Artist Van Priegonova is almost as mysterious as the works she creates. Tattooing somewhere out of Mexico City, Priegonova’s creations are illustrative blackwork at its finest. Covering everything from flowers to surreal horror to cult classic films like Beetlejuice, she creates enviable black work that would absolutely constitute a trip to Mexico City. Although she prefers to let the tattoos speak for themselves, looking at her portfolio does in fact tell us a lot about the artist behind the pieces — namely that she’s a got a mighty obsession with the underworld and the demons that inhabit it — but look a little bit closer, and bits and pieces of Priegonova’s charm will reveal themselves to you slowly but surely.
Technically speaking she’s got the subtle nuances of the style down pat. Linework, dotwork, shading, and an impressive use of negative space — Priegonova’s work is not only beautifully built, it’s impeccably clean. While use of stencils can be found throughout her work, a large sum of it is also freehanded, like her rendition of an all seeing eye, but Priegonova’s real strength is her ability to create balance in her work.
It’s true that all of her tattoos teeters on horror imagery, as blackwork often does, but in between the lines of the grim reaper leading you down the River Styx, or the surreal portrait of a man’s head spiraling into oblivion, is a certain beauty. A bit understated, a bit melancholy, but wholly beautiful. So while we may not know too much about Priegonova herself, if you take a closer look and read between the line work a bit, you’ll find that there’s much more to her than meets the eye.