Japanese Blackwork Tattoos:

Japanese is undeniably one of the most popular tattoo styles, but heavy black pieces are changing the game.

Blackwork wave sleeve mixed with geometric patterns by Raimundo Ramìrez.
Spirited Away’s Yubaba done by Stephen Doan.

Japanese tattoos traditionally use lots of red and black, but also feature some yellows, orange, and shades of grey. Basically the same colour palette as original American traditional.

Blackwork tiger back done by Takizomoro.
Samurai Hannya done by Daniel Ra.

Blackwork is becoming a more and more popular style all the time, and can be done in many styles.

Blackwork leg sleeves done by Guy Le Tatooer.
Blackwork cloud sleeves with geometric patterns done by Gakkin.

Japanese blackwork often makes great use of negative space, making the subject pop, particularly when done on lighter skin tones.

Blackwork Bodhidharma by HoriNami.
Blackwork peony and snake sleeves by Lupo Horiōkami.

Some artists also mix styles such as Neo-traditional and geometric with their Japanese work. Both of these styles are often done as all black pieces, so it mixes well.

Blackwork namakubi by Damien J. Thorn.
Blackwork fish by Horihiro.

Which tattoo is your favourite?

Blackwork negative space sleeve by Oscar Hove.
3/4 sleeves and chest panels by Gotch.

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Artist of the Month: Oscar Hove

Oscar Hove is co-owner of Ondo Tattoo in Barcelona, Spain. His work is mainly surreal Japanese blackwork, mixing traditional Japanese themes with macabre surrealist work.

1
Matching feet. Stylized noh mask with horns.
2
Noh mask on snake body.
3
Split mask down the middle.

A great deal of his pieces are Japanese masks, split in half, or more, and making them terrifying.

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Five split noh masks with horns in brilliant chest piece.
4
Horned mask with facemask common in Asian countries, with kanji lettering.
5
Brilliant blackwork Japanese oni backpiece.
6
Detached jaw noh/hannya inspired mask.
7
Beautifully dark mask and peony flower.

Other than Japanese inspired work, Oscar also does some neo traditional, and American traditional blackwork.

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Blackwork bird and skull on thigh.
9
Traditional blackwork butterflies.

While his styles vary every once in awhile, his work is all dark both in colour and theme.

10
Mask split down the middle by Japanese knife.
11
Terrifying split hannya mask.
13
Yokai inspired rotting face.
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Split hannya on stomach, releasing inner monster.
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Matching hannya and noh masks with kanji lettering.

Oscar is a must visit artist if you find yourself in Barcelona!