Results tagged “abstract”

07:18 AM
xoil gap remix.jpgRenowned for innovating tattoo art design, largely with exciting graphic abstractions, Loic Lavenu -- aka Xoil -- has partnered with apparel brands, big and small, so that collectors can now grab his artwork with a painless click online.
Loic was one of the 11 artists from around the world to design a limited edition tee for Gap's Remix Project, a collection in which the artists were asked to reimagine Gap's logo in their own signature styles. In this video (embedded below) for the project, Loic shares his personal story -- how he came to tattooing and his philosophy on the craft, which includes his thoughts on the transfer of energy between artist and client. There's some deep thinking in this 2-minute video and definitely worth a look. You can purchase Loic's Remix design here


Also check Loic's design for Morgan English's Tattrx line, limited edition apparel hand-printed here in Brooklyn. A portion of the profits from the sale of the tees are being donated to, which coordinates with existing boots-on-the-ground efforts to give immediate support to those affected by the earthquake in Nepal. You can purchase the tees here.  
In addition to apparel, Loic has also designed for Peugeot's 108 tattoo model car, and he has a project in the works with a luxury Swiss watchmaker.

In light of all this, it's particularly interesting that Loic has taken a break from his digital compositions and gone deep into tattoo's roots, handpoking "retro flash," which you can see here on his Facebook page (including the piece shown below). You can learn more in this great video focusing on just his handpoke work: XOIL - TATOUAGE SANS MACHINE. The interview is in French, with English subtitles forthcoming.

Oh, and there's even more cool stuff: check Loic's 7 & 15 project, which he describes as the following: "Tattoo performance, timed on a stop watch, 7 minutes for animals, 15 minutes for portraits, tattoo is finished when the clock stops, done with machine." There are some super cool works, which are hard to believe were created in such a tight time frame.

For those seeking an appointment, Loic's manager Chris recently wrote on Facebook that Loic c
losed his studio in Thonon, France and will be a resident artist, from September 1, 2015, at DropinShop in Lausanne, Switzerland. You can send your appointment requests to with the mention "Xoil Tattoo."

Ok, I've given you a lot of Loic in one post. Explore and enjoy!

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12:20 AM
maika abstract tattoo.jpgsnowflake tattoo maika.jpgPlaying with geometry, mandalas, industrial forms and organic shapes, Montreal-based tattoo artist and painter Maika Zayagata goes beyond traditional tattoo vocabulary to create unique and engaging tattoos. A few months ago, I got to meet Maika in person, and she has a truly unique and engaging personality as well!

I shot her our Proust Questionnaire, and she shared her thoughts on earthly happiness, good reads and being eaten by sharks, among other secrets.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  
To be alive in a body where the eyeballs are the only moving part...but ultimately, human beings killing human beings is a great misery of this world that affects me deeply.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? 
Peace of the heart and mind...but...on some days, it is simply chocolate...ahaha!

Your most marked characteristic? 
Organized...almost too much sometimes.

What is your principle defect?  

Your favorite painters?  
I do get impressed by paintings...but I don't have ONE favorite painter...when I look at a painting, it has to captivate me somehow, or disturb me...or something in me needs to happen... I did find myself quite impressed with some of the paintings in (17th century) Frederiksborg Castle, when I was in Denmark. I also like dark creepy horror, surrealist art...the collective is a site that I (almost) always love what they post...whether it's paintings, sculptures or else.

Your favorite musicians?
That's hard... so much good music out there... so I'll talk about what I last remember...I had a craving for listening to Jimi Hendrix lately and when I did, I remembered how good it is....damn!!!
And on a (very) different note I really like my electronic music, psy-trance and good old D&B... ...And, again...on another much different note.... some Milanku (post-hardcore music band from Montreal) is ALWAYS welcome.

Who are your favorite writers?  
I like to read Osho...though he is not technically a writer...but he makes me laugh and smile.
I'm also reading right now:

     * The Tibetan book of the living and the dying by Sogyal Rinpoche
     * World War Z, an oral history of the Zombie war by Max Brooks
     * Intermediate German for Dummies by Wendy Foster...ahaha!!

Your favorite virtue?
Integrity.... to have the ability to be whole and undivided.

Who would you have liked to be?
Someone born where I could have been at the beach surfing everyday of my life.

How would you like to die?  
While surfing -- more drowned than eaten by a shark...though they can eat my body all they want after I'm gone...I won't care...hehehe!

What is your present state of mind?

What is your motto?
One day at a time!  and : Breath.

See more of Maika's work on her site, Facebook, and Instagram.

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07:51 AM
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Building really strong tattoos, that flow from the dark and brutal to light and playful, Lionel Fahy Out of Step Tattoo in Paris has amassed an exciting portfolio that has inspired others to think differently about tattoos. You can find more of his work on Facebook and also his blog, where he often offers more (in French) on the works he shows.

After eight years with the team of Art Corpus, Lionel is moving to a new location: Sanhugi at 88 rue des Dames, Paris 17. For appointments, he's best reached at lionel.fahy at

Looking forward to seeing more from Lionel at his new tattoo home.

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08:33 AM
Maika Tattoo.jpgmaika tattoo 2.jpgFor organic-meets-industrial-geometric tattoos, check out the portfolio of Maika Houde, of Tattoos by Maika, in Montreal, Canada.

This self-taught tattooist, who began painting when she was 9 years old thanks to her artist mother, picked up the tattoo machine in 2005, and has since developed a signature style that plays with various forms outside of traditional tattooing. She says of her influences: 

I am inspired a lot by abandoned industrial sites in decay, rusted pieces of machinery, destroyed cities landscapes, architectural landscapes and also of course geometry. And I am fascinated with contrast such as organic shapes versus extremely technical geometric pattern, shape or design.
My tattoo influences are artists such as Little Swastika, Gerhard Wiesbeck, Rob Hoskins, Cory Ferguson, Xed Lehead, Jondix, Vincent Hocquet.
I also asked Maika about her tattoo process:

As for my Organic/Industrial Geometry work, I usually work first on paper, of course, after having consulted once with the client. But, to make it fit nicely on the body, I usually draw parts of the design on the clients and build it on them in the first session. [...]

Some clients give me more details and are more specific on what they want, but in the end, I do what my creative mind tells me to do. So there are times where I don't include everything they ask for simply because, esthetically, technically, or for whatever other reason, it wouldn't fit nicely. Once I explain that to them, they are pretty ok with it, or we adjust depending on if there's something I previously took out and that they really wanted in there.

I also try to keep them away from cliches, or if I keep the cliched idea, I make sure I totally destroy it by making it something new and beautiful -- and other times a cliched [design] can be pretty beautiful -- maybe I should call these ideas "classics"; it is all really a feeling based on who's in front of me and how I feel in the moment, so it's a very "organic" way to work and it changes with each client and project.

When asked about her particular clientele, Maika explains:

A fascinating thing I have noticed is that a lot of my clientele are engineers, biologists, scientists of some sort, architects, doctors, mathematicians ... they come from the left side of the brain and I've found it an interesting mix: their left side of the brain encounters my right side of the brain! Ha! It feels like it's an opening, a welcome sign, for the left-sided brain people into the world of tattoo. There's a lot more "geeky" & "nerdy" tattoos in the world now, where before there wasn't! I think it's exciting!
Maika often does guest spots out of Edmonton, Toronto, Quebec City, and will be expanding her travel into Europe. She'll be working the Frankfurt Convention in 2014, among other shows.

You can find most of Maika's work on her Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram [@Tattoobymaika]. 

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07:05 AM
Black Tattoo Art II.jpgUPDATED POST:  Limited author copies are still available. You can order via Paypal here or contact me at Get a sneak peak inside the book here
We live in a time when images of tattoos are in a constant stream online. Your eyes may light up at the artistry, as you scroll through your Instagram and Facebook feeds, click "Like," maybe even "Share" ... and then on to the next one. For me, when I want to really find inspiration, to spend time with a work of art, I want a book in my hands. That's why I continue to give birth to these monster tomes that are great big love letters to various genres of tattoos -- books that are meticulously crafted and published by Edition Reuss.

Black Tattoo Art II: Modern Expressions of the Tribal is my latest book; it's the second volume to my very first baby.  

At the time, when we published the first volume in 2009, I had no idea that we would have such an incredible response. I just thought that there wasn't really any comprehensive books on works created only with black ink, such as neotribal, ornamental and abstract work, and so Edition Reuss and I made one. What came out of it was a community. Artists and collectors from the book contacted each other, shared ideas, and had a few drinks. It was the greatest gift I ever received from a project. So when asked if I'd do a second volume, I said, "Hell yeah!"

Within this hardcover are 448-pages containing over 600 images, in addition to text, featuring the works of over 75 artists from around the globe. That texture of the paper, the weight of it in your hands, the details that can be enjoyed from such a large format book ... it adds to the experience of marveling at fine tattoo art.     

leon lam spread small.png    Here's more info on Black Tattoo Art II: Modern Expressions of the Tribal:   
Black Tattoo Art II: Modern Expressions of the Tribal, the second incarnation of what has been deemed the "Bible of Blackwork Tattoos," continues the first volume's photographic journey across the globe, showcasing the absolute best of tattoos that capture the magic of the ancient art form in exciting contemporary interpretations on the body. Within the 448-pages of this massive tattoo tome, readers will explore particular movements in tattoo art that, much like most indigenous tattooing, are more decorative and less literal; elaborate patterns predominate; harmony and flow with the body is paramount; and the color palette is primarily black--hence, the name Black Tattoo Art. This second volume follows the direction of the first, but takes it even farther.

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The most important addition to Black Tattoo Art II is the greater roster of international artists: 75 top tattooists from Saint Petersburg to Sao Paolo, Austin to Aotearoa, Barcelona to Brooklyn and beyond. They share their creativity, innovation, and spirit in presenting images of their tattoo and fine art work for this book. There are also more hand poked and tapped tattoos represented, and an entirely new chapter has been added celebrating Nordic and Celtic-inspired art. Along with the "Celtic/Nordic" works are those that fall under the chapters of "Dotwork," "Ornamental/Neotribal," "Abstract/Art Brut," and "Traditional Revival." Together, these works convey the endless possibilities of art that can be created with needles and black ink--although readers will find a splash of color in many of the tattoos on these pages.

thomas hooper spread small.pngThe "Ornamental/Neotribal" chapter encompasses works that enhance the body through motifs that fit so organically with the collectors, they appear as if they were born with the art on their bodies. Within the "Neotribal" genre, patterns from various cultures are melded and often infused with a modern, even punk rock, aesthetic. In this volume, with the addition of the more expansive "Ornamental" label, the chapter also includes art featuring geometric elements, some representational forms, and big, bold swaths of black ink.

The "Dotwork" chapter displays excellence in tattooing that utilizes the stippling technique in a painstaking process, creating sophisticated works out of small points to huge effect. From Sacred Geometry and Eastern Iconography to pop culture portraiture and folk art imagery, the tattoos presented in this chapter depict a large range of subject matter created from a small mode of articulation: dots.

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The new "Celtic/Nordic" chapter will inspire readers, not just with its stunning ancient designs, but also through the fantastic stories of the myths and lore behind much of the imagery, as conveyed by tattooist Colin Dale, who wrote the chapter's introduction and assembled the finest practitioners of Celtic and Nordic tattooing today for Black Tattoo Art II.

A newer tattoo movement that has defied easy classification is exhibited in the pages of the "Abstract/Art Brut" chapter. "Art Brut," or "raw art," evokes the intensity, feverishness, and freedom of creation when not bound by strict artistic formulas and conventions. This section has been further opened to include "Abstract" tattoos that possess the same flow and feeling but stylized in different ways.

buena vista spread small.pngThe "Traditional Revival" section of this book is just a glimpse into the work of those carrying on the techniques, ceremony, and spirit of ancestral tattoo practices. While the focus of this book may be the "modern expressions of the tribal," respect must be paid to the origins from which these works flowered. In this chapter, readers will find Iban hand-tapped works of Borneo, Mentawai tattooing of Indonesia, Ta Moko of the Maori, Tatau of Samoa, magic-infused Thai tattoos, and Kalinga tattoo practices being revived in the Philippines.

One of the greatest successes of the first volume of Black Tattoo Art was that it helped forge bonds among artists and collectors who find particular allure in blackwork tattooing. The goal of Black Tattoo Art II is to expand this community and further inspire those seeking to carry forth the beautiful and powerful traditions of the art form.

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Tattoo credits from top to bottom: Cover tattoo by Tomas Tomas; Leon Lam; Roxx 2 Spirit; Thomas Hooper; Celtic/Nordic chapter by Colin Dale; Buena Vista Tattoo Club; Filipino tattoo revival by Elle Festin/ Mark of the Four Waves (Photos by Joe Ash).
04:41 PM
art brut jef.jpgContinuously pushing tattoo art beyond its traditional tenets is Jef Palumbo, a French-born tattooist who, for almost 20 years, has created a style that he describes as "just something in between 'pop' and 'street art'." Jef has inspired countless artists, particular those in the "art brut" collective largely concentrated in France, Belgium and Montreal.

Jef humbly explains how he came to develop his signature portfolio:

I'm not the best about Japanese style or realistic, so I had to find my own way -- what I really enjoy doing and not what I can do to make money or bla-bla-bla. [I'm] inspired mostly by pop art, and every time I'm walking in the street, I find brand new ideas, especially in Berlin -- there are so many pictures everywhere. And also the "Muppet Show's drummer" [Animal]! Haha!
He also says he enjoys working with "maximum freedom" from clients, not limited to a specifically defined subject matter, but having the ability to work together with many ideas.

Currently working in a private atelier in Berlin, Jef still travels back to Belgium, where he was for many years in Brussels at La Boucherie Moderne. There's a chance he'll be coming stateside soon, as he's looking for a guest spot in NYC. Hope to see him here!   

You can see more of his work on Facebook, and reach him at jefboucherie at gmail.

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11:53 AM
Ismaêl CH7.JPGTattoo on Ismael by Cy Wilson.

I met Cy Wilson at the Paris Tattoo Convention (photos) in 1997 and was instantly charmed -- not just by his open and affable character, but by his body of work that stood out for its modern yet organic compositions in his tattoos as well as art prints and silkscreen apparel. [I was equally charmed by his artist mother Sylvie, who went around the convention feeding berries to those working.] Indeed, being born of artist parents, you can say he was baptized in Parisian ateliers since the 80s, but it wasn't until he traveled to Asia and met a Japanese tattooist in India (who tattooed a sleeve on him), that his life tattooing began.

In contrast, Caro came to the art through a more academic root. Carolina, born in Heidelberg, Germany, first studied "European Media Culture" at Bauhaus-University Weimar but later pursued research into tattooing and "conceptualizing pain as a catalyst for creation and change whilst inking people in real life." She met Cy, and did her first tattoo on him in Lyon, France. They have been together for 4 years and tattooing together full time for two years on the road between Barcelona and Copenhagen. Next spring, they'll be putting roots down in Barcelona as Caro is seeking to get her Masters degree in Art Criticism at MACBA (Museum for Contemporary Art). Caro says that their different backgrounds inform their creative process, style, and relationships with their clients.

normann.jpgTattoo on Normann by Caro  

When asked to describe their tattoo style, they explain:
We do black, graphic work, everything between bold and very delicate, always body involved and always singular pieces. Our idea is to create tattoos that represent our visual culture as urban young people from the 21st century. Rather than reproducing "ancient" representations of things, we like to interpret even classic themes with a more modern graphic approach. But of course the new does not really go without the old; we consider it is very important to have a solid knowledge about symbols and cultural connotations in order to embrace the new.[...]

We think each body and each person is beautiful and it makes us sad to see how many people have problems with their self-esteem because some mainstream normative discourse made them believe they have to be different from what they are in order to consider themselves beautiful. We love to see when our work helps people embrace who they are more. We would love to work more with people of all shapes and colors. We enjoy integrating already existing body-marks like freckles, moles, birthmarks and stuff like this. Also working with and around scars is challenging and very interesting on a human level between the tattooist and the client.

david by cy.JPGTattoo on David by Cy. 

They also have a special approach to client relationships. They first set up a meeting (free of charge) to discuss the idea and design. They always draw directly on the body and very rarely on paper (only if it's very specific motif or small geometrical design). They say that this way the client "can already carry an approximation of the potential tattoo in his/her skin and check it out alone at home, naked in front of the mirror, with different clothing and so on. We feel this helps the people a lot to get a clearer idea of what they really feel themselves like." They make it clear that they are anti-sexist, anti-racist and anti-homophobe and will not work with those who hold such prejudices. While they believe regulations on hygiene tend to be exaggerated, as they are dealt with like surgical procedures, they take special care to "eradicate even the smallest risk of infection." [Cy was misquoted in the French translation of "Tattoo World" as saying the opposite.] 

To get tattooed by Cy and Caro, check their upcoming travel dates:
Nov 7 - Nov 17  Zurich, Switzerland at INK TANK
Nov 17- Nov 27 Freiburg, Germany at VISAVAJARA
Dec 28 - Jan 23 Berlin, Germany at CHORUS TATTOO
Jan 23 - Feb 4  Copenhagen, Denmark at Colin Dale's SKIN&BONE

For more on Cy & Caro, check their blogs SkinTraces and TravelTraces as well as Facebook.

normann by caro.JPGTattoo on Normann by Caro
12:01 PM
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Tattooing since 1988, Russia's George Bardadim has gone from hand-poking with a needle and thread to building tattoo machines and achieving international acclaim for his stellar realism as well as other genres in his expansive portfolio.  When asked about his work, George says:

Black and grey tattoos were much more popular in Russia--then color through years--that's why I did a lot of them back then. Nowadays, the situation has completely changed. I also changed my mind a little and tried to learn how to work with colors in a way modern young artists do. I do my best to learn different styles, though sometimes it's not easy at all.
George's studio is in St. Petersburg but he travels extensively throughout Europe, working conventions and guest spots. His next shows are Frankfurt and Milan as well as a few smaller conventions.

Good news for those in the US:  George has just arrived for the first time in the States. He says, "I hope I will be able to find new friends and probably take part in local conventions. I really like to learn things through experience sharing, and I'm always open to new relations and guest spots."

From October 23rd to October 30th, George will be a guest artist at our Brooklyn homebase, Tattoo Culture, and he still has some appointments available! You can reach him via email at bardadim(at) or through his contact page.

Check his online gallery and Facebook page to see more of his work.

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