Consider the time¬†that goes into crafting¬†a beautiful painting¬†on canvas. Then consider doing it¬†all over again, this time with an electric rotary on the elastic and unpredictable surface that is the human body. No mistakes allowed.
Watercolor tattoos were trendy¬†back in ‚Äė12, with¬†pioneers like Ondrash,¬†Klaim and¬†Wachob.¬†Their body art experiments inspired others to explore,¬†giving way to modern¬†masters in this¬†fresh and unique style.
Top:¬†Chambered nautilus ejecting¬†origami turtles by Jay Freestyle. Photo ¬© 360 Media Solutions.
Ecstasy by¬†Candelaria Carballo.
Sketches¬†dripping with emotion¬†are a¬†signature theme¬†for Argentinian illustrator¬†Candelaria Carballo. Painting with a purpose, she harnesses next-level expressionism, using¬†watercolor to amplify the¬†subject’s emotional state.
Family prints by Sara Rosenbaum.
Worldly¬†Sara Rosenbaum isn‚Äôt¬†new to watercolor. For years it was just a¬†gentle¬†accent, though, highlighting patterns¬†and soft portraiture. Now in¬†2014,¬†she‚Äôs pushing it¬†further. A¬†once-background element hits the¬†main stage, with fewer boundaries, bolder colors,¬†and larger scale designs.
Marilyn by Rodrigo Tas.
S√£o Paulo¬†free-thinker¬†Rodrigo Tas¬†is a master of the dotwork-watercolor hybrid. Embracing emptiness, he often¬†uses¬†negative space as a main¬†feature¬†in his work, highlighting details through¬†contrast.¬†So perhaps the strongest skill an artist can possess is the ability to subtract and edit.
Freehand thistles by Jay Freestyle. Photo ¬© 360 Media Solutions.
South African born to Chinese parents,¬†Jay Freestyle resides in Amsterdam now, with¬†a flair for freehand watercolor work. He pours every ounce of energy into his designs.¬†“Give me a piece of your skin and I will give you a piece¬†of my soul,” a motto he lives and works by.
Doodle does the laundry by Aleksey Platunov.
Kirov, Russia: home to¬†Kindergarten Chic. Aleksey Platunov¬†draws outside the lines with his whimsical coloring book designs. But don‚Äôt let yourself think, “My kid could draw that.” It‚Äôs arguably harder to¬†pull off this technique, while still maintaining balance and editorial restraint.
Grapes in monotone by¬†Chen Jie.
Watch out, Hong Kong. Beijing‚Äôs¬†tattoo culture is on the rise, with progressive artists like¬†Chen Jie (ťôąśīĀ).¬†Classic Asian¬†motifs collide with¬†Western techniques, as Chen Jie plays with¬†delicate, small-scale tattoo paintings.
Wild horse by Carola Deutsch.
Movement and rhythm never looked so good. Austria‚Äôs¬†Carola Deutsch¬†uses swift brushstrokes to amplify her already-dynamic drawings. These lively sketches¬†are customized for each body shape, painted¬†in a state of perpetual motion.
Simple shapes by Julia Rehme.
Berlin beauty¬†Julia Rehme¬†offers neat and clean compositions, with a dash¬†of wild splatter thrown in just for fun. Her ink-and-water approach always starts on simple sketch paper, before wrapping¬†it to¬†her client’s body¬†with perfect precision.
Painted poppies by Briana Sargent.
San Diego‚Äôs sun child,¬†Briana Sargent of BUJU Tattoo,¬†loves vibrant¬†colors that illuminate the skin‚ÄĒblack outlines are strictly optional. A classically trained illustrator¬†with a¬†Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from SCAD, this Boston native now fully embodies the spirit of California love and light.
Submerged elephant by¬†Victor Octaviano.
Renowned Brazilian painter¬†Victor Octaviano¬†spent 2013 honing¬†his¬†tattoo skills. It‚Äôs not an easy transition, from paint brush to¬†rotary machine. Few painters can actually pull it off,¬†but Victor is a success story. He hit¬†the ground running in 2014, with expert watercolor tattoo skills that usually take years to perfect.
Photos ¬© respective artists