The ability to truly capture a subject's personality in a portrait is quite a skill. Bringing out the inner-spirit of a celebrity is a craft all on its own, and Shannon Perry's illustrations somehow manage to be realistic, minimal, and filled with the subject's energy.
Instead of going the hyperrealistic route, Perry leans into her experience with illustrative blackwork and black and grey tattooing to create body art of movie stars and legendary musicians that are really capture of the sort of people these individuals are and were. Here's a red carpet's worth of her portraits to leave you starstruck.
What makes Perry's celebrity portraits so charming is how she uses different tattoo techniques to bring out their individuality. For example, someone like Nina Simone is arguably best depicted in illustrative blackwork with cross-hatching because it reflects her identity as a woman of color, while a person like prince looks excellent in darker black and grey work due to his mysterious and mystical persona as a musician. Likewise, the model Kate Moss — like any pop culture icon — looks extra glamorous when rendered solely in fine lines. In short, it's astonishing how much these different approaches to creating portraits can highlight peoples' diverse personalities. Just look at the smoldering expression on Leonard DeCaprio's face below, and you'll get the idea.
Perry's got a whole bundle of the usual suspects under her belt, but she's also done a lot more obscure and unique portraits. For instance, she's even done one of the Everly Brothers — a musical duo that most of you will probably have to look up (please do so if you've never heard them, by the way). Similarly to Perry's tattoos, their songs — such as "Poor Jenny" — are absolutely priceless. We were also overjoyed to see a body art homage to TLC, too. Left Eye and the other ladies look great in her illustrative style. She's even done an amazing tattoo of Waylon Jennings for all you country die-hards out there.
If you want to see more of her stylized portraits of celebrities as well as her other tattoos, make sure to visit her Instagram. She owns and works at Valentine's Tattoo Co. in Seattle, Washington, should you want to honor your favorite star as well. Lastly, Perry also is the lead singer of a band called the Gazebos, too, so if you're in the mood for some music, check out the video above.