alessia at Bikini Bottom Tattoo shop.
Fran Muñoz
Realistic black and grey Jason head and chain by Fran Muñoz.
Megan Fell
American traditional Jason mask with “mamma’s boy” and flower by Megan Fell.

Jason has a kill count of over 150 throughout the films he’s been in. Jason’s supernatural powers include immortality, regeneration, superhuman strength, enhanced speed, and durability.

Amanda Fox in Glasgow
Jason mask and machete’s in classic skull and crossbones fashion by Amanda Fox in Glasgow.
Jesse Torres
Mostly black and grey Jason mask by Jesse Torres.
Murrmosavich at Blue Blood Custom Tattoos
Blackwork mask and machete by Murrmosavich at Blue Blood Custom Tattoos.
Sabrina Sawyers
Blackwork Jason mask and trees by Sabrina Sawyers.

Jason is a fan favorite in the horror genre, often paired with Freddy Kreuger, due in part to the film Freddy VS. Jason.

Done at Bespoke Body Art Tattoos in Grimsby, UK
Jason’s torso and machete, with chains, done at Bespoke Body Art Tattoos in Grimsby, UK.
Matt Bishop at Artistic Edge Tattoo
Neo traditional Jason and Camp Crystal Lake tattoo by Matt Bishop at Artistic Edge Tattoo.
Tony Davis in VA.
“Mama tried” American traditional mask and flower by Tony Davis in VA.

What is your favorite Friday the 13th movie?

Winnipeg Artist 7: Stephen McConnell

Stephen McConnell is an artist at Main Street Tattoo Collective in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

1
Neo trad bear with beautiful fall leaves and bright red sun.
2
Dark Kylo Ren portrait.
3
Matching hammerhead shark and great white in American traditional style.

Stephen’s work ranges from black and grey, to realism, watercolor, American traditional, blackwork, geometric, and neo traditional.

4
Beautiful American traditional shoulder rose.
5
Black and grey skull and mask.
6
Huge black and grey owl with geometric patterns and some dotwork on the sternum.
7
Blackwork creepy shrunken head.
8
Travel themed piece with hot air balloon and luggage!
9
Fantastic portrait!
10
Geometric half sleeve with both black and red, creating a brilliant duality.
11
Painful full torso crane with dotwork halo.
12
American traditional lady head.
13
Creepy Norman Bates with his house.
14
American traditional French Bulldog portrait!
15
Three forearm mandalas.
16
Amazing almost finished realistic lion half sleeve.

Stephen McConnell is a must visit artist in Winnipeg!

Artist of the Month: Oscar Hove

Oscar Hove is co-owner of Ondo Tattoo in Barcelona, Spain. His work is mainly surreal Japanese blackwork, mixing traditional Japanese themes with macabre surrealist work.

1
Matching feet. Stylized noh mask with horns.
2
Noh mask on snake body.
3
Split mask down the middle.

A great deal of his pieces are Japanese masks, split in half, or more, and making them terrifying.

12
Five split noh masks with horns in brilliant chest piece.
4
Horned mask with facemask common in Asian countries, with kanji lettering.
5
Brilliant blackwork Japanese oni backpiece.
6
Detached jaw noh/hannya inspired mask.
7
Beautifully dark mask and peony flower.

Other than Japanese inspired work, Oscar also does some neo traditional, and American traditional blackwork.

8
Blackwork bird and skull on thigh.
9
Traditional blackwork butterflies.

While his styles vary every once in awhile, his work is all dark both in colour and theme.

10
Mask split down the middle by Japanese knife.
11
Terrifying split hannya mask.
13
Yokai inspired rotting face.
14
Split hannya on stomach, releasing inner monster.
15
Matching hannya and noh masks with kanji lettering.

Oscar is a must visit artist if you find yourself in Barcelona!

Artist of the month: Gara tattooer

Gara is a South Korean artist working out of Lighthouse Tattoo in Seoul. His work is black and grey, dark in both composition and subject matter, often featuring skulls and skeletons, beasts, and weapons. Much of his work is surreal, creating tattoos that look 3D, and some very realistic looking pieces. He also draws influence from both Korean and Japanese art and style.

5
Full macabre chest piece with some Japanese influence in the flowers.
2
Realistic tiger head piece.
4
Grim looking Jesus Christ with crown of thorns.
6
Greek/Roman figure in statuesque format.
9
Skull king and snake in a regal pose.
11
Surreal skeleton figure trapped in a hand.
13
Skull with broken jaw and rose.
14
Praying Mary in robes with rose.
16
Skeletal praying hands.

Gara has clients from all over the world and is a highly sought after artist thanks in part to his ever growing Instagram following.

7
Knights armoured hand with beautiful detail.
15
Surreal skeleton bent to create a skull.
8
Webby knee and a big ol’ spider.
17
Surreal sea captain with his ship.
12
Realistic portrait in profile and black rose.
19
Plague doctor mask and skulls.

(Beautiful set of hands with skulls, webs, flowers, and snakes.)

If you are in South Korea, Gara is a must see artist.

Check out his work on Instagram at gara_tattooer