Many tattoo artists give their own personal touch to traditional American tattoos, but some of them add in more of their own aesthetic sensibility than others. This is the case with Hugh Sheldon's work. It's more than just a mere variance on the boldness of line work or the color palettes that makes his work so unique. Words like "acute" and "fierce" come to mind but still don't quite do it justice. It's hard to describe, but you'll know it when you see it.
Although predators such as eagles, wolves, and jungle cats are common motifs in traditional American tattoos, nobody's look quite like Sheldon's. The way he illustrates their claws, jowls, and eyes is signature to his style alone.
Sheldon also brings nuance to other popular images from this style of tattooing. Take the masked lady head and dagger above for instance. The way that other images, such as the skull on the bust's head or the heart-shaped washer, are squeezed into these classic designs make them standout in texture and complexity.
Though all of his tattoos are quite stunning, his skulls are arguably the most captivating. The hourglass-shaped bridge of each one's nose and x'ed out eye sockets are striking nuances that he's imprinted on the style. Also, his use of yellow, orange, and red injects the classic emblem of death with a punk rock vibe. Lastly, the way he intermingles them with his stylized critters makes each skull even more radical through such extreme juxtaposition.
We think Sheldon's spin on the traditional style is absolutely kickass, and if you do, too, then check out more of his art work on Instagram. He tattoos at Cloak and Dagger Tattoo in London, so if you're in town, hit him up for a killer creature or skull tattoo of your own.