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The Art of Suiboku-ga: Ichi Hatano's Dragons

The Art of Suiboku-ga: Ichi Hatano's Dragons

Tattoo Artists2 min Read

Highly respected tattoo artist Ichi Hatano is publishing his new book of sumi ink painted Irezumi dragons.

In hopes of publishing a new book, Ichi Hatano has created a Kickstarter providing pre-sales of the edition, as well as gorgeous prints, postcards, paintings, and more, to fans who support the cause. The book itself, "Ichi Hatano's Dragons" is a 100 page collection of sumi ink paintings of the most quintessential mythical creature in Japanese iconography.

Ichi Hatano's Dragons

The success of Ichi Hatano's Kickstarter, at such an early date already, is a tribute not only to his skills as an artist and tattooer, but to his incredible connection to the tattoo community at large. Both world renowned artists, and adoring collectors alike, have shown their support. Ichi related, "I am very fortunate to have received introductions to this work by Luke Atkinson (Germany), Massimiliano ‘Crez’ Freguja (Italy), Rhys Gordon (Australia), Luca Ortis (UK) and Oliver Peck (USA). It has been very well received."

And the attention is well worth the earning. During the pandemic, Ichi Hatano was forced to close his Tokyo-based studio and only recently was able to reopen. The quarantine time allowed him to work on the Dragons project, "I invested all of my time and energy into producing this book." The effort shows; the care, contemplation, and devotion are a staple of Hatano, both the artwork and the man behind the artistry.

Those who support the Kickstarter have a great many options to choose from when donating. Signed books, tote bags, and even hand painted calligraphy paintings are available, as is the option to donate simply to show solidarity with the impetus behind Ichi Hatano's new venture.

As for the images within the book, Suiboku-ga is the Japanese technique of painting with black ink. Each tone that is seen on the finished piece is a perfectly blended balance of ink and water, swaths of which are applied, traditionally, on washi paper or silk. The final creation, whether fierce beast or vast country landscape, inhabit a world of Japanese aestheticism based on harmonies of dark and light, emptiness and detail.

As Jun'ichirō Tanizaki said within his essay In Praise of Shadows, "We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates." In this case, what is created and captured is the absolute majesty of the creature itself.

Ichi Hatano in his studio doing callipgraphy for the cover of his book

The meditative act of painting with sumi ink on washi perfectly prompts the artist to be mindful and deliberate but spontaneous. This energy and vivacity has been brought to Ichi Hatano's pieces...the fire leaps and licks along the body, the scales move gracefully, and beholding the dragons face, one is caught by the animism portrayed, the inherent personality bestowed to beast from the artists hand. Each work is uniquely Ichi Hatano's, and is something to be prized, as well as praised.

To collect this impressive collection of tattoo artwork in book form, please visit Ichi Hatano's Dragons Kickstarter.

Dragon tattoo by Ichi Hatano #IchiHatano #Japanese #Irezumi #dragons


Justine Morrow
Written byJustine Morrow

Social Producer, Journalist, Editor, and Curator for Tattoodo I am here to support you 🌻 IG: @lathe.of.heaven

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