Little illustrates mankind's collective fascination with death more than the fact that skulls are such a prominent motif in the world of body art. Skinless human heads may be the most common sort of tattoo imagery out there, coming in virtually every style from traditional to Irezumi. Perhaps the style most suited for depicting the emotional gravity a macabre skull requires is black and grey realism. This point is demonstrated to a T by David Rinklin, an artist that produces some of the most terrifying skulls on Earth. Their depictions of these skeletal figures bring out the darker, more grotesque themes embodied by such deathly iconography.
What makes Rinklin's imagery so horrifying is their approach to black and grey realism. Each of their tattoos, whether of skulls or other nightmarish figures, is shrouded in darkness. Often bordered with pitch black backgrounds and fills their cavities with shadows to give them a ghastly aesthetic. The skulls are also riddled with intricate features, like cracks, chips, missing teeth, and other marks of erosion, so that you can see the effects decay in visceral detail. The fashion in which they contrasts negative space with denser shading gives each skull a ghostly, pale glow that adds to overall unsettling atmosphere of each piece.
Sometimes, Rinklin nestles them among flowers, offsetting connotations of death with that of new life. Other times, Rinklni dresses the skulls up in various costumes, turning them into Grim Reapers, fallen kings, and even gangsters. Occasionally, the way they illustrates skulls defies description, as is the case with the one below, which is one of their portfolio's most horrifying pieces of large scale body art. It's so unsettling that pretty much every word that suits it needs a hypen: hair-raising, blood-curdling, bone-chilling, etc.
If you'd like to gaze at death a bit longer, lose yourself a while on their Instagram. They tattoos around Germany and can be reached via their Facebook if you'd like get a skull of your own.