Killer back-piece featuring hannya devouring a vicious snake.

11 Insanely Detailed Back-pieces by Mike Rubendall

Mike Rubendall's talent as a tattoo artist shines in these massive back-pieces done in the Japanese style.

Powerton in Tattoo Artists

Mike Rubendall is a living legend in the tattoo world. He's the founder of King's Avenue Tattoo in New York City and has over 20 years experience working in the industry. In his pristine and complex work, one can see how he has been able to hone his skills over a long career. He specializes in the traditional Japanese style, a fact that is evident in his portfolio. Take these stunning back-pieces for instance, each of which stands out in its incredible level of detail.  

Ross Howerton
From Tattoodo App
The level of color, complexity, and contrast in Rubendall's work is simply astounding. backpiece color detail dragon Japanese MikeRubendall peony tiger thunderstorm waves
The level of color, complexity, and contrast in Rubendall's work is simply astounding. #backpiece #color #detail #dragon #Japanese #MikeRubendall #peony #tiger #thunderstorm #waves
Ross Howerton
From Tattoodo App
The rich color palette and intense amount of detail makes Rubendall's iconic work unmistakable. backpiece color detail dragon Japanese MikeRubendall pheonix waves
The rich color palette and intense amount of detail makes Rubendall's iconic work unmistakable. #backpiece #color #detail #dragon #Japanese #MikeRubendall #pheonix #waves
Ross Howerton
From Tattoodo App
Rubendall is the best at tattooing mythological beasts battling each other. backpiece color contrast detail Karajishi Japanese MikeRubendall Oni
Rubendall is the best at tattooing mythological beasts battling each other. #backpiece #color #contrast #detail #Karajishi #Japanese #MikeRubendall #Oni

Though he works primarily in the traditional Japanese style, he infuses it with his own creative style, adding nuance to this longstanding tradition of tattooing. Take the use of contrasting colors in the piece above: the red of the Oni and the blue of the Karajishi creates an incredible amount of tension. This ability to create energy or inertia within his tattoos is what makes Rubendall's work truly one of a kind.

Ross Howerton
From Tattoodo App
Fudo Myoo with glaring evil eyes by Rubendall. backpiece color detail FudoMyoo MikeRubendall
Fudo Myoo with glaring evil eyes by Rubendall. #backpiece #color #detail #FudoMyoo #MikeRubendall
Ross Howerton
From Tattoodo App
Rubendall back-piece of a very festive pair of Tibetan skeletons entwined in dance. backpiece color dancing detail skeletons Tibetan MikeRubendall
Rubendall back-piece of a very festive pair of Tibetan skeletons entwined in dance. #backpiece #color #dancing #detail #skeletons #Tibetan #MikeRubendall

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As one can see in these photos, Rubendall is versatile in his use imagery. He is able to render a vast range of traditional iconography from numerous cultures, and his unique style, in all its wonderment, lends itself to the mythos behind each illustration. 

Ross Howerton
From Tattoodo App
Ross Howerton
From Tattoodo App
Rubendall's Hannyas all seem to scream out off of the skin. backpiece blackandgrey Hannya Japanese MikeRubendall
Rubendall's Hannyas all seem to scream out off of the skin. #backpiece #blackandgrey #Hannya #Japanese #MikeRubendall

Though much of his work is done in vibrant color spreads, Rubendall's black and grey work is equally spectacular. For what it lacks in chroma, it more than makes up for it in boldness.

Ross Howerton
From Tattoodo App
Another stunning example of how Rubendall's attention to detail is unmatched in the Japanese style. backpiece color demon detail Japanese MikeRubendall samurai
Another stunning example of how Rubendall's attention to detail is unmatched in the Japanese style. #backpiece #color #demon #detail #Japanese #MikeRubendall #samurai

Out of all the astounding elements of his art work, his intense level of detail is Rubendall's hallmark. There are few American tattoo artists who can deliver on this Japanese style with such extreme texture and contrast. His aesthetic is truly signature. It's simply inimitable. 

Ross Howerton
From Tattoodo App
Another fiery Fudo Myoo with a wrathful stare by Rubendall. backpiece color detail FudoMyoo MikeRubendall
Another fiery Fudo Myoo with a wrathful stare by Rubendall. #backpiece #color #detail #FudoMyoo #MikeRubendall
Ross Howerton
From Tattoodo App
One of the best back-pieces by Rubendall. The beast depicted is a Nue. backpiece color detail MikeRubendall Nue
One of the best back-pieces by Rubendall. The beast depicted is a Nue. #backpiece #color #detail #MikeRubendall #Nue

If you're taken by Rubendall's work, you can follow him on Instagram @MikeRubendall as well as check out his epic portfolio here. If you want a tattoo from this veritable giant in the tattoo community, you can request a consultation with him at King's Avenue Tattoo's Long Island location.  




Powerton

@Ross Howerton

Originally from Oklahoma. BA in literary studies from The New School. MFA in creative writing from New Mexico State University. English teacher, published poet, and writer for Tattoodo. I love art, books, movies, music, and video games.

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