tattoos

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Art Illustration

Elegant Tattoos by Expanded Eye Combine Fragmented Figures and Geometric Details into Surreal Compositions

April 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Jade Tomlinson and Kev James, shared with permission

Splashes of primary colors enhance the dotted lines and angular forms that compose Expanded Eye’s tattoos. Artists Jade Tomlinson and Kev James (previously) are behind the distinctly geometric designs that pair foliage and natural matter with architectural constructions and figures: single hands extend with delicate gestures, fragmented faces open to unveil inner dimensions, and stripes, chevrons, and other patterns fill structural elements. The ink-based works are poetic and surreal, with each composition rooted in narratives of consciousness, relationships, and universal human emotions like grief and joy.

Expanded Eye currently tattoos at Lisbon’s Eritage Art Projects, which also has some of the duo’s prints and sculptural assemblages available in its shop. They just completed a window installation for Hermès in Barcelona, in addition to a print series titled Eyesolation, which constructed characters from the cobalt tiles typical in Lisbon. See those works alongside more of their tattoos on Instagram.

 

 

 



Illustration Science

Precise Lines and Stipples Detail Tattoos of Exquisite Scientific Studies by Michele Volpi

March 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Michele Volpi, shared with permission

Bologna-based artist Michele Volpi (previously) inoculates his monochromatic tattoos of anatomical figures and biological diagrams with a dose of the surreal. Working in black ink, Volpi renders exquisite scientific illustrations across botany, astronomy, physiology, and chemistry with precise detail. He uses intricate linework and stippled shading to create realistic renderings of human skeletal systems and weather cycles, while skewing the scale or pairing seemingly disparate subject matters to achieve the more unusual qualities.

Although Volpi’s books are closed at the moment, he plans to announce new slots this spring—keep an eye on his Instagram for specifics—and he also has prints and shirts available in his shop.

 

 

 



Illustration

Whimsy and Vintage Illustrations Merge in Colorful Stippled Tattoos by Joanna Swirska

February 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Joanna Swirska, shared with permission

Amidst delicate black lines and stippled shading, Polish tattoo artist Joanna Swirska (previously) inks splashes of bright pigments. Her works blend fanciful elements with elegant illustrations of flora and fauna, like her signature ferns and detailed monsteras colored with bright green gradients. Often covering an entire upper arm or calf, the tattoos are whimsical in both subject matter and style, depicting raccoons dressed in orange hooded capes, birds perching on berry-studded branches, and cheerful cats riding retro cruisers.

Swirska, who’s known as Dzo Lama, lives in the Karkonosze mountains and works between Jelenia Gora and Wroclaw, where she runs Nasza Tattoo Shop. Her books are closed until July, but keep an eye out for future openings on her Instagram. You can also pick up prints, mugs, and other goods adorned with her illustrated characters on Etsy.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Miniature Scenes, Cross-Stitch Flowers, and Works from Art History Nestle into Eva Krbdk's Tiny Tattoos

May 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Havva Karabudak, shared with permission

Havva Karabudak, who works as Eva Krbdk, thrives on inking minuscule details. Focusing on innumerable lines and dot work, the Turkish tattoo artist (previously) illustrates textured florals in cross-stitch, realistic portraits of animals, and micro-paintings in the likes of van Gogh, Magritte, and Fornasetti. Many of the vivid renderings are small enough to fit into a perfectly round circle or a skinny stretch of a client’s upper arm.

Karabudak’s background coalesces in her tattoos, including her formal education at the Fine Arts Academy of Ankara in Turkey and her love of textiles. “It’s pretty customary for young women to learn (embroidery) from their grandmothers in Turkey,” a statement about her work says. “As a result, tiny cross-stitch patterns were among the first tattooing styles that Eva embraced.”

Karabudak just opened her studio Atelier Eva in Brooklyn, and although she’s currently booked, you can watch for openings on Instagram.

 

 

 

 



Illustration

Delicately Illustrated Tattoos Take a Whimsical Approach to Flora and Fauna

March 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Joanna , shared with permission

Polish tattoo artist Joanna Świrska (previously) stipples fur and inks subtle gradients to create fanciful scenarios of backpack-wearing kangaroos, cycling cats, and whimsical masses of tangled flora and fauna. Working as Dzo Lama, Świrska is known for her delicate illustrations that mix playful elements with the style of vintage botanical renderings, particularly the bold, black fern that recurs in her tattoos. Her ink-based pieces often cover an entire thigh or upper arm with precise lines and pockets of color.

Świrska tells Colossal that while her style is largely derived from nature, she also draws on the works of Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin. “I like to combine non-obvious colors and create new combinations. I approach the form the same way. I like contrasts such as light-heavy, hard-delicate. A tattoo is an extension of our personality, and we, as humans, are multi-dimensional,” she says.

Based in Wrocław, Świrska currently runs Nasza Tattoo Shop and is working on opening another location in a mountainous enclave of Jelenia Góra. She sells prints, mugs, and stickers of her illustrations on Etsy, and you can follow her travels and information on available bookings on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Science

Science-Inspired Ink by Michele Volpi Blurs the Line Between Tattoo and Textbook

July 29, 2020

Vanessa Ruiz

All images © Michele Volpi, shared with permission

One might learn something from staring at the tattoos of Italian artist Michele Volpi (previously). The composition, detailed dot work, and precise lines of his tattoos transcend both ink-infused skin and science textbooks. The Bologna-based tattoo artist relishes in scientific books—from Frank Netter’s painterly medical illustrations to the exquisitely rendered biological specimens and marine life of Ernst Haeckel. He often visits bookshops during his travels to discover and acquire these new sources of inspiration.

Volpi’s customers seek him out to tattoo an array of botany, astronomy, physiology, and chemistry-based compositions. Sometimes customers let him choose the branch of science, in which case he renders his favorite subject—anatomy. Even then, Volpi combines subject matter like in his tattoo comparing the shape of a human pelvis to that of a butterfly or another that features a human skull being stretched absurdly through a wormhole.

The artist tells Colossal that his “dream is to make a scientific book with all of my conceptual scientific illustrations that I love.” View Volpi’s body of work and booking information on Instagram. For those not ready for the permanence of a tattoo, there are prints of his pen-and-ink, anatomical illustrations available in his shop.

 

 

 

 

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