Quang Sta's Exhilarating Irezumi-Inspired Tattoos

By Ross Howerton - 
Quang Sta's Exhilarating Irezumi-Inspired Tattoos

This genre-blurring artist makes incredibly powerful neo-Japanese tattoos.

Quang Sta is one of many tattooists from around the world doing interesting things with the iconography of Japanese tattoos. By taking the figures from Irezumi and rendering them in various styles, Sta is breathing new life into a centuries old tradition. His spin on classic iconography such as dragons and koi fish is both impactful and refreshing. His tattoos of this type of timeless imagery are more realistic and animated than their traditional counterparts, which makes taking them in feel thrillingly nuanced. Have a look at some of his large-scale pieces and see for yourself.

Sta's style is unique and a bit difficult to label as he combines both neo-traditional and realistic elements to create an outstanding aesthetic. Though should by no means be considered Irezumi, his tattoos are reminiscent of the Japanese style, featuring similar atmospheric effects like the conventional dark-hued waves and smoke, but they do not adhere to the tradition completely. The way he designs his figures also remains faithful to older examples of the art form, except for the pronounced fact that he pushes the envelope in terms of detail. All of the imagery that he creates is highly intricate. Just look at how he illustrates armor on his samurais or the scales on his legendary beasts. It's mind-blowing. Also, the way he highlights some of his pieces with just a hint of color makes them stand out even more.

Quang Sta has translated nearly every outstanding motif handed down by Irezumi throughout the last few centuries. Here there are examples of his takes on figures like deities, hannyas, geishas, phoenixes, and samurais, just to name a few. Though all of his depictions of these mythological creatures and characters are excellent, some of his most gripping pieces are the ones in which he illustrates multiple icons interacting in exciting and action-packed ways. He's done several large-scale works that feature the Monkey King grappling with a massive dragon. He's even made a few pieces that are far off on the experimental side of things, like the mashup of a dragon and a mask seen above.

If you want to be blown away by more of Quang Sta's neo-Japanese body art, hit up his Instagram. He works at Cabramatta Ink in Sydney, Australia, but he's booked all the way until next year, so if you want a bodysuit by him, plan far in advance.

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