In recent years, it has been noticeable a new wave of tattooers that are connected to fine art enthusiasts and students.
It is obvious that drawing on a flat piece of paper is different from inking on someone’s body. These visual artists are fascinated with the challenge of inking on a complex surface such as the human skin—textures varying from smooth to scarred and wrinkled. Plus the diverse tonalities and body shapes. It is also incredible to see a work of art on a person’s body and know that it may be permanent for a lifetime.
The 21st century is a time for change, to stop limiting and discriminating what tattooing is. It is evolving whether purists and people-who-see-it-as-negative like it or not. It is getting attention, new styles are emerging, and all in all if it becomes popular, maybe there will be more knowledge and acceptance.
The painterly traits of Wachob’s tattoos (see both images at top).
Being wondered by painters like Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock and Helen Frankenthaler; it would seem natural for Amanda Wachob to pursue her studies in fine arts at the Purchase College in New York. She one day proposed a question: “If Hans [Hofmann] were going to make a painting on a surface that wasn’t a rectangle, what would the shape of his canvas look like? What would something abstract look like, say, on the curve of someone’s arm?”  And there it began her exploration into tattooing, which led to opening a private studio in Brooklyn. Her style recognized as a type of abstract expressionism, usually a spontaneous and automatic creation, but for body art it may require some planning beforehand.
Inko’s tattoos mimic soft watercolor shading and paint splatter.
Although he is skillful in realistic skull and bird tattoos, Niko Inko is best known for his free-form style that resembles mixed-media sketchbook art. It almost looks like he grabbed a pen, thick marker, brush with watercolor, spray paint can and applied on the client’s skin. A large number of his compositions are purposely asymmetrical, yet well balanced due to his meticulous placement on an arm, chest, back, etc. This French artist can be found working at BellyButton shop in Perpignan.
The bright and joyful animal portraits of Sasha Unisex.
Unisex’s watercolor paintings of geometric-shape-filled animals are basically a mirror of what she tattoos on bodies. Some of her work hints stencil art (like the tiger shown above), which is not surprising as she has done collaborative projects with graffiti artist Timofey Motor. Her illustration style would be fitting for children’s books with purple shaded unicorns and cute lion and wolf heads. This Russia tattooer is currently located in St. Petersberg, Russia.
Ondrash’s colorful and expressive tattoo art.
Majoring in fashion design, Ondrash got his arts degree from the Tomas Bata University in Zlin, Czech Republic. He started tattooing on weekends while he was studying and now works full-time in the royal city of Znojmo. He inks with a traditional art sensibility which is comparable to watercolor and oil paintings. “I like to draw tattoos directly onto the skin of the customers, as if they are tailor-made. The lines then perfectly fit with the curves. I have no catalogs. The customer writes to me what they wish, and I draw it for them,”  he states.
1. Franklin, Britt. "Amanda Wachob on Making the Temporary Permanent." Burchfield Penney Art Center. Retrieved on December 2nd, 2013. 2. "Artists: Ondrash." Inked Magazine. Retrieved on December 2nd, 2013. Images © respective artists