Black Sabbath Tattoos:

For lovers of alternative music it’s pretty much common knowledge that Black Sabbath’s 1970 debut album “Black Sabbath” marked the beginning of heavy metal as we now know it. There were distinct differences from rock including references to the occult in the lyrics, Ozzy’s style of singing, the heavier sound of the guitars, and loud, fast thundering drums. Put together it all sounds quite dark and sinister, which is part of why we still love it so much today.

Black Sabbath cross done by wolfirish_tattoo
Black work Henry done by Riley Borne in Portland Oregon

The original members of the English metal band include guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and most famously, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. Though the band has also seen many lineup changes, most notably vocalist Ronnie James Dio after Ozzy was kicked out of the band for substance abuse.

Cross piece done by Else Mau
A black work portrait of Ozzy done by Blake at Hot Stuff Tattoo

The band previously had other names, including “Earth.” The bands manager wanted them to change the name because it was too generic, so Butler suggested changing their name to Black Sabbath after the song they had written. He was big into both the occult and horror movies, as was Iommi, and they thought the name fit the sound of the band at the time. The name for both the song and band was thought up by Butler, and was inspired by Mario Bava’s 1963 Boris Karloff horror anthology.

A realistic portrait of Ozzy done by Shaks in Bexhill UK
A bright and bold Henry done by Aliki at Below Zero Tattoo in Florida

After hearing the riff of what became “Iron Man,” Ozzy said that it sounded “like a big iron bloke walking about.” Geezer Butler took that a step further and wrote the lyrics as the story of a man who time travels into the future, and witnesses the apocalypse. While returning to the present, a magnetic field turns him into steel. He is rendered mute, unable to verbally warn people of his time in the future and of the Earth’s impending destruction. Because his attempts to communicate are ignored and mocked, it causes Iron Man to become angry, and drives his revenge on mankind, causing the destruction seen in his vision. Another fun song fact is the coughing heard at the beginning of “Sweet Leaf,” is guitarist Tony Iommi. He had been smoking a joint in the studio given to him by Ozzy Osbourne. The title of the song was taken from a packet of Irish cigarettes which said “It’s the sweet leaf,” and refers to cannabis, which the band was using frequently.

Inverted cross done by Libby Guy at the Illustrated Man, Sydney Australia
Black and grey album art done by Edvin at Crooked Moon Tattoo

Some popular Black Sabbath tattoos include portraits of the band members (mostly Ozzy), album art, crosses, and “Henry” the bands devilish logo. Mostly done in black and grey, black work, or old school styles. Though realism, neo-traditional, and pointillism also make for awesome pieces!

Black work heart by Rodrigo Burnout in São Paulo
Ozzy’s head with a vampire bat done by Kalo at Spider Web Tattoo in Berlin

What’s your favourite Black Sabbath song? Do you have any Sabbath tattoos?

Artist of the month: Mathew Machado

Classic panther and snake going at it.
What’s a more classic elbow tattoo?

Mathew is a tattooer at Trophy Tattoo in Hamilton, Ontario, formerly of Rebel Waltz in Winnipeg.. Mathew does crisp American traditional tattoos the way they were meant to be made. Bold as hell!

A small, classic eagle.
“Working class” skull piece.

If you take a look through Mathew’s work, either online or in person, you’ll see he really does the classics. His Instagram is full of eagles, pinups, sailors and pirates, skulls, snakes, and more.

An all black, classic Japanese/American dragon head.
Another classic old school piece. The Rock of Ages.

If you’re looking for a bit of a Japanese twist to an American style, Mathew is also your guy. He’s done both dragon heads and full bodied dragons, and Japanese flowers.

A more Japanese styled chrysanthemum flower.
Crisp lines on this rose and cross.

Mathew mentored under Don Ritson, the owner of Rebel Waltz, and you can certainly see Don’s influence in Mathews work. Both artists stick to a very traditional colour palette of mainly black, red, some green, and small amounts of yellow to make pieces pop.

Skull butterfly for a small filler piece.

Check out his work on Instagram @mathew.machado where you’ll find his email for making appointments. You can also watch Rebel Waltz’ Instagram to see when Mathew and the other artists there are doing walk-ins.

Beautiful pirate lady portrait, done as quite a large thigh piece.

Winnipeg Artist 7: Jan Veldman

Jan Veldman works at First String Tattoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Matching Russian nesting dolls with totem designs.
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Blackwork death’s head moth.
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Big ole’ werewolf and red moon.
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Badass cobra with witchy hands.
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We all float down here… Pennywise and balloon.
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A Salvador Dali inspired piece.
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Traditional ship with flowers.
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He’s late! Black and grey white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.
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Terrifying snake lady with barbed wire.

Jan’s style can be characterized as neo traditional and new school, with a hint of American traditional thrown into the mix. He tattoos everything from classic roses to characters from shows and movies.

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Ghost sheet tattoo with some classic flowers.
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Devilish baphomet in black and grey.
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American traditional style Jesus Christ and cross.
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Hobo cat doing his thing!
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Japanese good fortune Maneki Neko cat.
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A drunk Speedy Gonzales.
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Road Runner and Wile E Coyote.
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Creepy new school spider with eyeball.

Most of Jan’s work is bright and bold, but he doesn’t shy away from some brilliant black and grey work either!

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Neo trad woman and wolf head.
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Classic and deadly scorpion with red background.
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A ghostly Bart Simpson with some script and trad flowers.
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Cute little cactus with budding flowers.
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Bender!
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Bright red chameleon.
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Adorable Michelangelo with his favourite food.
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Super cute new school cupcake.

Bring in your own design or pick one of his. Whatever you choose, Jan is a must see artist in Winnipeg!

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?