Tattoo artist Makkala Rose creates dramatic botanical designs on her clients’ skin, incorporating richly toned flower blossoms, unctuous fruits, and life-like animal portraits. One recent commission involved completely covering a client’s back with a chiaroscuro “painting” featuring three burning candles, reflective glass and crystals, piles of ripe fruit, and a hanging bat on an inky black background.
Rose’s first love was painting, the artist tells Colossal. “One of my first memories was smearing bright purple paint from the pot onto a fresh sheet of paper stuck to an easel, and my love and fascination with art and creating has never ended.” Now that Rose spends most of her time tattooing, her background as a painter has come into dialogue with her ink work. “The feel and the mood brought through by my color palette and my style of tattooing is influenced by the way I like to paint and now vice versa as I spend a lot more time tattooing, they lend interestingly to each other,” says Rose.
The artist also has a strong personal connection to flowers and gardens (Rose tells Colossal that floristry would be her backup career), and she seeks to imbue her tattoo work with the joy that blossoms bring her. She spends time perusing different bouquet designs, photographing flowers in public gardens, and researching new plants and flowers to expand her repertoire, though peonies and blackberries are perennial favorites.
To create her most recent backpiece, shown above, Rose explains that she personally collected all the materials for the composition, from individual flowers to pitchers and crystals. She then arranged everything in a composition (minus the bat) and worked with a friend to take documentation photos in preparation for the tattoo design.
Rose hails from New Zealand, and travels frequently for her tattoo work, most often across the U.S., U.K., and New Zealand. See more of her designs on Instagram. Rose is usually booked several months out, but you can find out where she’ll be next on her website. If you enjoy Rose’s designs, also check out Esther Garcia’s inkwork.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!