Pharaoh’s Horses Tattoo:

The pharaoh’s horses are an American traditional design that dates back to the early 1900’s when it became a staple as a back and chest tattoo, along with other designs such as the Rock of Ages and The Last Supper.

Alexander Tyrrell in Melbourne Australia
Horses with horseshoe and eagle done by Alexander Tyrrell in Melbourne Australia.
Don Ritson Rebel Waltz Winnipeg
Brilliant mix of red and black in this traditional piece done by Don Ritson at Rebel Waltz in Winnipeg.
Hamish Clarke in Bisbane Australia
Traditional blackwork piece done by Hamish Clarke in Brisbane Australia.
Kirk Jones Melbourne Australia
In progress back piece done by Kirk Jones in Melbourne, Australia.
Rich Hadley at Inri Tattoo in Manchester
Very old school looking design by Rich Hadley at Inri Tattoo in Manchester, England.

One of the earliest examples of this design is by Gus Wagner who worked as a tattooer, and circus performer from the late 1800’s until his death in 1941.

Ben McQueen in Indianapolis
Horse, anchor, and roses done by Ben McQueen in Indianapolis.
Done at Wild Rose in Seoul
Full traditional sleeve topped by horses done at Wild Rose tattoo in Seoul, South Korea.
Herb Auerbach in Santa Cruz
Angry looking horses done by Herb Auerbach in Santa Cruz.
Matt Kerley in Ashville
Bold design on the back of a head done by Matt Kerley in Asheville.
Rich Hardy
Gorgeous stomach piece done by Rich Hardy.

The design of the pharaoh’s horses comes from biblical times, when horses were seen as a symbol of wealth, status, warfare, and power. Horses are specifically linked to pharaoh Ramses II who lived more than 3000 years ago. These horses of course portray a sense of power, but there is also an implied reference to Exodus 14 which reads thus. “The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horse-men the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.” This appears to be a warning of following a singular pursuit without regard to the consequences.

Collin McClain
Chest piece with some nice blue done by Colin McClain at Tide and Tattoo.
Duan Woo Sick Rose Tattoo Parlour in Shanghai
Smaller horse piece done by Duan Woo at Sick Rose Tattoo Parlour in Shanghai, China.
Jason Donahue at Liberty Tattoo in Seattle
Chest piece with classic flowers done by Jason Donahue at Liberty Tattoo in Seattle.
Nick Mayes at North Sea Tattoo in Scarborough, UK
Big stomach piece topped by an eagle done by Nick Mayes at North Sea Tattoo in Scarborough, UK.
Shon Lindauer in Hollywood CA
Heavy black design by Shon Lindauer in Hollywood, CA.

These tattoos are often done as large pieces on backs or chests, but can also be done as larger parts of a sleeve or leg piece. The horses are often accompanied by flowers, horseshoes, chains, and other traditional pieces such as eagles.

Dan Pemble Artist & Owner @ Sacred Tattoo Studio Marquette, MI
Brilliant full front torso as a piece of armour by Dan Pemble at Sacred Tattoo Studio Marquette, MI.
Frank William in Chicago, IL
Large stomach piece full of flowers done by Frank William in Chicago, IL.
Kai Soong at Sick Rose Tattoo Parlour in Shanghai
Chest piece by Kai Soong at Sick Rose Tattoo Parlour in Shanghai, China.
philip yarnell
Traditional blackwork piece done by Philip Yarnell at Skynyard tattoos, UK.
Tammy Kim at The Okey Doke Tattoo Shop
Fantastic back piece featuring an eagle, websm and flowers done by Tammy Kim at The Okey Doke Tattoo Shop in Toronto.

Which is your favourite tattoo?

Goddess Kali Tattoos:

Kali is a Hindu goddess often misconstrued as a goddess of death. While she does bring about the death of the ego and demons, she does not kill humans. She is the counterpart of the more violent deity Shiva the destroyer, both of whom are the destroyers of unreality. Kali is depicted as a woman with a garland of skulls or heads, and dismembered arms, because the ego arises out of identification with the body. She also is usually seen with black or dark blue skin, which symbolizes the womb of which all creation arises and into which all creation will eventually dissolve into. So she is often mistaken as a fearsome deity, she is actually a motherly figure.

As a tattoo Kali is often done in American traditional style, neo-traditional, black and grey, or realism.

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Neo-traditional Kali by Aaron Riddle at Black Lotus Tattooers in Phoenix, Arizona.
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American traditional, less angry Kali by Andrew Strychnine at Redrum Tattoo Collective in Moscow.
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Unfinished black and grey Kali back piece by Dan Molloy in Perth, Australia.
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Mostly black Kali by Joe Ellis at Sacred Electric Custom Tattooing in Leeds, UK.
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Full colourful Kali back piece by Natalia Litvinenko.
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Dark American traditional Kali head by Philip Yarnell at Skynyard Tattoos, UK.
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Full bodied version of Kali by Steven Huie at Flyrite Tattoo.
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Another unfinished Kali back piece by Tom Caine at Holy mountain Tattoo, UK.
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Full rib panel Kali head by Andrew Fyfe at Main Street Tattoo Collective in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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A much more motherly version of Kali by Lucy Pryor at Into You Tattoo & Piercing in London, UK.

Virgin Mary Tattoos:

In the Christian faith Mary is the mother of Jesus, also called mother of God.

In the story of Christmas Mary is visited by an angel and told she will give birth to the son of God.  Jesus is then born in a barn, amongst animals and wisemen. Throughout the bible Mary is constantly seen at her son’s side during his soteriological journey.

Images of Mary often show her praying, or mourning the death of Jesus, sometimes crying tears of blood. She is also often seen wearing blue, crown of 12 stars, pregnant, or surrounded by roses.

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Crying black and grey Mary and angel by david Drohan at Kingdom of Ink in the UK.

Artists such as Michelangelo and Botticelli, and now, tattoo artists all around the world.

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Neo traditional Mary in mourning by Jacob Gardner from Australia.

In tattoo form Mary is often done in black and grey realism, photo realism, American traditional, or neo traditional.

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Black traditional Mary on the back of a head, done by Chris Stuart at Ace Custom Tattoo.
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Full body black and grey Mary with roses and stars by James Armstrong at Holy Mountain Tattoo in the UK.
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Realistic black and grey praying Mary and Rosary by Seyer at Living Dreams Tattoo.
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Realistic black and grey Mary and dove by Tomas Sanchez Pineiro.
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Black and grey Mary with script on the scalp by Nene.
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American traditional Mary with rose by Kanye Sherwood at Flamin’ Eight in London.
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Dark traditional Mary with Sacred Heart by Philip Yarnell at Skynyard Tattoos, UK.
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Full American traditional back piece of Mary with Christ by Zach Nelligan in Austin, Texas.

Which is your favorite?

Gorilla Tattoos

Gorillas in nature are associated with brute strength and bravery, but also for their compassion, honour, and intelligence. It is no surprise then that gorillas have been a popular choice in the tattoo world.

Gorillas are usually done in American traditional, neo traditional, photo realism, or black and grey. Gorillas done in traditional style are now usually based off of Ed Hardy’s traditional gorilla piece.

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Huge gorilla head with swords by Josh Mason at Old Soul Tattoo in Canonsburg, PA.

Gorilla tattoos are also almost always just the head. Though sometimes there are full bodied depictions.

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Neo Traditional Gorilla head with leaves by kirsten Holliday at Wonderland Tattoo in Portland Oregon.
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Realistic gorilla portrait by Mike DeVries at MD Tattoo Studio in Northridge Ca.
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All black roaring gorilla head by Oliver White at Crooked Claw Tattoo in Sheffield.
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Surrealist peaceful gorilla and squirrel done by Peter Aurisch in Berlin.
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Another angry bold black gorilla by Philp Yarnell at Skynyard tattoo in the UK.
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An Ed Hardy inspired gorilla head by Reuben Todd at Kapala Tattoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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Surrealist gorilla head with city architecture by Tobias Burchert at Saints and Sinners Tattoo Lounge in Germany.
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Neo traditional bloodied gorilla head by W.T Norbert in Sydney, Australia.

And of course you can’t have gorilla tattoos without seeing King Kong, the king of gorillas.

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Fantastic black and grey king kong leg sleeve by Drew Apicture at “The Tattoo Shop”.
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Black and grey serene king kong with Ann Darrow, done by Rob Richardson at Black Friars Tattoo House in the UK.

Which one is your favourite?

Spider web Tattoos:

Spider web tattoos are most commonly associated with criminals. Usually showing that the wearer has done time behind bars, the number of lines leading out of the web signifying the years of time spent. Now though it is less associated with crime, and more commonly used as a great filler tattoo for American traditional sleeves. Not all spider web tattoos are done in American traditional though. They can be black and grey or even realistic. They are often now paired with something Halloween related, and can also have spiders in them or hanging off of them.

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Classic elbow spider web by Josh Stephens at Hold It Down Tattoo in Richmond Virginia.
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Spider, web, and skull by Matty Darienzo at Into You Tattoo, London England.
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Crazy head tattoo by Philip Yarnell at Skynyard Tattoos, UK.
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Another web, done by Justin Dion at Sovereign Tattoo, Portland Oregon.
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Web, skull, and snake also by Philip Yarnell.
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Two shoulder webs by Nick Oaks at Bait and Schlang tattoo in Montreal.
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Creepy realistic spider and web by Tyler Allen Kolvenbach at Hudson Valley Tattoo.