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

Joao Bosco - snake and flower tattoo, cover
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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
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Tatoo book
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

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Hayley Evans is a freelance writer and editor hailing from Montréal. Her affinity is with the written word and anything that is dark, beautiful, erotic, or strange. Follow the author @ and view more articles.