tattoos

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Art

Fine Lines and Dotwork Form Surreal Monochromatic Tattoos by Michele Volpi

December 1, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Italian artist Michele Volpi tattoos highly detailed conceptual pieces using black ink and the negative space of her clients’ skin. With a surrealist style and a monochromatic palette, Volpi inks diagrams of insects, plants, and human anatomy that resemble vintage illustrations borrowed from science textbooks. With precise lines and controlled dotwork, each tattoo looks as if it were printed rather than done by hand.

Born in Sant’Elpidio a Mare, Italy in 1991, Volpi tells Colossal that he discovered the art tattooing 5 years ago and fell in love. While attending technical school, he also practiced various art styles to fulfill a desire to have his “fingers in many pies.” A friend recommended buying a tattooing starter kit, and Volpi said that it changed his life. After learning the basics and experimenting with techniques, the young tattoo artist found that line and dotwork were among his favorites. “My style was influenced by geometries, nature, surrealism, and the sciences,” Volpi says. “I like to push my self every day finding inspiration from all around me and trying to go beyond the shallow in what I see. The world of art is endless and I can’t wait to discover it with my passion.”

Volpi also translates sketches to paper to create handmade works of art. To see more tattoos and for appointment booking information, follow the artist on Instagram. To browse and buy his watercolor bookmarks, head over to his Etsy store.

 

 



Illustration

Elaborate Chiaroscuro Tattoos by Makkala Rose Burst With Ripe Fruit and Blossoming Flowers

November 15, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

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.

 

 



Illustration

Perfectly Round Tattoos by Eva Encompass Miniature Worlds Inspired by Art History

September 18, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Turkish tattoo artist Havva Karabudak (who goes by Eva in the U.S.) creates incredibly detailed illustrations on clients’ limbs, all carefully rendered within the confines of perfect circles. The artist, who splits her times between residencies in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, has been honing her craft for almost nine years. Previously, Eva worked as an art teacher and muralist; she got into tattooing through a friend who worked in the industry.

Using almost impossibly small lines, Eva inks interpretations of famed paintings by Matisse, van Gogh, and Klimt, as well as Hokusai’s The Great Wave woodblock print and Maurice Sendak’s illustrations in Where The Wild Things Are. The artist also specializes in water scenes and evening skies, giving a suggestion of infinite depth to her petite tattoos.

Eva is currently booked through November, but you can see more of her recent illustrative tattoos on Instagram.

 

 



Art Design Illustration

Delicate Flowers Blossom From Inky Black Backgrounds in Esther Garcia’s Stylized Botanical Tattoos

August 29, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Chicago-based tattoo artist Esther Garcia creates inky black backgrounds on her clients, which are interspersed with delicate floral designs. Sweet peas and garden roses, along with butterflies and birds, emerge from black palettes edged in stylized patterns. Garcia, who is largely self-taught and has twenty years of experience as a tattooer, is known for her lush botanical designs and her artistic project-based approach to tattooing. She shares with Colossal that her current series of black background tattoos began as a solution for cover-ups (a new tattoo deliberately designed and placed to obscure an older one that is no longer wanted).

“I found it meditative and very enjoyable to make a smooth saturated surface where there was chaos before, but pretty soon I was looking for ways to make it a bit more ornamental,” Garcia explains. “I am very influenced by Dutch master paintings of lush florals and fruit, and I love the depth and richness that a dark background offers. It turns out to be a great way to evoke delicacy in a tattoo, and doesn’t need to involve cover ups at all.”

In addition to continuing her tattoo practice, Garcia is also working on a textile and commercial design collaboration with Chicago designer Kyle Letendre, and a traveling workshop series to educate younger artists on cultivating a unique style and sustainable business. You can see more of Garcia’s tattoos on Instagram, and see what upcoming projects she has available on her website.

 

 



Art Craft

Embroidered Women Adorned With Flower-Shaped Tattoos and Leaf-Covered Clothing by Giselle Quinto

July 15, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Amsterdam-based artist Giselle Quinto embroiders the quiet moments that occur as one finds solitude. Quinto presents subjects left alone with just a potted plant or floral background. The works are created with precise black lines that outline a range of hairstyles, from short pixie cuts to a cascade of curls being held casually by a woman’s hand. Color tends to be used sparingly in her designs, often only used as an accent for plants, flowers, lips, and cheeks.

Quinto explains in her bio that her practice “brings an anarchic view to classic embroidery, revisiting old traditions and transforming it in protest for equality, where all have the right to be and live whoever they are.” You can buy your own piece of Quinto’s through her online shop and follow her photo shoots behind-the-scenes on Instagram. (via Brown Paper Bag)

 

 



Design

Bold Line Drawings Layered on Top of Deconstructed Images of Fruit, Flowers, and Animals in Tattoos by Mattia Mambo

April 30, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Mattia Mambo creates graphic interpretations of his clients’ favorite fruits, celebrities, and animals in minimalist tattoos. The designs use thick, rounded lines to highlight the shape of an object or face, with bold splashes of color creating an abstracted version of the subject underneath. Sometimes the Milan-based tattoo artist transforms the shape of a word into a pictorial representation of an animal, like in his sloth tattoo below. Other designs borrow from classic art historical references, such as René Magritte’s famous painting of a pipe, or Frida Kahlo’s recognizable flower crown and facial features.

Mambo shares with Colossal that he attended art school but was self-taught as a tattooer, and he developed his destrutturato (unstructured) style by chance. “What inspired me most has probably been my passion for graphic designs and logos—I love simple shapes. Every day I’m encouraged by the objective of simplifying each image as much as possible and making it clear and intuitive using only few black lines. But both black lines and colors are fundamental: the colors tell what the black lines can’t do.”

You can see more of Mambo’s two-part tattoos on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Dazzling Jellyfish, Snakes, and Turtles Glow with a Multitude of Colors in Vibrant Tattoos by Zihee

March 4, 2019

Anna Marks

Eye-popping giraffes, tropical green leaves, and snakes entwined in floral motifs jump out in Korean designer Zihee Tattoo’s ink-based creations. Inked on wrists, elbows, and thighs, Zihee adds a vivid splash of creativity to human skin, emphasizing the vibrancy and delicacy of natural forms. Brimming with every color in the rainbow—including lilacs, crimson reds, and sunflower yellows—Zihee’s work celebrates her interest in nature, while shading together pigments seamlessly. In her leaf tattoos, cool blues flow into luscious greens, reflecting how light manipulates the organic forms’ color as it lands upon them in nature. You can find more of Zihee’s work on Instagram.