Swiss tattoo artist Slumdog Tattooer wants to make you feel your feelings. Slumdog, known in correspondence only as Nicolas X, creates dark, heavy tattoos, primarily silhouetted and rife with meaning. His drawings inform his tattoos completely, in that his style and content spans both paper and skin, and his eye for noire shows through in both.
"My biggest inspiration is those moments in my life when I'm down," says Slumdog. "Sad, heartbroken, depressed. Those are my most creative moments. Sounds pretty dramatic, but believe me it's not that bad. I just see the world not in pink and purple, but more black and grey."
Slumdog is able to convey the darkness he feels with ease and precision. Working only with an HB 0.7 mm pencil (as in, a very, very thin piece of refillable graphite) on transparent paper, Slumdog manages to elegantly capture dark, eyeless women in all sorts of sultry poses.
His women are universal while also being incredibly specific. We can see Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, even Kate Hepburn glaring out at us.
"I love the elegant women from the 1920s and 1950s," Slumgdog says. "Film noir, drama, beauty, femininity." His influences are clear in each of his works, but he crafts his own take on each woman's face. We could easily be watching an animated version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Slumdog's take on the surreal, the macabre, and the noire stylings of old black and white movies is deeply rooted in a love for fine art. He grew up with Salvador Dali's paintings, and has been heavily influenced by masters such as Picasso, Matisse, and Renoir. His talent for capturing anatomy and facial structure while keeping an illustrative look reveals his close study of these many fine art giants.
Inspired by fellow tattooists Jurgen Eckel, Neil Dransfield, and Emily Murray Rose, Slumdog is "just another kid that tries to make good tattoos and give some beauty to the world." Follow him on Instagram to see more of his work, and track his various travels.