10 Black Tattoo Artists to Support:

There is unfortunately still quite a bit of subtle (and not-so-subtle) racism in the tattoo industry. It’s often believed that customers with darker skin are harder to tattoo, but that’s certainly not the case. Especially as body modification is such an important part of all cultures and histories, not just white ones.

Tony at West 4 Tattoos in NYC. Specializing in fine line and micro tattoos.https://www.instagram.com/anthologytattoos/?hl=en
Another by Tony. From A Tribe Called Red album cover.
Kandace Layne in Atlanta. Specializing in line and dot work https://www.instagram.com/kandacelayne/
Chest done by Kandace.

Black ink is also not the only ink that has to be used on dark skin, contrary to what many believe. Darker skin can still feature bright and colourful pieces. you just have to know what you’re doing with that tattoo machine.

Jaz Paulino with a piece inspired by Frida Kahlo. https://www.instagram.com/gentle_jaz/
Berry’s by Jaz.
Coverup by Kat in California who does lots of realism and gothic work. https://www.instagram.com/kattatgirl/?hl=en
Unfinished black history leg piece by Kat. Featuring Rosa Parks and Malcolm X.

More tattoo artists should push themselves to learn how to tattoo different skin types, including darker skin, as the subculture of tattooing isn’t so “sub” anymore. It can be disheartening for black or tanned customers walking into a tattoo shop when all they see is flash painted on white paper, and portfolios filled with white skin, or only very dark tattoos on darker skin.

Dark Mark by Brittany in Toronto. Specializing in line work. https://www.instagram.com/humblebeetattoo/
Delicate fingers by Brittany.
Miryam Lumpini in LA with a neo traditional scar coverup. https://www.instagram.com/miryamlumpini/
Cute neo traditional red panda by Miryam.

(June 2020) With the world finally rallying beside our black brothers and sisters it’s more important than ever to support black businesses, including tattoo artists.

Craig Foster at Skinwerks. Specializing in new school. https://www.instagram.com/skinwerks/?hl=en
New school pizza coming at you from Craig.
Tee J Poole. Specializing in surrealistic tattoos.https://www.instagram.com/teejpoole/?hl=en
J. Cole portrait by Tee J.

Feel free to leave more links to black tattoo artists below!

Healed plants by Doreen Garner in NYC Specializing in black work and fine line tattoos. https://www.instagram.com/flesh_and_fluid/?hl=en
Tiger by Doreen.
Melody Mitchell who does lots of black and grey and water colour pieces.https://www.instagram.com/melodytattoos/?hl=en
Mandala by Melody.

Build your own blog using the link below!

https://wordpress.com/alp/?aff=53531&cid=6423569

Winnipeg Artist 9: Dave Lao

Dave Lao is a black and grey artist working out of his private studio, Lone Wolf Studios in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

18581124_128804241013290_6386810102241820672_n
Dark religious piece.
20214612_2005758129654030_1270742576479076352_n
Realistic Greek god/monster back piece.
21820395_1499243273525006_3913785688599822336_n
Crazy surf tattoo with shark.
23596570_164127970855215_5145781372236857344_n
Centaur and flowers.
26865990_164150287544309_564510650047397888_n
Game of Thrones’ Daenerys.

Dave works in realism and sketch work styles. Much of his work is portraiture, such as characters from shows and movies, and lots of animals.

18645423_430415660662638_7014958286281637888_n
Roman statue styled piece.
20905021_134495633826538_6123415477558444032_n
Eyeball with a space theme.
22430542_1755710261398841_6954784767967494144_n
Beautiful elephant back piece.
23668523_1534834253274809_5914630975496650752_n
Angry polar bear.
25015772_1713818425329339_7816810306574745600_n
Virgin Mary portrait.

Dave has an impeccable attention to detail; with every line counting.

19986016_313817815743940_2178927472941203456_n
Terrifying grim reaper.
20968902_145696592684354_2946582396687876096_n
Greek/Roman surreal piece.
22639149_175328009687843_2885960462313193472_n
Greek god Atlas.
24331637_1437501419701795_1284185390323859456_n
Portrait/ sketch work style lion.
25026091_1514366768639259_7401258034409766912_n
Surreal woman portrait and nature themed piece.

Most of his portfolio is made up of somewhat larger pieces, but he will also do smaller tattoos which are just as impressive.

20180933_292320887843701_4665789193174122496_n
Nautical themed hand.
21576659_184558318753452_6677368707150249984_n
Canadian army memorial piece.
23348064_1888176874532814_4976520782730493952_n
Realistic king piece.
25006647_139478720095168_313461934626177024_n
Small photo realistic swiss army knife.
26156144_1184423345021428_8736375376017620992_n
Gas mask and chopper.

Dave is a must see artist for black and grey work 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.

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.

12
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.

8
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.
14
Split hannya on stomach, releasing inner monster.
15
Matching hannya and noh masks with kanji lettering.

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

Artist of the month: Gara tattooer

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.

5
Full macabre chest piece with some Japanese influence in the flowers.
2
Realistic tiger head piece.
4
Grim looking Jesus Christ with crown of thorns.
6
Greek/Roman figure in statuesque format.
9
Skull king and snake in a regal pose.
11
Surreal skeleton figure trapped in a hand.
13
Skull with broken jaw and rose.
14
Praying Mary in robes with rose.
16
Skeletal praying hands.

Gara has clients from all over the world and is a highly sought after artist thanks in part to his ever growing Instagram following.

7
Knights armoured hand with beautiful detail.
15
Surreal skeleton bent to create a skull.
8
Webby knee and a big ol’ spider.
17
Surreal sea captain with his ship.
12
Realistic portrait in profile and black rose.
19
Plague doctor mask and skulls.

(Beautiful set of hands with skulls, webs, flowers, and snakes.)

If you are in South Korea, Gara is a must see artist.

Check out his work on Instagram at gara_tattooer

Artist of the Month: James Mckenna

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.

1
Multiple skulls as a gap filler.
2
Elbow ditch surrealist skull hidden within spider webs.
3
Vicious demon above a skull and snake piece.
4
Leopard within a leopard within a leopard.
5
Traditional elbow mandala.

The majority of James’ work features skulls, often hidden within designs. Other work includes lady heads, animals, and demons.

6
Neo traditional lady head.
7
Leg sleeve castle with secret passages and a snake mixed in.
8
Big ole’ jaguar, scorpion, and flower. Heavy on the black!
16
Skull added to the stomach piece!
9
Neo traditional bear and skull in a tender spot!
10
Healed blackwork snake within a snake!
11
Leg snake!
12
Evil looking demon under the armpit.
13
Butterfly lady head!
14
New twist on a classic skull and snake.
15
Jaguar and lady head.
17
Knee big cat and butterfly.

James is a must see artist if you’re travelling through Western Australia.

Artist of the Month: Carlos Torres

Carlos Torres is a hyper realistic black and grey artist from San Pedro CA. He is almost entirely self taught with 18 years of experience behind him. He is a tattoo artist and a painter who specializes in realism and surrealism.

carlos-1
Angel riding horses in a full back piece.

His work is incredibly detailed and realistic. He creates brilliant original pieces. He has been to numerous tattoo conventions around the world and won the first place black and grey in London. His work has the feeling of a painting come to life, thanks to his experience with oil paintings.

carlos-4
Chest piece with skeleton, sword swallower, and fire breather.

Carlos has even done head and face tattoos, which can be daunting as it is extremely visible and will be one of the first things people see when looking at his clients.

carlos-2
Surrealist face.
carlos-3
Full face with a Mayan style.
carlos-5
Full leg sleeve of warriors.
carlos-6
Another brilliant (not quite finished) back piece.
carlos-7
Lady head and tiger.
carlos-8
Huge horse with surrealist design within.
carlos-9
Huge motorcycle on the belly.
carlos-10
Mayan temple style rib piece.
carlos-11
Surrealist puppet master.
carlos-12
Healed full torso piece with Victorian woman, ship, skulls, angels, and surrealist filler.

Which is your favorite piece by Carlos?

Ghost (Band) Tattoos

Ghost is a popular metal band from Sweden that formed in 2008, and quickly became popular around the world. The bands macabre theme, costumes, lyrics, gothic sound, and artwork make for the perfect Halloween band. The vocalist “Papa Emeritus” is dressed as a Satanic Pope, and the instrumentalists all wear black clothing and devil masks, and go by the name “the nameless ghouls”. Adding to the band’s theme is an air of mystery. No one knows exactly who any of them are. Even when signing autographs, the vocalist signs with his stage name, and the nameless ghouls use stamps with their individual alchemical symbols, allowing people to focus on the art instead of them as individuals.. Despite their dark and often satanic lyrics, members of the band have stated that they are religious in some form, and have said in interviews that they are all “tongue-in-cheek”, it’s all for the entertainment and artwork.

tumblr-paul-acker
Realistic Papa Emeritus by Paul Acker at Seance Tattoo Parlour in Bensalem PA.
tumblr-by-salva-navalon
Black and grey photo realistic Papa Emeritus by Salva Navalon.
tumblr-micke-bayman-true-heart-tattoo-sweden
Another Papa Emeritus by Micke Bayman at True Heart Tattoo in Sweden.
tumblr-by-vince-genois
American traditional take on Papa Emeritus by Vince Genois in Quebec.
tumblr-stacey-martin-at-golden-age-tattoo-texasjpg
Adorable cartoon version of Papa Emeritus by Stacey Martin at Golden Age Tattoo in Texas.
tumblr-by-ver-rou-ven-in-berlin
Creepy caricature of Papa Emeritus by Ver Rou Ven in Berlin.
tumblr-by-ron-russo-at-570-tattooing-co-in-wilkes-barre-pa
Surrealist Nameless Ghoul by Ron Russo at 570 Tattooing Co in Wilkes Barre, PA.
tumblr-tim-vonevil-at-evil-eye-tattoo-in-sockholm-sweden
Black and grey Nameless Ghoul by Tim vonEvil at Evil Eye Tattoo in Stockholm, Sweden.

What is your favorite Ghost song?

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.

tumblr-josh-mason-cannonsburg-pa
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.

tumblr-kirsten-wonderland-tattoo-portland-oregon
Neo Traditional Gorilla head with leaves by kirsten Holliday at Wonderland Tattoo in Portland Oregon.
tumblr-mike-devries
Realistic gorilla portrait by Mike DeVries at MD Tattoo Studio in Northridge Ca.
tumblr-oliver-white
All black roaring gorilla head by Oliver White at Crooked Claw Tattoo in Sheffield.
tumblr-peter-aurisch
Surrealist peaceful gorilla and squirrel done by Peter Aurisch in Berlin.
tumblr-philip-yarnell
Another angry bold black gorilla by Philp Yarnell at Skynyard tattoo in the UK.
tumblr-reuben-todd-kapala-tattoo
An Ed Hardy inspired gorilla head by Reuben Todd at Kapala Tattoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
tumblr-tobias-burchert
Surrealist gorilla head with city architecture by Tobias Burchert at Saints and Sinners Tattoo Lounge in Germany.
tumblr-w-t-norbert
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.

tumblr-drew-apicture
Fantastic black and grey king kong leg sleeve by Drew Apicture at “The Tattoo Shop”.
tumblr-rob-richardson
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?

Swallow Tattoos

Swallows are a staple of American traditional tattooing, and were first tattooed on sailors. They are as popular as ever to those who love travel and the sea, and are now done in other styles such as black and grey, realism, linework, dotwork, surrealism, and watercolor.

The meaning of a swallow tattoo was firstly to indicate that a sailor had sailed 5000 miles. They also mean a return home, as swallows would migrate, returning to their homes. A metaphorical return also meant that if a sailor died at sea, the swallow would carry their souls to heaven.

tumblr Josh Stutterby Melbourne, Australia
Traditional swallow and rose by Josh Stutterby in Melbourne, Australia.
tumblr Ryan Jessiman
Black and grey matching hand swallows by Ryan Jessiman at Old Habits tattoo in London.
tumblr Adrian Bascur
Surrealist starry sky swallow by Adrian Bascur in ViƱa del Mar.
tumblr Diana Katsko
Linework swallow by Diana Katsko in Russia.
tumblr Simona Blanar
Watercolor matching foot swallows by Simona Blanar at Black Bull tattoo in Prague.
tumblr Harry Harvey
Simple traditional swallow by Harry Harvey at Vagabond tattoo in London, England.
tumblr Hugh Sheldon Cloak and Dagger
Traditional swallow by Hugh Sheldon at Cloak and Dagger in London, England.
tumblr Dr. Woo
Dotwork and linework hand Swallow by Dr. Woo at shamrock Social Club in Los Angeles.

Which one is your favourite?