Eugene Nedelko's Woodblock-Inspired Work

Eugene Nedelko's Woodblock-Inspired Work

Just when you thought you'd experienced every type of tattoo style, Nedelko swung into town.

Printmaking nerds, rejoice — we've found the tattoo artist for you. Based in Katowice, Poland, Eugene Nedelko is a man with a plan. Nedelko's style is unique, bold, and deeply rooted in some real printmaking art history. From quality woodcut style landscapes to sci-fi ladies that look like they're carved from a linoluem block, Nedelko's tattoos are something else. 

Old-school woodblock style prints have the look they have because the bold lines you see were created through the act of taking away. The artist, using various sharp tools, goes in and carves and tears away at the wood, leaving a negative of the image they want to create. It's an art form as old as time itself, and it spans continents and generations. 

Cartoony head explosion, by Eugene Nedelko. (via IG—dusty_past) #Woodcut #Woodblock #Illustrative #EugeneNedelko

Nedelko's work is reminiscent of this ageless technique, with thick, jagged lines and stark color choices. Printmaking, when the final art has multiple color schemes, is an act of layering and layering — think about the silk screen images you've seen floating around lately. To get that offset look, an artist has to design each color as its own layer, considering where the colors may or may not overlap. 


Nedelko's tattoos look like he took a miniature lino block to the skin, and the final product is fucking rad. Any one of his tattoos looks like it could also be a tender little card you pick up at that hipster art store on the corner, and we really fucking dig that. 

Like any advancement in technology, the spread of information is what gets a technique to grow. Mostly used as a means to print paper books for buddhist monks back in Eighth Century Chine, woodblock printing was quickly popularized, and even outlived past the invention of moveable type. There are so many early examples of woodblock prints being used throughout history, but we've all become very accustomed to seeing what's known as Ukiyo-e, the Japanese genre. Wander into any history and/or art museum, and you're bound to encounter Ukiyo-e. (For instance, even those among us that aren't art nerds know the famous Great Wave.)

Printmaking is also one of the most punk art techniques. The truth is, anyone can make a print! You don't need a copy machine, or a fancy printing press even, to make multiples of your art. And so, zine culture, the underground music scene, anything remotely DIY is gonna have this aesthetic. Bold line are easy to reproduce over and over, simple color schemes are cheap to produce. In other words, Nedelko's work is punk as fuck. It harbors back to the old school mini-zine days, before everyone had a computer in their pocket, when you might encounter someone's bad-ass mini-zine on why punk is (or isn't) dead in the bathroom at your local dive bar. Nostalgic, man.

Nedelko is worth a follow, so you can keep up with his new twist on an old genre. He tattoos out of Green Rabbit in Poland, so save your money for a flight if you're stateside. It'll be worth it.

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