It’s been a few years now since adult coloring books took center stage as the must-have stocking stuffer for anyone above the age of 20, and really, what’s not to love? Pages upon pages of kooky cartoonish illustrations that house hours of untapped creativity. There are countless adult coloring books, each with totally unique situations ranging from hilarious one night stand fiascos to counting the ways in which unicorns are jerks. All are wonderful ways to pass the time, but what are you supposed to do with them after you’ve filled in all the pages? Hanging them on your fridge seems like quite the self indulgent, juvenile option. Nothings says adult like, “Hello honored guests, welcome to my humble abode. Please note my carefully thrifted furniture, fancy soy candles, and this pretty picture I colored myself that I’ve carefully tacked onto my fridge with alphabet magnets.” We get it. We occasionally find ourselves senselessly hoarding things, too, but instead of tacking said beautiful artwork on your fridge, might we suggest getting it tattooed?
We've written about him before, but Gennaro Varriale of Area Industriale Tattoo in Rome, Italy is creating the tattoo version of adult coloring books, and it’s just absolutely wonderful. Using fine lined, illustrative techniques, Varriale’s work almost cartoonish in nature, often making references to comic books or nostalgic tv series like Pokemon. What sets his work apart are the beautiful gradients that flow through each piece. Favoring a single gradient as opposed to an entire spectrum, Varriale’s work often starts with the most vibrant and saturated version of the color in a smaller portion of work, and slowly but surely fades out. The end result is almost reminiscent of pop art, particularly his cartoon characters that frequently make nods to famed pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.
While Varriale’s subject matter varies drastically, the one thing that connects everything is the impeccable level of artistry and playfulness. There’s nothing better than finding an artist that’s both talented as well as lighthearted. Varriale’s tattoos are all of the above and then some, so if you’re looking for an unconventional and whimsical piece of art look no further. It’s a much better choice than hanging up your coloring book pages for all to see.