High contrast, stark black work is eye-catching. It's a fact of how visuals work — a glance and your eyes pause, linger, your brain processes. We've all seen those cluttered billboards or overdone magazine advertisements, the ones with too many elements and too-small text. Bold, clear, and clean, Louis Loveless' work looks like he snagged a sharpie and carved right into his clients' skin. His high contrast, thick, simple lines, and his penchant for incredibly clear representational elements mixing and matching together makes for some tight, tight tattoos.
Loveless' work has a graphic quality that throws back to underground comix and old school silk screen posters. His work looks familiar because it builds on years and years of indy work, from the likes of Love And Rockets sensation Jaime Hernandez to the 1960s political poster work of Atelier Populaire, the Popular Workshop. Loveless clearly uses his artistry for political means — his tattoos and posters have a lot to say about sex, capitalism, death, control. And yes, some of them are just fucking cool.
The choice to go rich black instead of hatch mark is a, literally, solid one. Loveless shows us the form of his subjects by making his line work as solid as his shading. Shadows become their own shapes, and our eyes see everything as if it's lit as brightly as possible. Loveless' work is a printer's dream — no gray scale, no small tiny hatches, no unnecessary elements.
Everything is sharply defined, from the individual teeth in a skull to the creases on a leather jacket. It would be easy for this style to lose its form, rather than keep it, and have everything flatten onto one plane. But instead, Loveless shows his artistic skills by giving just the right amount of information, and leaving out just the right amount as well. Our brains fill in the rest, and the result is a clear, iconic image.