Artist of the Month: Esther Mulders

Esther Mulders is a tattooer working out of Bait & Schlang Tattoo in Montreal.

Beautiful Rock of Ages.
Amazing colours in this bouquet and vase.

Esther does brilliant American traditional work in colour, black and grey, and blackwork.

Super cool Midsommar piece.
Healed butterfly and rose and fresh chain and barbed wire.

Her work is made to last, with thick black lines and beautifully bright colours, or heavy blackwork.

Butterfly and stars for a classic throat piece.
Killer scorpion.

Esther’s Instagram is full of classics such as Pharaohs Horses, Battle Royale’s, ships and more. But check out her flash for something drawn up by her, or email her for a custom design.

Blackwork Battle Royale.
Lady head with flowers in her hair.

Large or small pieces, Esther has you covered. Whether you want a small gap filler in your sleeve or a full back piece, Esther is a must see artist if you’re visiting Montreal or live nearby.

Love this classic spiderweb lady.
Awesome blackwork ship and mermaids.

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Battle Royale Tattoos:

The Battle Royale is an old school design that consists of an eagle, a snake, and a dragon, all battling it out to be number one (sometimes it is depicted as an eagle vs a snake, or even other animals fighting).

A more neo-traditional take on the Battle Royale by Sergio Latorre at Octopus Tattoo
Classic colours in this Battle Royale by Tim Pausinger at Pearl Harbor Gift Shop

This design has been passed down for generations through tattooers and tattoo collectors, usually as quite a large design like a full back piece, chest, or stomach, but also as smaller work on arms and legs. 

Black work Battle Royale by Nico at El Furgón Tattoo Parlour
Colour Battle Royale by Rudi Ridgewell in Worthing, England

This most famous design was tattooed on D.C (Dave) Paul by Huck Spaulding and Paul Rogers, though there are a few older designs that are bit different. One was tattooed by George Burchett when he was working with Japanese artist Hori Uno in his shop in London, and the other by Percy Waters in Detroit. Ben Corday’s version is also quite popular.

Black work Battle Royale by Gil Guerra at Heart of Oak Tattoo in Belgium
A more neo-traditional Battle Royale by Erich XXX in Buffalo, NY

The Battle Royale is an American traditional design that has clear roots in Japanese tattooing as well as American. It was designed to represent the eternal struggle of keeping balance, particularly between the East and West, but life in general as well. Everything in life requires balance and hardship. This is a battle that will never be won.

Bold and colourful Battle Royale by JF Bourbon
Spaulding and Rogers version by Leonardo Maria Cardinali at Fat Cat Studio in Viterbo Italy

Most people choose to get this piece in full colour as the first wearers of the tattoo would have, but it also looks great without colour, or as a more neo-traditional piece. 

Black work Battle Royale by Alban at Lig Neverte Tattoo in Montréal
A very bright Battle Royale done by Alfy Iglesias at Old Ironside Tattoo in Honolulu, Hawaii
Ben Corday’s Battle Royale by Rich Hardy

Edited by Harrison R.

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Andres Inkman

Andres is a tattooer working out of Black Ship in Barcelona. He tattoos old school designs with a much more realistic look. Expect to see lots of ladies, devils, and nautical designs.

Rose of no man’s land
Snake and lady head

Andres’ colour palette follows the old school style of mainly black and red, and he really makes those colours pop.

Devil in disguise
Queen of hearts and a sneaky devil

Andres has managed to mix old school and realism flawlessly, with eyes that appear to be really looking at you, and lines that will stand the test of time.

Devil and woman in love
Nautical sailor lady head and ship

In addition to tattooing, Andres has an online store where you can buy prints.

Lady head and dragon
Lady and devil head

If you live in Barcelona or plan on passing through (when we can all travel safely again) make sure Andres is on your list of artists to be tattooed by.

Split lady and devil head
Classic tattooed pinup

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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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American Traditional Head Tattoos:

Head tattoos are a bold statement to say the least. Whether you decide to let your hair grow out again, or rock the tattooed head 24/7. For such a bold placement, one needs a bold design.

American traditional tattoos are known for being bold as hell. Check out these trad head tattoos and get inspired!

Alex Snelgrove
Trad blackwork with some classic dice, reaper’s scythe, and chains. Done by Alex Snelgrove.
Bertz at Skingdom Tattoo
Snakey done by Bertz at Skingdom Tattoo.
Chris Anthon at Grand River Tattoo Company in St. Elora Ontario
Snake popping out the back of the neck done by Chris Anthon at Grand River Tattoo Company in St. Elora in Ontario.
Dane Soos 1
Snake and yellow roses done by Dane Soos.
Dane Soos
Blackwork mandala also done by Dane Soos.
David Bruehl in Tampa Florida
Rose and claw done by David Bruehl in Tampa, Florida.
Eugene at Chapel Tattoo
Pristine scorpion done by Eugene at Chapel Tattoo.
Franz Stefanik at The Okey Doke Tattoo Shop
Classic eagle and snake done by Franz Stefanik at The Okey Doke Tattoo Shop in Toronto.
Gonzalo Muñiz at Last port Tattoo
Pharaoh’s horses and web background done by Gonzalo Muñiz at Last Port Tattoo.
Gordon Combs Til Death in Denver and Art Work Rebels in Portland
Eagle head done by Gordon Combs at Til Death Tattoo in Denver and Art Work Rebels in Portland.
Han Shinko in Essen
Blackwork skeleton hand and leaves done by Han Shinko in Essen, Germany.
Jaca in Hossegor, France.
Blackwork eagle and skull done by Jaca in Hossegor, France.
Joshua Marks in Los Angeles
Lil’ butterfly done by Joshua Marks in Los Angeles.
Mando Islas in California
Some trad filler done by Mando Islas in California.
Martina at Pretty Electric Tattoo
Cute bird and flowers in some nice bright colours done by Martina at Pretty Electric Tattoo.
Matt Andersson in Gothenburg
Bold ship design done by Matt Andersson in Gothenburg.
Nate Kemr
Blackwork church and webs by Nate Kemr.
Nick Mayes at North Sea Tattoo, Scarborough, UK
Panther head done by Nick Mayes at North Sea Tattoo, Scarborough, UK.
Paulo da Butcher at Impact Custom Tattoo
Eagle and skull done by Paulo da Butcher at Impact Custom Tattoo.
Zach Nelligan at Mainstay Tattoo in Austin TX
Cross, snake, skull, and flowers done by Zach Nelligan at Mainstay Tattoo in Austin Texas.

Which head piece is your favourite?

Mom Tattoos:

Some great tattoos for all the great mothers out there! Happy Mothers Day!

The classic “mom” tattoo is an American traditional heart with the word “mom”. Nowadays there are many more versions of this, done in colour, black and grey, and many different styles including American traditional, neo traditional, dotwork, blackwork, cross stitch, and realism. Now there is also more than just the heart as a design. There can be flowers, birds, landscapes, and more meaningful pieces that really relate to a specific mom.

Mom Big Meas at Sacred Hand Tattoo Society in Ohio
Sacred heart black and grey mom piece by Big Meas at Sacred Heart Tattoo Society in Ohio.
Mom Brooke Englehart in Chicago
Knee rose for mom by Brooke Englehart in Chicago.
mom by Carlos Fuentes at Mystic Owl Tattoo in GA
Anatomical heart with some colour by Carlos Fuentes at Mystic Owl Tattoo in GA.
mom by Jake Pierson at Old Soul Tattoo Club
Blackwork anatomical heart by Jake Pierson at Old Soul Tattoo Club.
mom by Dana at Lucky 13 Tattoo and Piercing
Classic American traditional mom heart and flowers by Dana at Lucky 13 Tattoo and Piercing.
mom by Koty Nyman at Heart and Soul tattoo
Neo traditional heart and flowers with some great script by Koty Nyman at Heart and Soul Tattoo.
Mom by Mike Santa Fe
Tropical landscape mom tattoo by Mike Santa Fe.
Mom David Klingenfuss at PMA Tattoo studio in CA.
Needle and thread mom tattoo by David Klingenfuss at PMA Tattoo Studio in CA.
Mom Ivan Castro at True Heart Tattoo in California
American traditional butterfly mamma piece by Ivan Castro at True Heart Tattoo in California.
Mom Jennifer Lynn at Trilogy Tattoo Gallery in Florida
American traditional heart, flowers and swallow for mom by Jennifer Lynn at Trilogy Tattoo Gallery in Florida.
mom Lexy Parsons at Tempest Tattoo Studio in TN
Neat mom tattoo with crossed wrenches by Lexy Parsons at Tempest Tattoo Studio in TN.
mom Rick Ilcken at Heart Land Tattoo
Beautiful American traditional heart and dagger for mom by Rick Ilcken at Heart Land Tattoo.
mom Ryan Cambell at Memento Tattoo & Gallery in Ohio
Neo traditional squirrel for momma by Ryan Campbell at Memento Tattoo & Gallery in Ohio.
mom tattoo Nat G at Good luck Tattoo in Melbourne
Matching colourful mother daughter tattoos by Nat G at Good Luck Tattoo in Melbourne.
mom Taylor Estrella at Empyre Tattoo in NY.
Classic mom heart tattoo by Taylor Estrella at Empyre Tattoo in NY.

Show your love for your mom with a new tattoo!