Artist of the Month: Roblake

Roblake is an artist specializing in black work designs with mainly old school motifs. Working out of Dead Slow in Brighton, Roblake also sells merchandise such as prints and clothing here.

Sweet filler head piece.
Matching hands

Roblake has a very distinctive style, taking inspiration from old school flash while adding his own flare that includes detailed line work and sometimes soft and delicate shading inside of tough looking pieces.

Beautiful nesting doll
Big one shot chest dragon

He is particularly well known for his knife designs, whether they be a sharp singular switchblade, a row of daggers, or a knife through a skull.

Healed row of knives
Devil and lady

Along with tattooing, Roblake has an extensive tattoo collection, and also does some clothing modelling.

Burning cop car and getaway car
Healed forearm pieces

If you’re in Brighton or passing through, Roblake is a must see artist, or, if you can’t visit, check out his online store.

Beautiful peonies
Big stomach piece

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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.

Getting a Tattoo in China:

So you’re travelling to China, or maybe living there short term like myself, and you want to get a tattoo. This might be a more different experience than you’re used to in Western countries, and it’s good to do your research.

Some flash on the walls of Sick Rose

I’m living in Shenzhen, but travelled to Shanghai for a week, where I was tattooed by Kai at Sick Rose Tattoo.

Kai drawing up my dragon head.

Before getting to Shanghai, I found Sick Rose on Instagram so I could check their quality of work, and I was very happy with what I saw. All of the artists there are professional and do quality work! The shop mainly deals with old school style pieces. Strong bold lines and bright colours that will last a lifetime.

Cute shop cat

I messaged the shop before arriving and talked to Kai to make sure I could do a walk in. Sometimes you may want to actually schedule an appointment if you have a specific day in mind, but if like me you need to keep your schedule open, then make sure the shop takes walk ins. 

Dragon head hand drawn by Kai.

If you don’t speak Chinese then it’s also important that the artist you go to can speak some English. Everyone at Sick Rose speaks English and they are all very friendly. Kai was very professional and a soft spoken guy. 

Stencil ready to go on my ribs

I had my ribs tattooed, which took around three hours, and he made it as good an experience as possible, considering the painful placement. I also had one of the shop cats sleeping on me for most of my experience, which was a good distraction. Back in the West cats wouldn’t be allowed into shops, but here in China you come to expect the unexpected. The shop did follow all other health protocols, such as using new needles and ink, and wearing gloves the whole time. This is important to check as I know many shops in China don’t follow Western health standards as closely. Since Sick Rose followed everything else by the book I was able to overlook the shop cats since I had followed them for so long and seen the healed results, with no issues. On day four now and my own piece is healing nicely. 

Finished product next to my stomach piece.

I highly recommend Sick Rose and Kai if you are in Shanghai! Always be sure to thoroughly research a shop before going, especially when visiting another country. Happy tattoo collecting!

Close up of the finished piece!
One more shop cat sleeping on another client getting her elbow tattooed.
Check out Kai’s Instagram at  https://www.instagram.com/kai.tattooer/

Winnipeg Artist 9: Don Ritson

Don Ritson was the owner of Rebel Waltz in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Now he and his wife work out of a private studio together.

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Black and red Japanese dragon.
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Japanese geisha piece with flower kimono.
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Classic American traditional filler rose.
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Demon making off with a woman as a painful stomach piece.
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Japanese Oni demon.
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Healed lil castle and flower.

Don works in mainly in American traditional style, as well as Japanese and some black work. When doing American traditional style, his pieces are heavy on black and red.

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Jesus with the cross.
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Lady head with some spooky skeletal hands.
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Bright red chrysanthemum flower.
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Classy smoking woman.
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Classic design featuring an eagle, skull, and snake.

Don has done two of my own tattoos, both of my forearms which are a gramophone and a design based off of the rose of no mans land. Don is a very friendly guy who makes getting tattooed a genuinely pleasant experience.

arms
My own forearm pieces. Blackwork gramophone and rose of no mans land.
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Bert Grimm’s tiger. Lots of black with some red to make it pop.
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Creepy reaper.
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Traditional wolf. Heavy on the black!
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Rock of ages in a beautiful full back piece.

You’ll find Don taking walk ins on Saturdays, though starting earlier this month (April 2018) the shop will rotate the main artist doing walk ins. You can find Don’s contact info on the Rebel Waltz website.

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Vicious looking dragon head on the inner bicep.
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Asian woman with a wrap around snake.
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Butterfly with woman’s face.
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Statue of Liberty and the Virgin Mary.
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The Forks in Winnipeg.

Don is a must see artist if you are in Winnipeg. He also does guest spots in Canada so watch his Instagram for that as well.

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.

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Fu dog hand piece.
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Brilliant Hanya with a bold placement.
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Colourful chrysanthemum.
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Ghost lantern.
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Koi and cherry blossom sleeve.
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Koi and cat piece.
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Matching foot namakubi.
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Beautiful, bloody namakubi.
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Bold red Oni.
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Traditional smoking frog.
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Beautifully detailed Japanese tiger.
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Angry dragon head.
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Dragon head and claw.
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Dragon chest piece coming off of a sleeve.
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Gorgeous dragon back piece with flowers.

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