Tsuchigumo is a Japanese yōkai, or demon. It’s a creepy crawly beast that according to legend can grow to a monstrous size, big enough to eat a person with no problems.
Tsuchigumo literally means “ground spider”, and is found in mountains, forests, and caves.
In legends, these beasts live in silk tubes in trees and caves, from which they trap their human or animal prey. Think Aragog from Harry Potter or Shelob in the Lord of the Rings.
Like a lot of Japanese yōkai, particularly snake and spider ones, Tsuchigumo relies on tricks and deceit to catch their smarter prey.
For example, one legend tells of a Tsuchigumo using an illusion to torun itself into a beautiful woman, with an army behind her, to attach Japan. Warrior Yorimitsu met army on the battlefield with his own force, and first attacked the woman general. When she was struck by a sword she transformed back into a creature, while her army disappeared as it had all been an illusion. she ran away back to her cave where she was sliced open. This led to thousands of babies spilling from her swollen abdomen, but each one was killed by the Japanese warriors.
Many more tales feature Tsuchigumo using illusions to trick their prey, leading to many people being eaten by the giant spider-beast.
As a tattoo, Tsuchigumo is usually done in a traditional Japanese style, as it comes from Japanese folklore. Though it can also be done with a more American traditional twist, Neo-traditional, or realistic style. It pairs well with Japanese warriors, or as fillers with webs, skulls, or flowers.
Mathew is a tattooer at Rebel Waltz Tattoos in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Mathew does crisp American traditional tattoos the way they were meant to be made. Bold as hell!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brando Chiesa is a “pastel gore” artist based out of Florence, Italy.
Brando’s work features a whole lot of pink, yet still manages to be terrifying.
He mixes graphic imagery, mainly from anime shows and movies, with pastel colours. Along with anime (some hentai) and manga, Brando also takes inspiration from Japanese mythology and folklore.
His designs are mainly either sexy or terrifying. Featuring lots of anime women in tight clothing, and creatures and monsters you wouldn’t want to meet in real life.
Brando does do some darker colour work but the vast majority of it is pastel. His darker work has more of a neo traditional look to it, while the pastel pieces are a bit of a mix of neo traditional and hyperrealism.
Brando is a must see artist for your anime/manga needs!
Jan Veldman works at Gypsy Cat Tattoos in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Jan’s style can be characterized as neo traditional and new school, with a hint of American traditional thrown into the mix. He tattoos everything from classic roses to characters from shows and movies.
Most of Jan’s work is bright and bold, but he doesn’t shy away from some brilliant black and grey work either!
Bring in your own design or pick one of his. Whatever you choose, Jan is a must see artist in Winnipeg!
Yōkai are supernatural monsters/ghosts/demons from Japanese folklore. The word itself is made up from the kanji for “bewitching, attractive, and calamity” and “spectre, apparition, mystery, and suspicious.” There are hundreds and hundreds of yōkai, from fairly harmless tricksters, to monsters that prey on human flesh. Being an animal that many are already afraid of, of course there are also spider yōkai.
As a tattoo these creatures are usually done in Japanese style, but can also be neo traditional, American traditional, black and grey, or blackwork.
There are three main types of spider yōkai:
-Ushi Oni: Which is actually classified as an ox demon. This demon is often depicted with the head of an ox and the body of a spider, and is usually near bodies of water. These creatures are always carnivorous and dangerous to humans. They are not always spiders, but this is one of the more popular depictions. The Ushi Oni is described as cruel and vicious, breathing toxic poison, and sometimes inflicting curses or spreading disease.
-Tsuchigumo: A giant spider who can live a very long time, and grow to monstrous sizes. When they get old enough they can transform themselves into other yōkai, even taking the form of humans in order to lure and kill people. These creatures live in forests and mountains, mainly preying on travelers. One famous tale tells of this creature transforming into a beautiful woman who leads an army of yōkai against Japan. A man named Yorimitsu is the first to meet the beast on the battlefield and strikes her, making the army disappear. The Japanese army then follows her back to her cave where she morphs back into a giant spider. Yorimitsu slices her open, unleashing thousands of human sized baby spiders. The Japanese army kills every last one and returns victorious.
Jorōgumo: This creature was known as the “whore spider” but is now better known as “entangling bride”. She lives both as a beautiful yōkai in human form and as a giant spider. This spider gains the ability to transform after it has lived for 400 years. She uses her human form to lure unsuspecting men to her lair before eating them. They live in caves, forests, or abandoned houses. This creature is often seen as part spider, part woman, generally the body of a spider and head of a woman.
All versions of this beast are terrifying, and all make a bold tattoo. Which is your favorite?
Gara is a South Korean artist working out of Lighthouse Tattoo in Seoul. His work is black and grey, dark in both composition and subject matter, often featuring skulls and skeletons, beasts, and weapons. Much of his work is surreal, creating tattoos that look 3D, and some very realistic looking pieces. He also draws influence from both Korean and Japanese art and style.
Gara has clients from all over the world and is a highly sought after artist thanks in part to his ever growing Instagram following.
(Beautiful set of hands with skulls, webs, flowers, and snakes.)
If you are in South Korea, Gara is a must see artist.
James Mckenna is an artist at Foothills Tattoo Byford – Western Australia. James is a painter as well as a tattoo artist, with a focus on surreal and horror themed pieces, mixing American traditional and neo traditional styles.
The majority of James’ work features skulls, often hidden within designs. Other work includes lady heads, animals, and demons.
James is a must see artist if you’re travelling through Western Australia.