Tattoos grew more pervasive in the last few years than they have ever been in the last several decades, owing its mass media hype to celebrity cult tattoos and millennial fads. And of course, we have the dozens of tattoo artists who continue to transcend the negative status of tattoos through their works and smash the stigma about tattoo the rest of the world knew.
They broke out of the underground tattoo scene and into the face of well-known media outlets that help spread this massive Renaissance the tattoo scene is going through. Meet some of the rising stars who are redefining the way we see tattoos and reinventing them into their constraints.
Nissaco is a Japanese tattoo artist who is giving a whole new meaning to bodysuits. Just because he's Japanese doesn't mean that he follows the traditional Japanese style of tattooing as seen on prominent Japanese tattoo artists like Horiyoshi III and Horihide. Nissaco deviated away from traditional oriental designs and delved into sacred geometry, contemporary art, pointillism, and black and grey.
Turkish tattoo artist Okan Uckun was among the breakout tattoo artists of 2015 with his alternative geometric element-laden blackwork pieces merged with nature-themed subjects. His works are timeless, classic, and never overdone.
Illustrated in a gorgeous art nouveau-inspired style, Kirsten Holliday's works project tattoos in a new light that's far from its aggressive repute. Through her works, Kirsten plants gardens into skin with ink with gorgeous designs that we often see in fine art and in your mother's greenhouse. Art nouveau is definitely finding its way into the tattoo scene and art nouveau style tattoos into fine art.
Sang Bleu's founder and director, Maxime Buchi may have worked with notorious rapper, Kanye West in the past but this definitely did nothing to tarnish his tattoo artist reputation, despite the generic nature of the rapper's design. This is rare for many tattoo artists once they've worked with a celebrity but with Maxime, that's not the case. With an expertise that covers sacred geometry, pointillism, black and grey, and woodwork, Maxime continues to wow the rest of the world with his designs. Aside from tattoos Maxime also dabbles in fashion design, publication, and very recently, watches – a collaboration with Swiss brand, Hublot.
Among the many talented tattoo artists rising from South Korea, only a few managed to stand out in the scene. One of them is Sol. South Korean tattoo artists are known for their distinct tattoo style characterized by its subtlety and use of single needle tattooing technique and pastel colors, but Sol manages to transform his own into gorgeous pieces that offer as much lovely subtlety as micro tattoos and twice the impact.
I'm grateful to have interviewed the insanely skilled Róbert Borbás last year. His impressive blackwork pieces blew me away. With a majority of dark and occult-themed imagery laced with incredible details and beautifully orchestrated sleeve designs – we said it before, we're saying it again – Róbert Borbás is somebody to watch for. Watch out, Paul Booth.
In a few more years, Chaim Machlev won't need any introduction. His works are everywhere. His moniker, DotsToLines is becoming a household name among tattoo circles and it won't be long before the rest of the world will know him like they know Nikko Hurtado and Cally-Jo. Known for his impeccable geometric designs that make use of the individual's unique body structure, Chaim creates tattoos that has striking flow and appeal.