Magic is often thought of as a one-sided art, one of darkness and a keen sense of evil hell bent on causing more harm than good, but what most people forget is that there is a delicate balance to everything in the universe — always a lightness to the dark. Artist Leslie Karin of Dovetail Tattoo in Austin is creating absolutely enchanting, illustrative work that draws its power source from a beautifully balanced combination of dot work and negative space. Focusing on flora, fauna, and an intangible sense of mysticism, her work makes us believe there’s a little bit of magic still lurking about in this world.
Tattooing predominantly in black ink with a bit of muted color mixed in, Karin’s work carries a certain lightness to it that other magically influenced work does not. In place of dark, sinister, and macabre beings of supernatural origins, Karin’s creatures are whimsical and gentle in nature. Innocent mushrooms, rabbits, calendula, and spiders slither, sprout, and crawl their way across her work, occasionally depicted in a hazy shroud of darkness, but never with malicious intent. In this way, she is a white witch of sorts, always bringing in the light, but never summoning the dark.
The same gentle magic flows throughout her illustrations, which often deal with death and decay — never in a gruesome manner — but always as nature intended it. Reading more as a hybrid of a tarot deck and an Audubon field guide, her artwork tends to be a bit more informative, touching on subjects like fate, biology, and palmistry — the comfort and safety of home a recurring theme of her work.
Magic is often thought of as a sinister force, one with intent on cursing, bewitching, and ensnaring the soul, but there’s a lighter side to magic, too. One that Karin infuses into each of her beautifully illustrative pieces, one of protection, guidance, and clarity.