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Glimpses into the Dark Imagination of Shaun Bailey

Glimpses into the Dark Imagination of Shaun Bailey

Tattoo Artists1 min Read

Pulse-quickening traditional tattoos after Satan's own black heart. Don't be mistaken, bright color tattoos can still frighten you.

The devil is in more than just the details when it comes to Shaun Bailey's work; his body art draws its inspiration straight from the lake of fire. His tattoos feature imagery such as demons, monsters, and wrathful deities. But don't be mistaken into thinking that all of Bailey's work is over the top, there are also subtle hints at the diabolical aspects of human nature. He captures our propensity for acting on our "sinful" thoughts and desires and the dire consequences. His body of work is boiling over with lust, malice, and even murder, and honestly, it couldn't be any more enticing. 

A witch being boiled alive via Shaun Bailey (IG—bailey_tattooer). #dark #ShaunBailey #traditional #witch

Bailey's body of work illustrates how the traditional style can be used to create the most devilish of body art. The bold lines and darkly hued colors he uses are perfect for capturing the fiery aesthetic of hell. The pronouncedness of his lines makes each one of his figures look formidable and foreboding, and their muted coloration, along with their darkly shaded features, gives them a shadowy glow as if lit faintly by hellfire. His approach to the style, in short, allows him to channel the horror of figures like Cthulhu rising from the depths. 

A blood-drinking depiction of Kali by Shaun Bailey (IG—bailey_tattooer). #dark #Kali #ShaunBailey #traditional

Most of the imagery that Bailey creates has to deal with themes of transgression and punishment. He takes classic motifs like pinups and lady heads and infuses them in a infernal subtext. In his hands, a sexy woman becomes a witch stewing in bubbling cauldrons, virgin bound to a crucifix, or victim of a crime of passion. Even when he works in Buddhist iconography, he gravitates to the more wrathful icons, as seen in his depiction of Kali — the destroyer of the wicked. His busts of beautiful girls are equally abominable. He often designs traditional portraits of figures like Bride of Frankenstein or ladies with naughty ideas literally on their minds, like the girl with a demonic threesome atop her head. 

More of Bailey's work can be found on his Instragram. Should you want to trade your soul for a tattoo, he works at Sacred Electric Tattoo in Leeds, England and can be reached at

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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