NYC-based tattooist Matt "Skinny" Bagwell is one of the best practitioners of black and grey realism around. His work is as flawless as it is radiant, and what makes it even more radiant is that much of it is rooted in historical, mythological, and religious subject matter. The fact that his body art alludes to such rich source material makes it that much more spectacular to behold, its beauty only paralleled by its meaningful significance. Bask in the glory of this small sample of his work to experience his profoundly realistic tattoos for yourself.
Bagwell's approach to black and grey tattooing is remarkably soft, giving the figures he depicts an almost ethereal presence on his clients' bodies. His work shines through his use of incredibly restrained and controlled fine lines as well as the way he delicately shades in the contours of each of his figures' features. His skill in this style of body art comes across most clearly in his portraiture and the level of detail that he invests in intricate imagery, such as sacred hearts, roses, pocket watches, and etc. He excels so much at rendering all sorts of iconography in black and grey that he's even able to capture the likeness of famous pieces of art, like Michelangelo's David.
While all of Bagwell's work is astounding, his pieces that reference figures from antiquity are some of his most moving. For example, he's done numerous illustrations of gods and other diving icons from the Greek pantheon. Both the serpent-headed Gorgon, Medusa, and god of the wild, Pan, make appearances here. Also, he's done a few real-life characters from the Western canon, as seen in his depiction of Caesar with his most memorable saying — "I came, I saw, I conquered" — in Latin below his visage.
Should you be interested in observing more of Bagwell's pristine black and grey realism, then make your way to his Instagram. Also, he works out of Kings Avenue Tattoo in New York City if you'd like one of his religiously inspired masterpieces on your skin.