Who remembers the Portlandia sketch Put a Bird On It? Hilarious, but true, there are certain things in this world that nearly everyone would actively avoid if it weren’t for the addition of a bird: the Baltimore Orioles, Alfred Hitchcock, and Donald Trump’s hair to name a few. Just like with the addition of a bird, the addition of a jewel, stone, or gem is always a promising thing. Not a fan of the pants your mom gave you for Christmas? Eh! Bedazzle it (you know, in an ironic sort of way). Not a fan of the weird 14 karat gold dolphin shaped ring your grandmother gave you? No problem! Put a diamond in the blowhole and rubies in the eyes (you know, if you’re rich in an un-ironic sort of way). The same could be said about tattoos. Although they stand alone beautifully by themselves, the addition of a gem is always a welcome sight, and for magpies there’s always the “oooh, shiny!” factor. No one knows this quite as well as artist Daryl Watson.
Based out of Painted Lady Tattoo in Birmingham, England, Watson is probably the last person you’d expect to be dabbling in shiny things, but then again, the ones that are are never the people you’d expect. With a predominantly neo-traditional portfolio, Watson creates beautiful flora, fauna, and the occasional fabled character like the Embodiment of Death or Achilles. Favoring jewel tones over the more popular muted tones that so often go hand in hand with neo-traditional work, his color palettes are absolutely stunning and play perfectly with the added detail of Watson’s famous gemstones.
Creating depth and amazing intricacy by experimenting with different cuts of stones like cabochons, heart cuts, and even a few that resemble old European cut stones, Watson is able to create beautiful strands of jewels that effortlessly adorn his subjects. Our personal favorites are the ones that are casually slipped in amongst the blooming petals or inlaid in the Russian nesting doll, each stone adding an air of finery to the piece, one that you might just miss if you’re taking too quick of a look.
Whether you’re a jewelry aficionado, a fan of expertly executed neo-traditional work, or flora and fauna tattoos, Watson’s work has a bit of something for everyone, but especially the magpies.