There are few things more beautiful or enviable than a large scale American traditional piece. The most challenging thing about large pieces from an artist’s perspective, however, is ensuring that the entire thing comes together to create one coherent scene. It’s a difficult thing to plan in any art form, regardless of medium. So when we say that Andrew McLeod, aka Peppermint Jones, of Chapel Tattoo in Victoria, Australia is creating some of the most beautiful large scale traditional work we’ve ever seen, we mean it.
Employing the use of dark, bold lines to create the base of each visual story, Jones dots his i’s and crosses his t’s with vibrant color. Robust reds, glorious greens, and unyielding yellows make up the majority of his work. Never one to be pigeonholed, Jones can just as easily do the same magic with his black and grey work. Creating massive portraits of majestic eagles, ferocious tigers, and even the occasional geisha, Jones manages to tell an entire story through one scene — a beautiful battleship sets sail for war, a tiger prowls the forest for his next prey, and the geisha readies herself for her next client. But perhaps what’s most impressive in Jones’ work is his ability to convey movement.
Through the use of curved lines, and strategically posed subjects, he is able to not only communicate the idea of continuous movement from things like animals, humans, and the like, but to ensure that the viewer’s eye travels around the entire portrait. This can be seen in all of his work, but is most notable in his portrait of a mermaid entangled in a giant octopus. Both the mermaids colorful tale as well as the curvature of the octopus’ tentacles working together to ensure the entire piece is taken into account, sending your eye in different directions, following the length of each fin and tentacle.