As promised in my last post about tattoos that ooze fear, I'm back with another one about an artist who can conjure up the imagery of nightmares with his tattoo machine. This master of horror iconography is none other than Victor Portugal, who lives and has a studio in Krakow, Poland.
Portugal has a knack for illustrating sensual depictions of women, except that he subverts the sterotype of these hypersexualized tattoos by undermining it with some of the most gruesome features imaginable, like stitched mouths and gaping maws. This is a mixed motif that blurs the line that we typically draw between the beautiful and grotesque.
I love depictions of felines done in this style, and though I've commented on tattoos of bloodthirsty lions and witches' cats in the past, sphynxes creep me out even more. In the sleeve above, Portugal has done a killer job of importing the real-life terror of these hairless little monsters.
As with the work of most artists who excel at this disturbingly realistic style, Portugal is an expert at using just the right amount of color to accentuate the black and grey of his wicked imagery, creating the effect of a cindery glow from the inferno. Anyone else a fan of Dante?
As seen in many of these photos, one of Portugal's strongest suits is skull tattoos, but what makes his take on the classic brain-chassis so outstanding is that his refuse to simply be long-dead human heads. Instead, they become fused with other uncanny imagery, creating a surreal effect within his realist style. The clawing hands in the photo below are a great example of how he is able to seamlessly bring together such startling visuals and create an unsettling experience in every tattoo.
I hope this art by Portugal thoroughly creeped you out. Who doesn't like the heebee jeebees, right? If you want to elongate your adrenaline rush a while longer with more eerie tattoos by him, you can find them on his website. He also is know to haunt Instagram @victorportugal. Please make sure to tune into my next midnight episode of horror realism. It'll be macabre, I promise.