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.
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.
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.
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.
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.