Spotlight: Life lessons & Tattooing Tips by Horiyoshi III
Master Horiyoshi III is renowned and respected worldwide for creating numerous full body Japanese tattoos (also known as "Shisei").
Horiyoshi III shares his beautiful insights on tattooing as compared to real life to this generation's promising tattooers. Hear this, like-minded fellas, because THIS would make one of the best 15 minutes of your Life. These life lessons & tattooing tips as entertainingly told by Horiyoshi III are truly words of wisdom to live by. A perfect example to Work Hard and Stay Humble. Recommended for tattooers practicing Japanese tattoos. Awesome video produced by VICE.
"I don't want Tattoos to be just about Art"
Horiyoshi III believes that Tattooing, in essence, needs both Art & Spirit to create a genuine Tattoo master piece. In composing a tattoo or shisei the right way, he shares the
KEY FACTORS TO A BEAUTIFUL SHISEI:
Recent from Tattoo Artists
You need to know how to draw. "Without it, you can't go to the next step which is..."
"Compared to Life, Outlining is like a life plan. You need to clarify your ideas. Every stroke of the needle counts. Just like every day, every second of your life. Neglecting even a second results to imperfect lines. So it's important to cherish this moment. Cherish each stroke of the needle & each second of your life. Without a precise outline, you can't go to the next step:"
"Only when outlining & shading are complete can color be applied."
ON LIGHT & DARK SHADING:
"It shouldn't be all about light. Shisei won't generally shine unless there's an element of shadow."
"Unproductive steps are important in everything. If artisans take shortcuts to learn, they only end up learning half of what they should."
ON ESSENCE, STYLE & TECHNIQUE:
"If you had the skill, you could draw the same picture. But the result won't look the same. It'll lack essence. Copies can technically be better than the original shisei. But the copy lacks the essence instilled in the authentic version. I guess you could say the "essence" is the "unique touch" of each artist. So it's not about technique - It's about whether or not it has essence."
ON DESIGNING THE SHISEI:
"The most interesting are myths and fantasies. Sun Wo Kung doesn't exist but we draw him. Same with dragons. A realistic portrait of a real person doesn't quite work as a Shisei. They must be depicted as legends."
ON GOING WITH THE FLOW:
"Every moment matters. Inspiration is everything. If I draw a draft beforehand, i'll miss the magic of the moment. So I don't plan ahead. That's how to make interesting work. But it also means you need sufficient knowledge to move ahead. Even an idiot can draw pictures if he keeps at it."
"I focus on the Shisei itself rather than the client. A Shisei should stay true to the design. If I think about my client too much, I won't be able to go forward with it. But I do listen where they want the Shisei to be on their body. But that's where I draw the line. Beyond that, I forget about the client and even myself."
ON FREEHAND WORK:
"My hands move spontaneously. Say, you're drawing waves. If you're following the outlines of a draft, you won't be able to draw spontaneously. You need to free your mind. That's why every moment matters."
"If you can't tolerate the pain, you're not a man. You can't give up halfway. You have to overcome physical pain with mental strength. It's that simple. Overcome yourself or not."
"Japanese Shisei are designed to perfectly fit specific parts of the body."
As quoted from Prof. Osamu Matsuda "Never make Shisei common place among the general public. Shisei should be reserved for the special few in order to preserve its value. Making them commmonplace would be an insult to tattoos."
"This Spiritual depth is integral in making a Shisei shine. You need a feeling of the underground to truly convey the beauty & history that's behind them. That is what i want to leave behind. The true aesthetics of a true Japanese Shisei requires both Art & Spirit. That's why I don't want tattoos to only be about Art."
"I don't think I can ever reach my goal. I'll forever be unsatisfied. But that's good, in a way. I don't think anybody has died contently. My ultimate goal is to die. To die well.
(old school photo of Horiyoshi III carrying his son Kazuyoshi Nakano)
Much respect to Master Horiyoshi III (a.k.a. Yoshihito Nakano). Learn more about this wise old man and see his works at his website http://www.horiyoshi3tattoo.com
photo credits: Horiyoshi with books, Kenzaburo Fukuhara; Needles by Eddie Jim; please feel free to help us credit the others properly!