Artist of the Month: Francesco Ferrara

Francesco Ferarra works out of Fronte del Porto Roma in Rome, Italy, and also sells prints here.

Gorgeous flowers and ornamental vase
Pinup lady and eagle
Healed Rock of Ages front piece with angels

Francesco does classic old school tattoos that are bright and vibrant in colour, with bold black lines. Looking at Francesco’s work, you’ll only see black, red, and yellow/gold making up these beautiful pieces.

Battle back piece and nautical back piece
Devil head and butterfly for the feet
Rock of Ages back piece

His portfolio includes both one shot smaller pieces, and large full back or front pieces. Among these gorgeous designs you’ll find classics such as the Rock of Ages, Sun Dance, devils and angels, lady heads, and animals such as snakes, eagles, and butterfly’s.

Queen of hearts and a feisty snake
Classic eagle

Whether you live in Rome or are passing through, Francesco is another must see artist.

Snake and flowers
Big ole’ stomach snake

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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.

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.

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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.

Rock of Ages Tattoo

The name Rock of Ages comes from a hymn written by Augustus Toplady in the mid to late 1700’s while he found refuge from a violent storm on a rock at sea. The first two lines of the hymn are “Rock of ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in thee.” Rock of ages then became a painting about 100 years later. In the 1860’s Johannes Oertel painted a picture that was first called “Saved, or an Emblematic Representation of Christian Faith” which was later widely reproduced and called “Rock of Ages”.

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Painting by Johannes Oertel

The image was perfect for tattooing, with its strong, dramatic nautical theme, beautiful woman, and religious symbolism. As a tattoo this piece often also features a sinking ship, multiple women on the rock, skulls, multiple crosses, etc. The image has been recreated as a tattoo for a long time now, and can be traced as a tattoo as far back as the late 19th Century when it was tattooed by Samuel O’Reilly.

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Back piece by Chris Marchetto at Redemption Tattoo in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

It is usually done in old school traditional style, but can also be done in black and grey or realism. The shape and diversity of the piece means it can be done well on many parts of the body. It is most popular on arms or as a full back piece.

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Black and grey back piece by Sterling Barck at White Lotus Tattoo in Laguna Hills.

The image can have many meanings, but most obvious is that your faith, whatever it is, will keep you safe during troubled times.

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Leg piece by Jake Miller at Cathedral Tattoo in Salt Lake City.
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Huge piece by Dave Halsey at Crying Heart Tattoo in Cincinnati.

What’s your favourite piece?