It’s been said that fashion is cyclical, that each decade’s highs and lows will eventually come back into vogue, and we’re starting to think the same thing might be true for tattoos. Portland artist Winston the Whale (whose actual name is Dave but he has been very secretive about his last name, so we’ll to him as Winston moving forward) is a master of creating bright, bold, visually eye catching work, his most popular creations being the 3-D effect tattoos that have taken social media by storm. But recently, Winston has been working on some folk art inspired work that has us thinking the ‘70s may very well be coming back into swing — floral motifs, partridges, and all. Characterized by their vivid technicolor, Winston’s folk art will leave you longing for the heyday of Simon & Garfunkel.
Lacking any sort of distinct outline, Winston’s work is largely illustrative if not a bit reminiscent of pop art, although the majority of his folk art draws inspiration from ‘70s textiles. You know the kind — the soft fabrics from yesteryear that still linger in your grandmother’s house, carefully tucked away in a linen closet or folded neatly on a bed. Much like those fabrics, Winston’s works also mirrors themselves, never allowing room for a partridge or flower on the right hand side of the piece if there is not an equal and opposite partridge and flower on the left. Where his work differs are the unique geometric undertones that comprise each subject. Where ‘70s folk art tends to have more rounded qualities, Winston’s work often incorporates shapes that make up the larger subject. Thick lines, tessellating triangles, and quadrilaterals can be seen hiding amongst the beautiful rainbow figures.
While it remains to be determined if tattoos are indeed cyclical (we’re not exactly praying for Cherry Creek flash to make a comeback any time soon), we can only hope that throwbacks to decades past like Winston’s folk art inspired tattoos will continue to lead the way.