Large-Scale Neo-Japanese by Tristen Zhang

Large-Scale Neo-Japanese by Tristen Zhang

An amazing contemporary take on the iconography of Irezumi.

Tattooist Tristan Zhang is blowing peoples' minds with the innovative way that he is expounding upon traditional Irezumi. He takes the classic icons from traditional Japanese tattooing and turns them into more realistic figures through his very vibrant and intensely detailed style. Looking at his illustrations of timeless motifs is like seeing mythical creatures and gods brought to life.

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Whether full color or black and grey, all of Zhang's work is spectacular. The amount of detail he packs into each of his pieces is jaw-dropping. Look at the intricacies on the Monkey King's staff and armor above or the delicate and complex linework on his depiction of Fudo Myoo for instance. Nothing demonstrates the artistic rigor that he puts into his work more than his large-scale pieces. His back-piece of Raijin is the perfect example of how stunning his neo-Japanese style looks when he's given ample space with which to work.

Zhang has imported numerous icons from the Japanese traditional into his nuanced style. Other than some of the aforementioned figures, there are also other fascinating cultural icons here, such as the boar from Journey to the West and Avalokitesvara, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. He's translated pretty much every outstanding motif from Irezumi into his own aesthetic. Like the geisha in the bodysuit below, he seems to have a special spot in his heart for foo dogs. He's created tons of designs of these guardian creatures, and the way he illustrates them makes them seem as if they really could have once existed.

If you want to see more of Zhang's awesome contemporary Japanese body art, pay a visit to his Instagram. Should you want some large scale work by him, he operates out of Chronic Ink Tattoos in Toronto, Canada and can be contacted at

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