Realistic Trash Polka

Realistic Trash Polka has been invented by Volko Merschky and Simone Pfaff, two tattoo artists, in the well-known Buena Vista Tattoo Club.
The term refers to tattoo subgenre Realism and to a music piece of Austrian musician Johann Strauss II called « Tritsch Tratsch Polka », which the couple liked. Shortened in Trash Polka by the fans and disciples, it soon caught the eyes of the tattoo and art community with its bold, even violent style.
Indeed, the genre is highly recognizable and is either loved or hated. Mixing both bold and fine black lines, grey shadings and dramatic touches of bright colors, mostly red, it looks more like a collage of various elements which, by all appearances, are not directly linked, and meaningless.

Realistic Trash Polka pieces often focus on realistic images, portraits coming from cinema, fashion and horror movies. Most of the pieces are showing beautiful ladies next to skulls. The perfection of those portraits contrasts  with a chaotic composition, mixing blood or paint stains, drips, brush strokes and geometrical designs. Intertwined with the designs, are words, which look like letters cut from newspapers, or typewritten texts . The result is discordant yet aesthetically pleasing, reminding of the daring style of German contemporary graffiti art. As its creators sum it up, it is a fusion between antagonistic elements : sex and death, « realism and trash; nature and abstract; technology and humanity […] ».
One thing to remember. Realistic Trash Polka is a trademark only Buena Vista Tattoo Club owns, but of course it didn’t prevent other artists to be inspired by the concept. First geographically limited to Eastern Europe but now spreading, even in America, you could always find someone to do a average copy of it. But of course, it doesn’t take only black and red ink to make real Trash Polka. It does need talent.

But is it just a fad? Some cautious tattooer highlighted that the vivid aspect of Realistic Trash Polka doesn’t last. Black and red inks are fading quickly with time, and they could leave the body with just a dark mess. So, are you bold enough to take the risk or do you trust the artists?
If you are interested in Realistic Trash Polka, check Buena Vista Tattoo Club FB page.
Buena Vista Tattoo Club
On that sleeve, you can easily recognize American actor Steve McQueen.
A dark Venus in fur tattoo
A skull, elements reminding of cathedrals and lace fans, and some german words.
Dope skull tattoo
This chest piece and sleeves are impressive.
Buena Vista Tattoo Club
No realistic element here, but the pattern is gorgeous.
Amazing skull chest tattoo
The skull is impressive and the barbwires are just suggested.
This picture of Volko and Simone’s work on one of their clients, by Michael Kutzia, is very nice.
A bird skull and some painterly effects work well on a hand too.
This one is using orange and a lot of text.
Buena Vista Tattoo Club
Of course, blue is evident with a lighthouse and seagulls. All the tattoos above are copyright of Volko Merschky and Simone Pfaff of Buena Vista Tattoo Club, do not copy.
Eva Mpatshi Belgium
A chest and sleeves tattoo imitating Trash Polka by Eva Mpatshi (Belgium).
Another imitation by Jamie of Tattoo Temple (Hong-Kong)
Surrealism and 3D with black and red inks by Olive of BPStattoo (France)
Vlado Aries Tattoo Czech Republic
Portraits of Tupac by Vlado of Aries Tattoo (Czech Republic).
A scary clown, also by Vlado
A la Catrina, a girl with a Day of the dead make-up, by Balazs Revai (Austria) with discreet Trash Polka references