Beetlejuice Tattoos:

Tim Burton’s 1988 film, Beetlejuice, is as fun today as it was over 30 years ago. Featuring a great cast with Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and the ghost with the most, Michael Keaton, Beetlejuice is a great spooky comedy for those who love the Halloween aesthetic, but not horror.

Beetlegeuse done by Paul Acker at Seance Tattoo parlour
Barbara and Adam done by Sarah Keeley in Toronto

Along with being a hit cult movie, an animated show following Lydia and Beetlegeuse’s relationship was created, and ran for four seasons.

A black work piece featuring Barbara and Adam, the sandworm, and the house, done by Angelo Parente at Black Casket Tattoo
The Handbook For The Recently Deceased, done by fakelegfoxtattoo

Beetlejuice was made on quite a moderate budget, but made $73 million at the box office, was the 10th highest grossing film of 1988, and even won an Oscar for best makeup.

Sandworm done by Brittany at Permanence Tattoo Gallery
Barbara and Adam portrait done by Jessica Channer at Take Care Tattoo

The number “three” was very important in the film. To summon Beetlegeuse you must say his name three times, the Maitland’s say the word “home” three times to escape Beetlegeuse, they knock on the door three times to get into the afterlife, and when the family moves into the house, Delia wonders why there are only three sculptures.

Cute “no feet” ghost piece done by Priscila Wolff at Studio 22
“Never Trust The Living” and house done by dollytattoos in Brighton

As tattoos, fans continue to get Beetlegeuse portraits (both from the movie and cartoon), as well as tattoos of Barbara and Adam in their monster form, the sandworm, ghosts, the creepy house, and the Handbook for the Recently Deceased. The most popular styles appear to be old school, Neo-traditional, and black work, though realism and minimalism are also seen quite a bit.

Cartoon Beetlegeuse done by Sara Taylor at Arsenal Ink
The house and sandworm done by Suzie Woodward

Who is your favourite Beetlejuice character?

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The Thing Tattoos:

John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is a favourite cult movie for many, despite its major flop when it first came out. The special effects are still what’s most loved and talked about with horror lovers today.

Norris head spider done by Jan Man at First String Tattoo in Winnipeg
Norris head spider done by Dan Gagné Mortem Tattoo in Montreal

Special effects artist Rob Bottin was just 22 when he headed a team of 40 technicians, working on the film for seven weeks after previously working on The Fog with John Carpenter already.

Grotesque metamorphosis by Ronald L Philips at Cherry Bomb Tattoo
Norris head spider done by Josh Todaro at the Grand Illusion Tattoo in Australia

One of the most famous scenes is the “chest chomp” where Dr. Copper tries to revive Norris by restarting his heart, with his arms in his chest. Bottin found a double arm amputee to film this scene so that they could attach prosthetics that could then be ripped off in a realistic a manner as possible.

Kurt Russell portrait done by Jonathan Penchoff
Norris head spider done by Aaron Francione at Magic Eye Tattoo

Kurt Russell damn near blew himself up for real in that scene where he fights the “Palmer-Thing.” They used real dynamite in the filming of this scene and Kurt was unaware of how powerful the blast would be. John Carpenter kept the real shot in the film, so Kurt being thrown back and his surprise was genuine.

Black and grey Kurt Russell portrait done by Mason at The Drop of Ink in the UK
Matching pieces including Norris head spider done by Kalo at Spider Web Tattoo in Berlin

As a tattoo, various forms of metamorphosis are the most popular tattoos, particularly that creepy head. Fans of Kurt Russell have also immortalized his character. Realistic or old school styles also seem to be the most popular for those who want to have The Thing on them forever.

Black and grey head spider done by Paul Rogers
Cute little head spider done by Dana at Lucky Peach Tattoo

What is your favourite scene from the movie?

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Guillermo del Toro Tattoos:

Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican filmmaker, author, and actor who has also worked in special effects makeup. While he has an extensive portfolio, his two most well-known films are Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water, both of which have won numerous awards.

The Faun from Pans Labyrinth, done by Paul Acker at Seance Tattoo
The Pale Man from Pans Labyrinth done also by Paul Acker

Though he is well known for a specific style of darker film making, he has worked in various genres, from Pacific Rim, to Hellboy, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and even cartoons like Trollhunters.

Amphibian Man and Eliza from The Shape of Water, done by Evan Olin at Powerline Tattoo
The Pale Man also done by Evan Olin

Guillermo is heavily influenced by horror such as Nosferatu, Frankenstein, and most notably, Creature From the Black Lagoon, which inspired The Shape of Water.

A neo traditional Faun by Nate Wilson

He is passionate about fairy tales and monsters, and the way he talks about them is quite beautiful. “In fairy tales, monsters exist to be a manifestation of something that we need to understand, not only a problem we need to overcome, but also they need to represent, much like angels represent the beautiful, pure, eternal side of the human spirit, monsters need to represent a more tangible, more mortal side of being human: aging, decay, darkness and so forth. And I believe that monsters originally, when we were cavemen and you know, sitting around a fire, we needed to explain the birth of the sun and the death of the moon and the phases of the moon and rain and thunder. And we invented creatures that made sense of the world: a serpent that ate the sun, a creature that ate the moon, a man in the moon living there, things like that. And as we became more and more sophisticated and created sort of a social structure, the real enigmas started not to be outside. The rain and the thunder were logical now. But the real enigmas became social. All those impulses that we were repressing: cannibalism, murder, these things needed an explanation. The sex drive, the need to hunt, the need to kill, these things then became personified in monsters. Werewolves, vampires, ogres, this and that. I feel that monsters are here in our world to help us understand it. They are an essential part of a fable.” -Guillermo del Toro

The Angel of Death from Hellboy done by Lucifernanda Rotten Tatuadora no Planet Needle Tattoo Studio Americana- SP Brasil

As tattoos, the most popular of his characters come from Pans Labyrinth and The Shape of Water (though people have of course gotten others as well). They are mainly done in a realistic style to portray the details that go into making them, but can also be seen as more old school or neo traditional designs.

The Pale Man done by Claire Jackson at Artium ink, Exeter, Devon
Mr. Burns and Smithers as Pans Labyrinth characters done by TRASH HAUS Elliott- Cheltenham, UK

Which del Toro movie is your favourite?

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Medusa Tattoos:

According to Greek mythology, Medusa was born a beautiful woman, one of three sisters known as the Gorgons. When she was still human she was a priestess to the goddess Athena. Being a priestess she was sworn to celibacy.

Aaron Breeze
Dark American trad Medusa head done by Aaron Breeze at Life & Death Tattoos Shrewsbury, England.
Gara Happy Lighthouse Seoul Korea
Heavy blackwork Medusa head as a statue done by Gara at Happy Lighthouse Tattoo in Seoul, South Korea.
Lynn Akura Illustrator, tattooing since 1999. Tiger Bones, Brighton UK
Black and red traditional Medusa head done by Lynn Akura at Tiger Bones, Brighton UK.
Zhuo Dan TING Owner-Tattoo artist at Shanghai Tattoo
Full hyper realistic black and grey backpiece done by Zhuo Dan Ting at Shanghai Tattoo in Shanghai, China.

So how did a beautiful maiden turn into the monster we’re all familiar with? Medusa was really a victim, and turning into a monster was not at all her fault, but the god of the sea, Poseidons. Poseidon met Medusa and was immediately infatuated. He tried over and over again to seduce Medusa, who refused each time. Finally Medusa sought refuge in Athena’s temple to get away from Poseidon. Poseidon didn’t care and went after her, following her into the temple of Athena, where he forced himself on her against her will.

Abel Sanchez
Neo trad Medusa head and rose done by Abel Sanchez at Red Dagger Tattoo in Texas.
Dave Lao Winnipeg,Manitoba,Canada Lone Wolf Studios
Realistic black and grey Medusa done by Dave Lao at Lone Wolf Studios in Winnipeg, Canada.
Kike Esteras
Black and yellow Medusa piece by Kike Esteras at Black Ship in Barcelona.
Shio Zaragoza
Neo trad Medusa head done by Shio Zaragoza at Blessed Tattoo in Spain.

To punish Medusa for having relations inside her temple, Athena turned Medusa into a monster. A woman with snakes for hair that could turn any who looked upon her directly into stone. Seeing herself as a hideous monster, Medusa fled, shunned by all, wandering alone. In her despair her character turned into the monster of her outward appearance.

Alexander Grim
Blackwork decapitated Medusa head done by Alexander Grim.
helena darling halifax Nova Scotia
More elegant looking Medusa by Helena Darling in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Matias Noble in Valencia, Spain
Hyper realistic Medusa piece done by Matias Noble in Valencia, Spain.
Teresa Sharpe
Neo trad Medusa head and Perseus’ sword done by Teresa Sharpe at Unkindness Art in Richmond VA.

Many warriors tried unsuccessfully to slay Medusa, but all were turned to stone, and her reputation grew with each kill. Until Perseus was sent to collect her head and bring it to the king Polydectes. Perseus was given quite a bit of help to complete this task, which the other warriors did not have. He was given a sword smithed by the god Hephaestus, Hades’ helmet of invisibility, winged sandals from Hermes, and a mirrored shield from Athena.

Anderson Luna
Realistic black and grey Medusa on the back of the head done by Anderson Luna in New York.
Jake Danielson from Melbourne, Australia
Large neo trad thigh piece done by Jake Danielson from Melbourne, Australia.
Nik The Rookie
Very bright neo trad Medusa head done by Nik The Rookie.

Perseus was able to slay Medusa by looking at her reflection in the mirrored shield so he could see her coming and not be turned to stone. He decapitated her, and in doing so freed her from Athena’s curse.

Daniel Teixeira
Linework Medusa head done by Daniel Teixeira.
Karlos Lloyd
Dark neo trad piece done by Karlos Lloyd in Australia.
Oash Rodriguez
Heavy black and good use of negative space in this piece by Oash Rodriguez.

As a tattoo Medusa is often done in black and grey, neo traditional, realism, blackwork, and American traditional. She is most often tattooed as just her head, either visibly decapitated or portrait style.

Heath Clifford
Lots of red in this neo trad piece by Heath Clifford at Throne Room Tattoo in New Zealand.
Kati Berlinkey
Black and yellow neo trad piece done by Katie Berlinkey.
Rodrigo Kalaka
Lots of green in this neo trad piece by Rodrigo Kalaka in Barcelona.

Who is your favourite mythological Greek character?

Artist of the Month: Lera Ooqza

Lera is an artist from Moscow, Russia. Her specialty is blackwork, particularly Asian inspired horror.

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Japanese Yōkai featuring a couple of lantern demons and terrifying head.
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Terrifying demon woman.
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Incredibly dark blackwork demon and monsters.
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Japanese geisha demon with a geometric kimono.
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Detailed moth and moon.
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Shoulder flowers with eyeballs.
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Japanese inspired demon with too many hands!

Most of her work takes on a dark theme, such as ghosts, demons, and skeletons.

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Skeleton and nude woman. Some fantastic details in there.
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Peony flowers covering up old scars.
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Robotic severed hand and knife.
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Sternum moth.
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Maneki-neko cat from Japan.
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Heavy blackwork goldfish.

When she isn’t doing blackwork, her other work is quite delicate, including flowers and other natural plants.

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Delicate pink rose.
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Cute mushrooms!

Lera has an incredible attention to detail, with an eye for the supernatural and spooky!

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Queen of hearts meets gruesome death.
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Creepy goblet of blood.
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Namakubi with incredible linework in the hair.
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Small butterfly with some great dotwork detail.
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Some brilliant kanji with great hand placement.
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Split lion head with a distinct Asian style.

Lera is a must see artist for your creepy blackwork needs.

Artist of the Month: Zhuo Dan Ting

Zhuo Dan Ting is the owner of Shanghai Tattoo as of January 2007 (located in Shanghai, China) where she tattoos people from all around the world. People seek out her art from far and wide, and are not disappointed with the results.

1
Black and grey baby portrait.
2
Realistic elephant half sleeve.
3
Black and grey bio mechanical sleeve.

Zhuo Dan Ting has been an artist since an early age, where her father (an art teacher himself) and his friends would teach her new techniques. She went on to art school in Harbin after high school, but quickly moved onto something entirely different.

4
Black and grey Asian leg sleeve featuring Fu Dog, peony, and great wall of China.
5
Bio mechanical/ripped skin/ realism back piece!
6
Bright dragon and flower half sleeve.
16
Amazing realistic Greek Poseidon sleeve.

Ting found the subcultures of death metal and punk music, which is where she fell in love with tattoos. Ting started off tattooing her friends in Harbin’s underground music scene, where she quickly started making a name for herself in the tattoo world.

7
Full black and grey realistic sleeve with monster, lightning, waves, etc.
17
Ting doing her thing, tattooing a painful chest piece!
8
Surrealist color sleeve with angel, skull, and watercolor.
9
Color realism owl, skull, and eyeball half sleeve.

Ting does brilliant black and grey, photo realism, portrait art, and Asian styled pieces inspired by both Chinese and Japanese art. Along with making beautiful art, Ting was also the first woman in China to open her own tattoo shop, a big step for the Chinese tattoo community!

10
Black and grey Monkey King half sleeve.
11
Realistic color eye.
12
Brilliant Japanese style peony flower.
13
Realistic Japanese/Chinese style dragon sleeve.
14
Realistic portrait.
15
Terrifying zombie clown portrait.

If you’re in Shanghai, Shanghai Tattoo is the place to go!