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Animals Art Body Art Dark Art Fantasy Flowers and Plants Skulls Storytelling Tattoo

Mortality and Sacred Snakes in the Dark Tattoo Art of Joao Bosco

Joao Bosco - snake and flower tattoo, cover

Joao Bosco is a tattoo artist currently dividing his time between Los Angeles and London. He is recognized for his dark fantasy imagery influenced by both Japanese and American tattoo traditions. Featured here is a selection of his incredible snake tattoos, which are fuelled by his connection to the animal’s sacred symbolism. He is also the founder of the book publisher Tiger Sword, and last year released an art book called “Skulls, Snakes, and the Flower of Death”; inspired by Bosco’s work and this publication, the London-based creative company Autobahn created a short film of the same name (see below). In order to convey the alchemical relationship between life, death, and tattooing, the film displays the haunting elements of Bosco’s symbolism—snakes, skulls, flowers, and dust—as well some of his completed tattoo work. “Death is humans’ biggest nemesis, the one fate we cannot avoid,” the accompanying poem reads. “Nothing illustrates this better than marking our bodies—our vessel through this finite time.” By inscribing images of mortality onto skin, Joao’s work is a meditative process that both acknowledges and confronts the inevitability of death. Keep your eye on his main Instagram account, as well as that of Tiger Sword, where he shares his growing diversity of work in the realms of publishing, music production, and more.

Joao Bosco - snake tattoo

Joao Bosco - snake rib tattoo

Joao Bosco - snake arm tattoo

Joao Bosco - sacred snake tattoo

Joao Bosco - strange mythological snake

Joao Bosco - snake tattoo

Joao Bosco - snake body tattoo

Joao Bosco - snake tattoo on hand/wrist

Images © Joao Bosco