Faces of the Future: Blackwork Tattoo Artists Breaking Boundaries

Faces of the Future: Blackwork Tattoo Artists Breaking Boundaries

Faces of the Future brings photography, technology and Blackwork tattoo artists together in conversation about creative evolution.

A multi-media venture that brings technology, photography, and imagination together, Faces of the Future is an intuitive creative project that gives us glimpses into the genesis of many progressive Blackwork tattoo ideas. Envisioned by many revered Blackwork tattoo artists, each image within the collection shows a body encompassed by this formidable tattooing aesthetic and laden with a layer of black ink. The brain child of project curator and organizer Hanumantra, tattoo artists around the globe were contacted and urged to explore an empty canvas, a body, as a utopian landscape supporting a wealth of interpretations without limitations. Using gorgeous photography by Kaja Gwincinska, the tattooists depicted dream bodysuits, sleeves, and back pieces; blackwork tattoo ideas that have yet to find a home. 

When asked what his mission was behind Faces of the Future, Hanumantra described the project as an initiative to keep a spirit of metamorphosis an ever constant concept within tattooing. “The project brings together some of the most important and influential blackwork tattooists of today. Some of whom have been leading the way in this field for as long as I have been alive and a couple have only just started out on their journey but already show great potential to keep the momentum moving forward. Each artist was tasked with the mission to provide a tattoo design for the model I provided. Without the constraints of a client’s objectives for the tattoo, or the logistics of how it will heal, each was challenged to deliver the most progressive version of their work. I wanted them to draw influence from their vision of the future of tattooing and in turn help shape the landscape both now and for tomorrow. This series of artwork takes you to the future of blackwork tattooing, by the most renowned and respected in the industry: the face of tomorrow.” 


Although the collectors of Blackwork tattoos may not be fully cognizant, a tattoo artist not only has to work with a clients personal needs, motivations, and aesthetic constraints, but they also needs to keep in mind how well a design will heal, whether the design will work on the skin, as well as a multitude of other issues that may harness imaginations power. But that's part of what made Faces of the Future such a fascinating concept to play with. “The idea initially spawned in my early years and pre today’s technology, I spent copious amounts of time traveling which exposed me to a lot of ‘dead time’. To fill the hours, I would constantly doodle designs using a Bic ballpoint pen in magazines, working up designs that I thought could work as tattoos. The more I did, the more interesting this concept of drawing on pictures became and I realized that without the restriction and expectation that comes with actual tattoos, I was free to develop my work at will; I was able to have fun where the consequence for error was nil. As a free hand tattooist, this approach allowed me to truly develop an aesthetic to my tattoos that I felt comfortable with.”


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What started as a fun experiment with the boundaries of tattooing and creative art, became a global collection of incredible tattoo ideas from Blackwork tattoo artists. “With this concept in mind I thought it would be fun to see what other creations could come from others in the industry, so I reached out to a few friends to see if they would be interested in a collaboration supporting freedom of expression and to share and inspire others in the industry. What has been truly great for me is this project has given me the chance to work with people I greatly respect and admire, people pushing their work and influencing tattooing in their own way and allowing me the opportunity to share this with the wider public.”

“Each artist was assigned a unique picture to work on and this was chosen to compliment their already established aesthetic within tattooing. I wanted a true representation of where they are currently but also where they are heading creatively. The list of tattooers involved includes some of the most prominent names such as Leo Zulueta, Curly, Jeroen Franken, Gakkin, Nissaco, Naza and many others, culminating in what I believe will give a comprehensive overview of not only where blackwork tattooing is currently but also where it is heading.”

The Blackwork tattoo artists project Faces of the Future will be on exhibition during the 2019 London Tattoo Convention. This year is this particular events 15th anniversary, and artists will be producing some of the best creations of their careers. We hope to see you there. 


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