Bangers Done in Black by Artem Tkachenko

Bangers Done in Black by Artem Tkachenko

This artist demonstrates the versatility of illustrative blackwork by making tattoos that refuse to be defined by genre.

Artem Tkachenko professes a number of styles, but it is when he works in blackwork that his talent really shines. He creates illustrations in this genre of body art so that they convey a strong sense of character. He employs pronounced linework and just the right amount of hatching and stippling to render a wide variety of images. Much of his portfolio draws on other traditions in the world of tattoos, but through importing them into this dark style, he gives all of his subject matter his own stylistic flare. 

Tkachenko's blackwork is notable for its bold, controlled linework. Notice how many of his figures' outlines are not straight-lined, but delicately hatched or a bit curvy around the edges, this gives them a more textured appearance. The silhouettes of the tiger and blackbird above illustrate this technique perfectly. Also, his use of carefully distributed stippling is equally notable. His tattoos demonstrate how just the right amount of density in dot work can create a striking sense of depth and contrast in illustrative pieces done in this monochromatic style. 

The most impressive part of Tkachenko's blackwork tattoos is how he inspirits each one of them with emotional energy. He renders iconography from numerous artistic traditions but makes sure to illustrate them in a manner that makes them stand out. He gives landscapes a sense of nuance by giving them unexpected features, as seen in the one with a polyhedron-shaped sun. Or check out his Noh mask and Medusa. Though these take after different genres of body art — Japanese and traditional — he reshapes each of these feminine motifs through translating them into his approach to working with only black ink. 

Should you like to see more of Tkachenko's diverse illustrative blackwork, find your way to his Instagram. If you're interested in getting one of his graceful tattoo for yourself, he works at Merkaba Tattoo Studio in Kharkov, Ukraine. 

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