By now, it should be pretty apparent that we’ve got a thing for lady head pieces. Regardless of style, there’s something about them that’s just wildly enigmatic and beautiful. Perhaps it’s because each artist gives them a unique personality, or maybe it’s because once all is said and done, they really do take on a life of their own, but there’s something about them that just gets under your skin (horrible dad joke intended).
Up until now, we’ve seldom thought about realistic lady head portraits, instead bringing you the best from illustrative, traditional, and even neo-traditional. A foolhardy mistake on our part, seeing as we’re constantly bringing you the real deal every Wednesday. So to atone for our actions, we thought we’d kick it off with the best of the best, none other than the master herself, Moni Marino.
Getting quite the interesting start, Marino says she first started tattooing when she was just 14 years old. In an interview with Inked Magazine, Marino says, “the very, very first time — before using the tattoo machine that my father gave me — I used a sewing needle, thread, and Pelikan ink. I wrapped the thread around the needle tip, and after wetting the ink I tattooed the letter 'M' on my wrist by doing the needle points close together.” She’s since come a long way.
Focusing primarily on incredibly realistic portraits, Marino’s work is best known for its stand out color. Taking care to create a unique and distinct personality for each one of her ladies, Marino’s main focus is their eyes which convey a sense of emotion that’s deeply expressive.
While it’s a characteristic that rings true in any artist that’s a master of realism, Marino’s extreme attention to detail and “costuming” is phenomenal. Taking cues from real life, but careful to inject her own voice and style into the portraits, the outfits Marino creates are what complete the ladies’ looks. This can best be seen in her rendition of The Little Mermaid, which makes a nod to the original Hans Christian Anderson version in the lower left corner of the portrait, but carefully sets itself apart by creating a new spin on her costuming. Marino’s impeccable attention to detail can be seen in the Little Mermaid’s towering crown of shells and the celestial backdrop of the night sky, twinkling with the most beautiful stars and alive with color.
Realism has proven time and time again that it’s one of the most impressive styles out there, but few artists are quite as impressive as Marino. Ladies from fairy tales, real life, fables, and everything in between, hers are some of the best.