Hide Ichibay is an astounding tattooist and painter who specializes in Japanese imagery. Since we recently featured a story about how he and the popular sneaker store, atmos, partnered with Puma to produce an Irezumi-themed line of footwear, we thought it would be nice to also showcase some of his original visual art as well. Check out this awesome museum exhibit's worth of his paintings that take after traditional Japanese tattoos. They absolutely rock (quite literarily in a few of them).
Ichibay creates beautiful paintings of gods and legendary figures from Japanese folklore. It's wonderful how he captures the ancient aesthetic of woodblock printing by making his illustrations on more elongated and scroll-like canvases. Some of the best of them feature dramatic battle scenes in which warriors fend off fearsome dragons or even crush each other to death under the weight of massive objects. The energy in these pieces makes them as thrilling as they are handsome.
Of all his Irezumi inspired artwork, Ichibay's dragons have the most epic vibe to them, especially when they adorn surfaces of unexpected objects like electric guitars. Given the kick-ass instrument directly above and the painting of a geisha shredding, we have a feeling that he has an appreciation for rock and roll as well as traditional Japanese art. These pieces are remarkable in that they draw a connection between modern music and ancient visuals, bridging two very different and distant genres of art in a wonderfully postmodern fashion.
If you want to see some of Ichibay's tattoos as well as more of his excellent paintings of traditional Japanese iconography, make like a dragon and wind your way over to his Instagram. Also, he works in Japan at Three Tides Tattoo should you want some body art from him.