Bow down before the Mad Titan! Behold this portrait of Thanos, the feared Marvel villain and holder of the Infinity Gauntlet, endowed with superhuman strength and telekinetic power. Rendered in bold purple, blue and gold, Thanos — who is primed to do battle with the entire Marvel Universe in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War — is grimacing with hate, and his eye shimmers red. The style is true to the roots of its subject, revealing the artist’s deep affinity for comic book culture and illustrative technique.
Adam Guy Hays is no stranger to the fantastic. The Texan, who works out of Midtown Manhattan’s Red Rocket Tattoo shop, is a known pop culture-enthusiast with a deep portfolio of mythical creatures and superheroes. He’s done Swamp Thing. He’s done Ninja Turtles. He’s done many, many Star Wars characters, some of whom wear strange headdresses, like a papal mitre or a Roman soldier’s galea. This portrait of Thanos is one part of the client’s leg sleeve of pop culture villains to which Hays has already contributed a Stormtrooper.
Though Hays excels at neo-traditional in particular, his style is expansive and diverse. His tattoos are often built on freehand marker outlines instead of stencils, which gives the images a natural sense of movement on the skin. The method mirrors the way a comic book artist might loosely sketch his figure before adding solid lines and color. In marrying method with subject matter, Hays demonstrates both his versatility as a tattooer and his reverence for the craft of comic book artists.
See how it came together in this video, the first in our Tattoodo Sessions series.