Artist of the Month: Kelly Smith

Kelly Smith works out of Cry Baby Tattoo in Sheffield, England. Kelly mainly does American traditional pieces, but also works in black work and Japanese styles.

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Bloody panther head and a deadly looking snake.
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Some gorgeous pink peony’s paired with solid black filler in a forearm half sleeve.
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Some old school flowers for a bold neck piece.
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Badass scorpion ready to sting for this side neck piece.
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Japanese kitsune, or fox spirit.

Kelly’s work is bright and bold as hell, mixing the traditional themes of Americana and Japan with the bright colours of a Neo-traditional style.

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Some classic clasped hands and trad flowers on the collar bone.
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Traditional geisha wearing a beautiful kimono.
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Anchor featuring Neck Deep lyrics.
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Good luck horseshoe and some mountains done in blackwork style.
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Badass Sailor Jerry inspired piece.

If you’re looking for a banging one off then Kelly is the one to see, but don’t be shy about getting a big piece! A back or torso design will be a brilliant addition to your collection.

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Toad getting that zen life.
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Lots of green in this gorgeous back piece featuring Eve and Lucifer with that dratted apple.
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A painful spot for a mean looking eagle.
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Wicked snake head with some bright colours.
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Very painful looking old school piece featuring a tiger and a snake battling it out.

If you happen to find yourself in the Sheffield area Kelly is one to visit. I know I will!

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Blackwork lady and rose.
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Namakubi hand banger. Gorgeous blue tones in that bloody head.
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Another peony, featuring a cute old school butterfly.
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More pink peony’s and solid black. These pieces are great for some heavy contrast.
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Sick traditional dragon looking ready to get into some mischief.

You can find Kelly on Instagram at @kellysmithtattoos

The Nightmare Before Christmas Tattoos:

1993 Tim Burton classic stop motion clay film, The Nightmare Before Christmas, is a Halloween/Christmas movie that captures the imagination and hearts of everyone who watches. Jack Skellington is head honcho of Halloweentown, but wants something more. Something… Christmasy! Whether you get a Nightmare tattoo for Halloween or Christmas, it’s sure to be a bold one.

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A bold Jack with spooky house by Sean Wright.
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Jack with snowflake by Anrijs Straume at Bold as Brass Tattoo Company in Liverpool.
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A happy looking Jack in a pumpkin patch by Jose Villa at Lowrider Tattoo Studios in Fountain Valley CA.

Jack and Sally, a love for the ages. For all the romantics out there.

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Jack and Sally looking as cute as ever by London Reese in California.
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A Nightmare sleeve featuring Jack and Sally, the Mayor, Oogie Boogie, and Shock, Lock, and Barrel by Martin Garza.

Oogie Boogie is the baddest villain in Halloweentown; he’s sure visit you in your nightmares, especially if he’s permanently on your skin.

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Bright Oogie Boogie with Jack by Bumer at Mantra Tattoo in Australia.

And faithful Zero for all the dog lovers!

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Jack looking frightfully festive with his faithful Zero by John Barrett at Cornerstone Tattoo Gallery in Senoia GA.
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Happy little Zero by Brian Adams at Phantom 8 Tattoo in Englewood Colorado.

For some little Halloween miscreants, Shock, Lock, and Barrel are little hellraisers.

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Shock, Lock, and Barrel by Jon Tran.

And of course, good ole Santy-Clause!

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A kidnapped Santa Claus by Jeanne Racine.

Which one is your favorite?

Swallow Tattoos

Swallows are a staple of American traditional tattooing, and were first tattooed on sailors. They are as popular as ever to those who love travel and the sea, and are now done in other styles such as black and grey, realism, linework, dotwork, surrealism, and watercolor.

The meaning of a swallow tattoo was firstly to indicate that a sailor had sailed 5000 miles. They also mean a return home, as swallows would migrate, returning to their homes. A metaphorical return also meant that if a sailor died at sea, the swallow would carry their souls to heaven.

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Traditional swallow and rose by Josh Stutterby in Melbourne, Australia.
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Black and grey matching hand swallows by Ryan Jessiman at Old Habits tattoo in London.
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Surrealist starry sky swallow by Adrian Bascur in Viña del Mar.
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Linework swallow by Diana Katsko in Russia.
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Watercolor matching foot swallows by Simona Blanar at Black Bull tattoo in Prague.
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Simple traditional swallow by Harry Harvey at Vagabond tattoo in London, England.
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Traditional swallow by Hugh Sheldon at Cloak and Dagger in London, England.
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Dotwork and linework hand Swallow by Dr. Woo at shamrock Social Club in Los Angeles.

Which one is your favourite?

Grim Reaper Tattoo

The Grim Reaper is a sign of death in many cultures. In Western culture it is often seen as a skeleton in a cloak, with a scythe or a noose, usually a male. He is usually seen as frightening, but in myth does not actually kill people, he merely guides you to the afterlife. This version of the reaper is based off of Charon, from Greek mythology, who steers the boat across the River Styx, carrying the dead across to the underworld.

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American Traditional reaper by Chad Leever at Revolution Tattoo in Indiana.
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Amazing torso portrait of Charon crossing the River Styx by Teresa Sharpe at Unkindness Art in Richmond, VA.

Reaper tattoos are usually done in American traditional style, but are also often done in black and grey, neo traditional, dotwork, and realism.

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Dotwork Reaper riding the waves by Alicia Anderson at Village Ink Tattoos in Clearwater, FL.
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Dark Reaper back piece by Herb Auerbach at California Electric Tattoo Parlour in Soquel California.
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Reaper horse riding by Justin Dion at Sovereign Tattoo in Portland Oregon.

The reaper is often shown in tattoo form as just a hood and skull,with its scythe, but is also often seen in full body form.

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Traditional hooded Reaper by James Armstrong at Holy Mountain Tattoo in the UK.
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Dark female Reaper by Sim at Cosmic Tattoo in Essex UK.
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Female neo traditional hooded Reaper by Justin Harris at Black Vulture Gallery in Philadelphia.

Don’t fear the Reaper.

Moth Tattoos

Moth tattoos are the darker version of a butterfly tattoo. They often stand for searching for a light in the dark. They are also often associated with moonlight, searching for this light with little to no regard for their own safety. This makes it a vulnerable, spontaneous, but determined creature.

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Creepy, super realistic moth done by Duncan Whitfield, in Southampton, UK.

Moth tattoos can be done in most styles, but are most popular in black and grey, dotwork, realism, and old school. They are also often done in neo traditional.

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Traditional death moth and moon pairing done by Cory Craft in Lakeland FL, Black Swan Tattoo.

Death moth tattoos are also an extremely popular design. Deaths-Head Hawkmoth get their name from a species of moth that gets it’s name from the skull-like mark on its thorax. It has often been seen as a bad omen in history.In 1840, entomologist Moses Harris wrote that “It is regarded not as the creation of a benevolent being, but the device of evil spirits—spirits enemies to man—conceived and fabricated in the dark, and the very shining of its eyes is thought to represent the fiery element whence it is supposed to have proceeded. Flying into their apartments in the evening at times it extinguishes the light; foretelling war, pestilence, hunger, death to man and beast.” It is no wonder then that it is a popular tattoo design for lovers of the darker side of life.

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Death moth done on the back of the head by Alex Bage, done at Fat Panda tattoo in the UK.
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Neo traditional hand moth done by Ela Berger, a neo trad artist from Germany.
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Black and grey sternum piece by James Armstrong done at Holy Mountain tattoo in Scunthorpe UK.
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A rare watercolor moth and coverup tattoo done by Jay Van Gerven working out of Titan Tattoos in Hobart Tasmania.
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Small colorful elbow piece by Justin Dion at Sovereign Tattoo in Portland Oregon.
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An amazing black and dotwork back tattoo done by Kamil Mokot at AKA Berlin tattoo in Germany.
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Beautiful blackwork moth once again paired with a moon, done by Levi Hatch.
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An amazing macabre neo traditional moth and moon pairing done by Lipa Andrzej. See her work and where she will be tattooing at https://www.instagram.com/_lipa_/
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Amazingly detailed Dotwork tattoo done by Uls Metzger tattooing out of the Black Lodge, in Poland.
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Old school death moth tattoo by Virginia Elwood working out of Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn, New York.
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One last traditional death moth tattoo done by Zach Bowden working out of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Do you have your own moth tattoo? Let’s see it in the comments!

Artist of the Month: Grace Neutral

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Grace Neutral is a handpoke, dotwork, blackwork artist, tattooing out of London England. She has been a tattoo artist since 2012 after being a piercer prior. She is most known for her unique look; pointed ears, split tongue, many piercings and tattoos, no belly button, and most notably, her purple tattooed eyes. She is a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s work, particularly My Neighbor Totoro, and often tattoos characters from the film, and other Miyazaki films. She does many mandala tattoos, and incorporates her own style into her work. She guest spots at many different shops in London, but also around the world. If you would like to get ahold of her for a tattoo, email her here at graceneutraltattoo@gmail.com.

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A large Kukri Knife. That solid blackwork isn’t going anywhere.
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The more and more popular unalome design.
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Simple moon and spots.
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full geometric sleeve, ending with a lotus on the palm. This would have taken hours and hours to complete.
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Grace’s own style shines through brightly in this quirky piece. Clean lettering adds to the detailed knives.
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A larger sternum piece. This must have hurt!

Detailed mandalas always look great, and between the shoulder blades is a solid placement for these designs.

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An ax from Grace’s flash set.

Which one is your favorite?

Artist of the Month: Tomas Tomas

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Tomas Tomas is a blackwork,  neo tribal, dotwork, and geometric tattoo artist, tattooing out of the shop, Into You, which is in London England.

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Great optical illusion.

Tomas Tomas tattoos large, sometimes spiritual pieces, which often also act as optical illusions. He focuses on the spiritual aspect as well as ornamental with regards to tattooing. His pieces can take a long time to complete, sometimes even adding up to full bodysuits.

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Full bodysuit, the dedication of both artist, and client is astounding. 

When asked by the website, needlesandsins, Tomas Tomas had this to say about tribal tattoos.”Further exploration of this practice revealed that, often, tattoos in tribal societies were poetic visual representations of the environments and cultures in which people lived at the time. It was also a celebration of the mysteries of life. I then realized, rather unconsciously, these same desires and values still fuel many to get tattooed today worldwide.” As we can see, he is passionate about this style, and his dedication comes through in the beautifully delicate, and intricate art.

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Bold neckpiece.
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Another body piece, this one using more or less the same style and designs.
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Spiral, detailed piece. Neat to see the connection between back and sleeve.
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Delicate lower stomach piece.
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Huge detailed skull and intricate geometric sleeves.
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Note the matching elbow and neck.
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This piece looks almost like armour, and is very pleasing to the eye, especially from a bit of a distance.
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Tomas Tomas also works well with other people’s work. It’s not intrusive and pairs well with other styles.
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Two full leg sleeves are a rare sight, and these are amazing.
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Chest, stomach, and two half sleeves.
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Huge bold lines on the neck make it really stand out. The chest and stomach features an extremely interesting optical illusion.

Whatever the design, Tomas Tomas has a great eye for tattooing. He is a must visit artist in London, and anyone for a passion for tribal should put him on their list of artists to be tattooed by.

Artist of the Month. Dale Sarok

Dale Sarok is a tattoo artist out of Vida Loca Tattoo in Bolton, UK. Dale does black and grey work, making great use of dead space on client’s skin. His work is incredibly detailed, and often features whimsical creatures, various religious imagery, and geometric shapes. He is also an illustrator and often uses quite large canvases for his work. He has done album artwork for the band “Counting Days”.

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Detailed torch with excellent use of dead space in the flames.
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An x-ray of an orca whale.
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Macabre butterfly with skull.
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Hot air balloon with anchor, featuring designs similar to those found in mandala’s on the balloon.
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Fierce, snarling wolf head. Look closely at all the detail in the muzzle of this creature.
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Viking ax with celtic knots within the blade. Incredible detail in the woodwork.
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Skull with mountain landscape. Great amount of detail in such a small space.

Some incredible mythological creatures. A great mix of macabre and elegance in these pieces.

Dale also does the occasional portrait piece. Any fans of “The Adams Family”?

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Tree growing out of an anatomically correct heart. This is another example of fantastic use of dead space, both in the leaves and the heart. The roots of the tree blend seamlessly into the veins of the heart.
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A religious Sacred Heart.
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Dale always does fire beautifully.

Two full sleeves featuring skeletons, skulls, and lots of geometric work. These must have taken a very long time to do with all the detail put into them.

Myself and many others look forward to seeing what Dale will bring to 2016!