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

Artist of the Month: James Mckenna

James Mckenna is an artist at Foothills Tattoo Byford – Western Australia. James is a painter as well as a tattoo artist, with a focus on surreal and horror themed pieces, mixing American traditional and neo traditional styles.

1
Multiple skulls as a gap filler.
2
Elbow ditch surrealist skull hidden within spider webs.
3
Vicious demon above a skull and snake piece.
4
Leopard within a leopard within a leopard.
5
Traditional elbow mandala.

The majority of James’ work features skulls, often hidden within designs. Other work includes lady heads, animals, and demons.

6
Neo traditional lady head.
7
Leg sleeve castle with secret passages and a snake mixed in.
8
Big ole’ jaguar, scorpion, and flower. Heavy on the black!
16
Skull added to the stomach piece!
9
Neo traditional bear and skull in a tender spot!
10
Healed blackwork snake within a snake!
11
Leg snake!
12
Evil looking demon under the armpit.
13
Butterfly lady head!
14
New twist on a classic skull and snake.
15
Jaguar and lady head.
17
Knee big cat and butterfly.

James is a must see artist if you’re travelling through Western Australia.

Artist of the Month: Nissaco

Nissaco is a tattoo artist based in Shinsaibashi Osaka at an unnamed private studio that goes by the name room_23_26 on Instagram.

Nissaco 1
Smaller scale pieces. Healed waves and fresh geometrical shell design.

Nissaco does mainly large scale pieces such as full sleeves, back pieces, and even body suits. His style is black geometrical work and it is extremely detailed.

Nissaco 2
Big and painful back of the leg going right over the knee ditch with some popping red in the mandala and linework designs.
Nissaco 3
Full back piece right over the butt and legs leading into a great sleeve on the left arm. Some great use of negative space in the back.
Nissaco 4
Fantastic sleeve with bird skull and eye mixed with geometrical designs.

His work is hard sought after with visitors going to see him from all around the world. Along with having clients from around the world, he also travels, going to various tattoo conventions. Most recent he will be at the 13th London Tattoo convention in September 2017.

Nissaco 5
Filler neck/throat piece that fits great with the adjacent neck pieces.
Nissaco 7
Matching geometric sleeves.
Nissaco 8
Full back and legs with a lot of heavy blackwork for filler.
Nissaco 9
Full front is a tender area going right onto the nipples, with brilliant line work and heavy blacks.
Nissaco 12
Brilliant full torso, sleeve, and two leg sleeves with geometric designs and a hidden face.
Nissaco 13
Half body suit full of heavy blacks in large scale geometrics.
Nissaco 15
Fantastic intricate healed geometric design.

Along with being geometrical in design, Nissaco’s work also often features classic Japanese elements such as dragons, waves, flowers, snakes, koi fish, and hannya masks. These pieces are almost entirely black, but occasionally feature a small amount of red to make them really pop.

Nissaco 6
Full front, sleeve, and half leg sleeve. Featuring a brilliant Japanese dragon, and flowers such as chrysanthemums and cherry blossoms.
Nissaco 10
Great geometric koi fish with some colour thrown in.
Nissaco 11
Heavy blacks and lots of negative space with this angry hannya.
Nissaco 14
Another hannya coming off of a sleeve and onto the back.

Nissaco is a must see artist in Osaka, Japan, but book well in advance as his books fill up fast!

Artist of the Month: Clemens Hahn

Clemens is an artist working out of Electric Circus Classic Tattooing in Mannheim, Germany. Clemens specializes in neo traditional, traditional, and blackwork, with some Japanese thrown into the mix. Clemens does fantastic work using timeless designs mixed with new techniques and styles. He doesn’t shy away from tough designs or locations including full sleeves, bellies, ribs, back pieces, and even hands and faces for those whose lifestyles can afford them.

16464955_406105759743805_1744599399054442496_n
Hardcore full frontal blackwork traditional panther head and webbing with matching black and grey sleeves.
16906756_1435906826440604_8035356771084140544_n
Matching chest heads, dagger through a heart, and angry bear head in rad neo trad.
17265355_386696588380276_644511897768427520_n
Elephant head inspired by deities.
17437856_401873473513427_7856487996139241472_n
American traditional classic of an eagle fighting a snake, sun and moon not by Clemens.
16906092_159125094599965_5919545053738434560_n
Japanese backpiece with oni and namakubi in a neo Japanese style.
16906865_1847602672120563_2985118127462809600_n
Full blackwork backpiece inspired by the beauty of death with crow and matching coffins.
17332837_1800639506923133_3594922003670237184_n
Half backpiece in Japanese black and grey featuring a tiger, peony, and cloud background. with a matching sleeve.
17265582_612205432313456_6319208790176563200_n
Whole bunch of job stoppers! Beautiful hand and neck pieces including traditional and blackwork.
13722218_203017723434421_1607142561_n
Crazy throat peony.
13731093_159831071087785_485173666_n
Neo Japanese tiger head neck tattoo.
17126168_260864880992185_2010975521315225600_n
American traditional eagle on the back of the neck/head.
16908208_1387476347986258_9103983082876174336_n
Crazy elephant inspired piece.
17126603_651930471670670_2614770776930254848_n
Brilliant neo traditional fox and bear in a tender spot.
17332707_406545909710485_8991794839137812480_n
Tasteful face piece. Blackwork nails in a bleeding heart.
17438172_1668688186493979_2446816475957166080_n
Blackwork traditional Native American lady head.
17596337_1657512004558783_3713284632263786496_n
Matching back of the knees traditional mandalas.
17817972_276893602751168_6371086368705085440_n
Neo traditional Little Red Riding Hood and the big bad wolf.

If you’re in Germany Clemens Hahn is a must see artist!

Tiger Tattoos:

Tiger’s make a fantastic design and can be done in many different styles including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, American traditional, neo traditional, black and grey, photo realism, dotwork, geometric style, and watercolor.

tiger Adam Guy Hays
Neo traditional scalp tiger done by Adam Guy Hays at Red Rock Tattoo.

Tiger tattoos can also carry many different meanings. When done in an Asian style a tiger represents strength, courage, long life, and are also meant to ward off evil spirits, bad luck, and even disease. When done in a more Western style such as American traditional, black and grey, realism, etc.. the tiger is tattooed for its beauty, power, and intensity.

tiger Adrian Bascur
Watercolor space tiger done by Adrian Bascur in Chile.
tiger Alex Gotza
Huge neo traditional three-eyed tiger head by Alex Gotza done at Dirty Roses Tattoo Studio.
tiger Brian Flores
Beautiful neo traditional tiger head by Brian Flores in Spain.
tiger Sandra Dauksh
Photo realistic tiger head with flowers done by Sandra Daukshta at Home of Tattoos in Latvia.
tiger Mikey Holmes
American traditional tiger fighting a snake done by Mikey Holmes at coast to Coast Tattoo in Charlotte NC.
tiger Stefan Johnsson
Another American traditional tiger fighting a snake done by Stefan Johnsson at California Electric Tattoo Parlor in California.

Tigers are one of the biggest predators in the world, and are a solitary creature, so are often seen as symbols of strength and resilience. Tiger tattoos are often done just as a head, but can also be done as a full body. Generally tiger heads are done in a more Western design, with a full body tiger being done in an Asian style, though both can be done in any style.

tiger Apro Lee Seoul
Korean style blackwork tiger done by Apro Lee in Seoul South Korea.
tiger Eli Ferguson Ichi Tattoo
Japanese tiger done by Eli Ferguson at Ichi Tattoo in Tokyo.
Tiger Sean Cushnie Kapala
Unfinished Japanese backpiece done by Sean Cushnie at Kapala Tattoo in Winnipeg.
tiger Jakob Holst Rasmussen
Realistic black and grey tiger head by Jakob Holst Rasmussen done in Aarhus, Denmark.
tiger Mark Ostein
Geometric dotwork tiger head done by Mark Ostein at Wozen Studio in Lisbon.
Tiger Matt Jordan, Ship Shape Tattoo New Zealand
Realistic full back piece with skulls done by Matt Jordan at Ship Shape Tattoo in New Zealand.

What is your favorite style for a tiger tattoo?

Pokemon Tattoos

Pokémon is a Japanese video game, card game, and television show, that was started in 1996 and is now one of the most popular forms of children’s entertainment in the world. Pokémon features fantastic creatures that need to be caught, trained, and battled against other people. In the video games, people can now even battle and trade with their friends, making it more of a community than it previously was.

pokemon Brandon Flores at Taiko Gallery in Berlin
Charizard done by Brandon Flores at Taiko Gallery in Berlin.

Fans of Pokémon are very dedicated, and some show that dedication by  having their favorite Pokémon tattooed on themselves.

pokemon Jackie Huertas at Davinci Tattoo in Wantagh, NY
Eevee and pokeball done by Jackie Huertas at Davinci Tattoo in Wantagh, NY.
pokemon Jan Veldman Gypsy Cat Tattoos Winnipeg
Raichu by Jan Veldman at Gypsy Cat Tattoos in Winnipeg.
pokemon Joshua Budgen at Electric Skull in UK
Squirtle and charmander with flowers by Joshua Budgen at Electric Skull in the UK.
pokemon Joshua Budgen 1
Pikachu also by Joshua Budgen.

The majority of these tattoos are from the first and second generation of Pokémon, but some people who are fans of the more recent games and generations will get the newer Pokémon tattooed.

pokemon Vince Rebel Waltz Winnipeg
Squirtle by Vince at Rebel Waltz Tattoo in Winnipeg.
pokemon Matt Daniels StickyPop Uk
8 bit pikachu and pokeball by Matt Daniels at Sticky Pop in the UK.
pokemon Michael Mankin at Studio 13 Tattoo
Magikarp sushi by Michael Mankin at Studio 13 Tattoo.
pokemon Nghia Chung in Westminister CA
Japanese style Gyarados half sleeve done by Nghia Chung in Westminister CA.

These tattoos are usually done in a new school or neo-traditional form as the subjects are cartoons and are bright and colourful.

pokemon Nicholas Keiser at Integrity Tattoo in Royersford, PA
Neo traditional Scyther and pokeball done by Nicholas Keiser at Integrity Tattoo in Royersford, PA.
pokemon Nick Solomon at Art Machine Productions in Philadelphia
Neo traditional Cubone by Nick Solomon at Art Machine Productions in Philadelphia.
pokemon Silvio Voodoo Valda at Voodoo Ink
Ghastly, Haunter, Gengar chest piece done by Silvio Voodoo Valda at Voodoo Ink.
pokemon Steven Compton in Texas
Bright Lapras done by Steven Compton in Texas.

Which is your favorite?

Winnipeg Artist 3: Jade Harper

Jade Harper is a tattoo artist and owner of House of the Rising Sun in Winnipeg. Jade does mainly blackwork American traditional pieces, but has been doing more bold colourful works recently as well. She’s also very well known for her cowboy and cowboy girl pieces.

jade-bear
Bold bear and elegant script.
Butterfly and laurel hand tattoo.

Due to the current pandemic (April 2020) Jade and other artists cannot tattoo temporarily, but she is still selling paintings. Check out her Instagram to do so, linked above.

Butterfly chest tattoo.
Negative space traditional flower.

Jade has a large amount of her own tattoo flash to choose from, and she also takes ideas, and will make changes to her own flash to suit the client’s needs.

jade-cowboy-love
Healed cowboys in love.
Bright and bold peacock.

Jade focuses on being inclusive in her shop, and is proud to be the owner of the (currently) only queer owned and operated shop in Winnipeg. She acknowledges that tattoo shops can be a (sometimes) intimidating place, particularly for those in the LGBTQ community, as well as people of colour, so she’s created the space to be a welcoming place for all.

jade-mouse-detective
Roquefort the mouse from Disney’s The Aristocats.
jade-noose
My own “hang in there” noose from Jade.

Jade is a must-see artist in Winnipeg if you’re passing through, or a local looking for someone great!

Lady head in a spiderweb.
Cowboy girl portrait.

Create your own blog with the link below.

Artist of the Month: Dust “Horitsuki” Wu

Horitsuki is a tattoo artist and owner of Galaxy Tattoo 3 in Hong Kong. He studied under Nicckuhori, the god son of the brilliant Horiyoshi III, in Singapore before finding his own style within Japanese traditional art, despite working in China.

He has gained recognition throughout Asia and Europe, travelling as a guest artist. He does all the classic Japanese designs such as hanya masks, snakes, koi fish, fu dogs, and flowers. However it is dragons that he is most famous for. He is nicknamed the Dragon King in Europe.

horitsuki-2
Fu dog hand piece.
horitsuki-3
Brilliant Hanya with a bold placement.
horitsuki-4
Colourful chrysanthemum.
horitsuki-6
Ghost lantern.
horitsuki-1
Koi and cherry blossom sleeve.
horitsuki-9
Koi and cat piece.
horitsuki-5
Matching foot namakubi.
horitsuki-8
Beautiful, bloody namakubi.
horitsuki-7
Bold red Oni.
horitsuki-10
Traditional smoking frog.
horitsuki-11
Beautifully detailed Japanese tiger.
horitsuki-13
Angry dragon head.
horitsuki-14
Dragon head and claw.
horitsuki-15
Dragon chest piece coming off of a sleeve.
16
Gorgeous dragon back piece with flowers.

Horitsuki is the guy to see if you’re in Hong Kong.

Tattoo History 3: Native American Tattoo Traditions

Based on archaeological evidence found in plains all over North America, tattoos can be traced as far back as 1000-200 BCE.  Native American peoples were using tattoos for strength, religious and spiritual reasons, as well as combat and as a rite of passage.

As with many ancient cultures, supernatural being such as gods and deities in Native American mythology are adorned with body markings such as tattoos. The forms and styles of the tattoos done on people then function as a template that identifies the realm that these beings reside in.

american-5
Tattooed chest.

Body modifications for ancient and modern Native American peoples can be put into three categories. The first is body decoration which is colorful paints used for rituals and war. The second, tattooing is permanent, which therefore marks that individual, linking them to a specific group, lineage, or kinship. Tattoos can also indicate honors and achievements in war or battle, as well as rituals and politics within the tribe. The third category is body piercing, which is used for hanging ornaments which is lineage or ritual specific. These piercings can also lead to scarification (also seen in many other cultures, particularly prominent in African culture), which can help identify which rituals occurred during the piercings.

american-4

Earliest accounts of what these tattoos may have looked like come from drawings of Native American peoples done by European explorers from france and England. These artists were employed to draw the nature of the land, as well as the people, so we can assume that their depictions were fairly accurate.  Early settlers mainly noted the chiefs and their beautiful indigo, blueish ink, with their rich patterns of hieroglyphs representing animals, the sun, moon, and battle.

american-3

To read more, read the book “Drawing with Great Needles: Ancient Tattoo Traditions of North America”.