Artist of the Month: Bert Krak

Bert Krak is a tattoo artist working out of Smith Street Tattoo in New York City.

Full back done on model Cat Mcneil.
An Ed Hardy inspired full front piece.

Bert is a highly sought after tattooer for collectors of classic American traditional tattoos.

Panther and stars by Bert. Butterfly and dice by Chad Koeplinger.
Full dragon back piece.

In addition to tattooing, Bert also makes finely crafted tattoo machines.

Back of the head banger.

He has been collecting antique tattoo flash since he started tattooing, and uses these pieces of history to influence his own designs.

Healed chest and fresh butterfly.
Classic battle Royale back piece.

While sticking close to traditional iconography, Bert still has a distinct style in terms of colour palette and heavy lines.

Tiger head on the hand.
Matching peacock calf pieces.

If you’re passing through New York, or live nearby, be sure to set up an appointment with him. You can check out his work at his Instagram here.

Healed eagle, wolf, and panther. With a fresh Polito cowboy.

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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: Gakkin

Gakkin is a (mainly) blackwork and freehand artist working out of Amsterdam after first working in Kyoto.

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Blackwork raven across the back of the neck.
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Large octopus sleeve and chest piece.
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Bodysuit featuring birds, flowers, wind, and clouds.
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Huge snake torso piece.

His pieces are all large scale. Full sleeves, large torso pieces, back pieces, and bodysuits.

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Gruesome namakubi (severed head), with hair that flows into an almost cloudlike state.
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Massive crane back piece with clouds, waves, and koi.
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Negative space stomach hannya as part of a full bodysuit of mainly solid black.
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Red flowers on heavy black leg sleeve, with white spider web.

He collaborates often now with another Japanese blackwork artist, Nissaco. The two work well together, and their pieces flow seamlessly into each other.

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Bright flowers within a dark backdrop.
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Chrysanthemum with Japanese noh mask.
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Back of a bodysuit featuring negative space geometric designs.
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Beautiful blackwork moon and cloud back piece.

His work is largely inspired by nature. Everything from wind, water, flowers, mountains, the sun, and the moon, and animals.

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Large brushstroke style.
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Geometric, blackwork sleeve.
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Large chrysanthemum as part of a sleeve.

Gakkin also takes direct inspiration from ancient Japanese painters, adding his own interpretations.

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Waves and wind in these nature sleeves.
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Part of a bodysuit featuring wind and waves.
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Bright red flowers on heavy black.

Though he mainly works with black, he does also add splashes of red to draw the eye. In an interview with Tattoo Life, he said about working with black “I believe that black is the most important color in tattooing. Every ancient tattooing culture – Maori, Japanese, and Polynesian – considers it as such. It just works better than any other color on the skin.” (www.tattoolife.com)

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kuchisake-onna ghost, from stories dating back to the Edo period.
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Tsuchigumo, the Japanese spider demon.
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Collaboration piece done with Nissaco at the London tattoo convention 2017.

Which piece is your favourite?

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?

Baphomet Tattoos:

Baphomet today is regarded as a Satanic figure, but for a long time Baphomet was actually a word for the prophet Mohammed in Islam, and worshipping a Muslim god or prophet was seen as idolatry. The Knights of Templar were accused of worshipping Baphomet the false idol in Medieval France, and were tortured under King Philip.

baphomet Daniel Baczewski
Baphomet head by Daniel Baczewski.
baphomet Róbert A Borbás
Brilliant back of the head and neck piece by Róbert A Borbás.
JASON OZ in Denver Colorado
Majestic Baphomet head done on the skull by Jason Oz in Denver Colorado.
Matthew Murray, Black Veil Tattoo, Salem Massechusetts
Amazing long bearded Baphomet head by Matthew Murray, Black Veil Tattoo, Salem Massachusetts.

Over the next 500 years, Baphomet changed from Mohammed the prophet, to a hermaphroditic stone figure borrowed from Egypt or the Gnostic Christian Ophites. This was after both scholars and mystics studied the Knights of Templar, writing that the Knights brought back ancient magical knowledge from the middle East and North Africa. The idol in question was called Baphomet in 1818, and were most likely just misidentified artifacts from other cultures and religions.

Patrick Toussaint Melbourne
Fantastic blackwork/linework full bodied Baphomet by Patrick Toussaint in Melbourne.
Anka Lavriv at Black Iris Tattoo in New York
Blackwork goat head by Anka Lavriv at Black Iris Tattoo in New York.
baphomet Brooke Ashliegh at Binx Tattoo
Pentagram, goat skull, and flowers by Brooke Ashliegh at Binx Tattoo.
Frederico Rabelo in Portugal
Large Black Philip torso piece by Frederico Rabelo in Portugal.

But the final Baphomet that we picture today was created in 1854 by occultist Eliphas Levi for his book “Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie” (“Dogmas and Rituals of High Magic“).  Levi describes Baphomet in detail in his book.”The goat on the frontispiece carries the sign of the pentagram on the forehead, with one point at the top, a symbol of light, his two hands forming the sign of hermetism, the one pointing up to the white moon of Chesed, the other pointing down to the black one of Geburah. This sign expresses the perfect harmony of mercy with justice. His one arm is female, the other male like the ones of the androgyn of Khunrath, the attributes of which we had to unite with those of our goat because he is one and the same symbol. The flame of intelligence shining between his horns is the magic light of the universal balance, the image of the soul elevated above matter, as the flame, whilst being tied to matter, shines above it. The beast’s head expresses the horror of the sinner, whose materially acting, solely responsible part has to bear the punishment exclusively; because the soul is insensitive according to its nature and can only suffer when it materializes. The rod standing instead of genitals symbolizes eternal life, the body covered with scales the water, the semi-circle above it the atmosphere, the feathers following above the volatile. Humanity is represented by the two breasts and the androgyn arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences.”

baphomet alex tabuns
Large goat head on the torso by Alex Tabuns.
baphomet sakari
Full bodied Baphomet in a fantastic blackwork backpiece by Sakari.
Matthew Kaufmann Drunken Monkey Tattoo, Mixhigan
Bright neo traditional Baphomet head and skulls by Matthew Kaufmann at Drunken Monkey Tattoo in Michigan.
Rodrigo Lopez
Three eyed Baphomet by Rodrigo Lopez.

As a tattoo, people often get the full bodied Baphomet, or a goats head, as goats are often also related to Satanism as well as witchcraft and paganism. Full bodied goats and goat heads are also popular in part thanks to the film The Witch, and the Satanic goat named Black philip. Generally these tattoos are done in blackwork or black and grey but also realism, neo traditional, and American traditional.

baphomet ant walsh
Three eyed goat head and quote by Ant Walsh in a neo traditional style.
forest ink tattoo, South Korea
Baphomet head and snake done at forest ink tattoo, South Korea.
Vince Genois Panthere Noire Limoilou:Quebec
American traditional take on Baphomet by Vince Genois Panthère at Noire Limoilou, Québec.
Nestor Gonzalez at Sailor's grave in Costa Rica
Huge American traditional stomach Baphomet and dagger by Nestor Gonzalez at Sailor’s grave in Costa Rica.
Tatiana Esmeralda Marcum Tattooer at Iron Rite
Full bodied Baphomet with a little bit of colour done by Tatiana Esmeralda Marcum Tattooer at Iron Rite.

Which style is your favorite?

Jason Voorhees Tattoos:

Jason Voorhees is the iconic villain from the Friday the 13th franchise. Jason is a silent, undead killing machine, and mamma’s boy. Jason haunts Camp Crystal Lake where he drowned as a child due to inattentive lifeguards. As a tattoo Jason is done in a realistic style portrait, American traditional style, neo traditional, black and grey, and new school/cartoon. He is usually seen wearing his hockey mask, sometimes paired with his machete or other weapons, or seen in Camp Crystal Lake.

DJ at True Color Tattoos
Jason mask with full bodied Jason in very dark tones done by DJ at True Color Tattoos.
Paul Acker The Séance Tattoo Parlor in Bensalem PA
Hyper realistic Jason in a killing position done by Paul Acker The Séance Tattoo Parlor in Bensalem PA.
Joe K Worrall at Heart & Arrow Tattoo Studio, U.K
Colour piece by Joe K Worrall at Heart & Arrow Tattoo Studio in the UK.
Matt Beirne at Stefano's Tattoo Studio in Ft. Lauderdale
Black and grey Jason at Camp Crystal Lake with nude camp counsellor by Matt Beirne at Stefano’s Tattoo Studio in Ft. Lauderdale.
Moira Ramone at 24 to Life in NL.
Great contrasted Jason mask and machete by Moira Ramone at 25 to Life Tattoo in NL.

Jason was born with facial deformities and a mental disability. His mother kept him away from other people, homeschooling him and looking after him herself, but when she was unable to find a babysitter she resorted to sending him to Camp Crystal Lake where she worked as the cook. Jason was bullied by the other kids and thrown into the lake where he drowned while the counsellors were having sex in the woods. Mad with grief, Pamela, Jason’s mother, murdered the counsellors she blamed for Jason’s death. Jason came back to life and waited for his mother to come back to him, for 20 years. Years later the camp tried to re open, but Pamela murdered all but one of the counsellors. The survivor, Alice, cut off her head, while Jason watched. Jason killed anyone who came back to the camp, mostly using the machete that killed his own mother.

Alessia at Bikini Bottom Tattoo Shop
Adorable cartoon Jason done by Alessia at Bikini Bottom Tattoo shop.
Fran Muñoz
Realistic black and grey Jason head and chain by Fran Muñoz.
Megan Fell
American traditional Jason mask with “mamma’s boy” and flower by Megan Fell.

Jason has a kill count of over 150 throughout the films he’s been in. Jason’s supernatural powers include immortality, regeneration, superhuman strength, enhanced speed, and durability.

Amanda Fox in Glasgow
Jason mask and machete’s in classic skull and crossbones fashion by Amanda Fox in Glasgow.
Jesse Torres
Mostly black and grey Jason mask by Jesse Torres.
Murrmosavich at Blue Blood Custom Tattoos
Blackwork mask and machete by Murrmosavich at Blue Blood Custom Tattoos.
Sabrina Sawyers
Blackwork Jason mask and trees by Sabrina Sawyers.

Jason is a fan favorite in the horror genre, often paired with Freddy Kreuger, due in part to the film Freddy VS. Jason.

Done at Bespoke Body Art Tattoos in Grimsby, UK
Jason’s torso and machete, with chains, done at Bespoke Body Art Tattoos in Grimsby, UK.
Matt Bishop at Artistic Edge Tattoo
Neo traditional Jason and Camp Crystal Lake tattoo by Matt Bishop at Artistic Edge Tattoo.
Tony Davis in VA.
“Mama tried” American traditional mask and flower by Tony Davis in VA.

What is your favorite Friday the 13th movie?

Artist of the Month: Dan Gagné

Dan Gagné is an artist working at Loveless Tattoo in Montréal, Canada. Dan’s tattoos are perfect for the month of October, and those who love Halloween and horror year round. His work is mainly American traditional and blackwork, and is heavily inspired by horror movies. His work often features monsters and other icons of classic horror movies and stories.

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Bright Creature from the Black Lagoon with unlucky number 13.
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Ghostface from Scream with phone and knife.
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Creepy witch with hard black shadow.
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Fantastic werewolf and full moon.
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Huge mostly blackwork Alien torso piece.
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Creepy crawly spider head tattoo.
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A sinister looking Dracula!
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The Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth.
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Norman Bates and loving mother from Psycho.
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Battle of the monsters with Godzilla and King Kong!
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Nasty looking Gremlin. Don’t get it wet!
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Alien from Mars Attacks!
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Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th!
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Creepy skull and vampire bat with red moon.
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A startled looking Leatherface with his pretty mask and chainsaw.
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Matching loving undead.
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Jason Voorhees Vs. Michael Meyers. Friday the 13th and Halloween.
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The Demogorgon! From Stranger Things, featuring the classic light bulbs.
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The mighty Count Orlok from Nosferatu.
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For all the bookworms and halloween lovers. Book, vampire skull, and candles.

What classic Halloween/horror design do you want?

Winnipeg Artist 7: Stephen McConnell

Stephen McConnell is an artist at Main Street Tattoo Collective in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Neo trad bear with beautiful fall leaves and bright red sun.
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Dark Kylo Ren portrait.
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Matching hammerhead shark and great white in American traditional style.

Stephen’s work ranges from black and grey, to realism, watercolor, American traditional, blackwork, geometric, and neo traditional.

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Beautiful American traditional shoulder rose.
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Black and grey skull and mask.
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Huge black and grey owl with geometric patterns and some dotwork on the sternum.
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Blackwork creepy shrunken head.
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Travel themed piece with hot air balloon and luggage!
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Fantastic portrait!
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Geometric half sleeve with both black and red, creating a brilliant duality.
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Painful full torso crane with dotwork halo.
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American traditional lady head.
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Creepy Norman Bates with his house.
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American traditional French Bulldog portrait!
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Three forearm mandalas.
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Amazing almost finished realistic lion half sleeve.

Stephen McConnell is a must visit artist in Winnipeg!

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.

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Matching feet. Stylized noh mask with horns.
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Noh mask on snake body.
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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.
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Horned mask with facemask common in Asian countries, with kanji lettering.
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Brilliant blackwork Japanese oni backpiece.
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Detached jaw noh/hannya inspired mask.
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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.
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Traditional blackwork butterflies.

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

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Mask split down the middle by Japanese knife.
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Terrifying split hannya mask.
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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!