By combining the aesthetic of street art and old-school tattoo designs, Brenden Jones has invented a new style that looks like something Sailor Jerry might have made if he was into tagging. His designs are rooted in the traditional style — bold lines, heavily saturation, etc. — but their angular features and unconventional color palettes make them an entirely different beast, setting his spin on classic motifs apart from the pack.
Jones’ tattoos are a perfect example how a little experimentation can lead to innovation. “I was wanting to change my tattoo style and go for more traditionalist looking work. I decided on drawing some classic trad heads, i.e cat heads,” Jones recalls. “I was struggling to make them look how I wanted. So I started building them up with straight, angled lines, which transformed the design and gave it more of a graffiti feel.” Jones’ compositions take after ‘80s and ‘90s graffiti by artists such as Mode 2, Astek, and TDK, but because they’re modeled directly on traditional motifs, they are also evocative of work like Don Ed Hardy’s panthers and Bert Grimm’s tiger heads.
Though Jones has only been making these highly stylized tattoos for around a year, he’s had plenty of opportunity to refine the aesthetic. “The first one I tattooed was a leopard head. I also designed a panther head at the same time,” Jones recalls. “Both designs got booked within a couple of days. Which got me thinking people might actually like this style.” Jones’ intuition was spot on. Since coming up with the first pair, he’s created numerous animal heads — jungle cats, hyenas, baboons, etc. — and renditions of other motifs like hannya masks. With each new piece, his work shows signs of becoming more focused and adventurous at the same time.
They’re already pretty edgy, but Jones plans on pushing the aesthetic even further; he’s the sort of artist who’s always looking for ways to bring more nuance to his work. “I'm still building on this style, and there's a possibility it will go more abstract, thicker lines and more color blends,” says Jones. “I have started to get more modern classic requests, such as stags heads, foxes, and bears.” As long as these pieces remain in such high demand, who knows where the Jones will take the style next, but we assume it will continue to grow more daring.
All in all, Jones’ invention illustrates how there’s always room for innovation in tattooing. It’s just a matter of continually pushing one’s self, learning the rules so you can break them and reshape them into something that's truly original and groundbreaking. “I always like to see artists bringing new ideas to the table,” Jones explains. “Like a modern twist on a classic. This style is my contribution to our trade."
To see more of Jones’ graffiti-inspired spins on traditional tattoo motifs, follow him in Instagram. Should you want one of his stylish pieces, he works at Tattoo HQ in Chesterfield, England and can be reached at email@example.com.