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Genre-Blurring Sleeves by Rob Noseworthy

Genre-Blurring Sleeves by Rob Noseworthy

Tattoo Artists1 min Read

Large-scale tattoos so good that it's hard to know what to call them.

It's awesome when talented tattooists break the mold of conventions and actually do it well. One such person is Canadian artist Rob Noseworthy. Though his highly illustrative work draws heavily on traditional forms of tattoos, especially Japanese, it cannot be so easily pigeonholed into one particular genre. Check out this sample of some of his sleeves that demonstrate how he's taken styles such as Irezumi and injected them with his own unique artistic sensibilities.

Noseworthy's strongest suit is his Irezumi-inspired work. He creates pieces of all sorts of classic motifs like hannyas and tengus as well as imagery that is not native to the Japanese style. Though he does not always adhere closely to the core principles of Irezumi, all of his tattoos that borrow iconography from the age-old genre are amazing. The degree to which his body art departs from more conventional examples of contemporary Irezumi differs from piece to piece. For instance, his illustration of a warrior hunting a foo dog is decidedly on the more traditional side of things, while his depiction of the notorious oni, Ibaraki, on the Rashomon Gate has a far more modern and animated aesthetic to it. 

Aside from his impressive take on the traditional Japanese style, he also makes other brilliant illustrative tattoos that have his signature stylistic touch. For example, his large-scale landscapes are are both majestic and sublime. It's easy to get lost in their intense beauty and unnerving grandeur. It's quite delightful how he incorporates critters into them as well, like in the piece featuring a pack of wolves out on the tundra. He has a knack for rendering figures that don't come from Irezumi, too. His depiction of a viking and the one of a woman holding a ghost's hand illustrate this fact in stunning detail.

A warrior hunting down a foo dog by Rob Noseworthy (IG-robnoseworthy). #foodog #illustrative #Japanese #largescale #RobNoseworthy #sleeves #warrior

If you want to see more of Noseworthy's mind-blowing work, make your way over to his Instagram. He works at Black and Blue Tattoo in Nanaimo, British Columbia and can be reached at if you want some of his astounding body art. 

Ross Howerton
Written byRoss Howerton

BA in Literary Studies from The New School. MFA in Creative Writing from NMSU. Staff Writer for Tattoodo. I love art, books, movies, music, and video games. Hit me up on Twitter @Powertonium

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