slayer9019

Blackwork and Dotwork tattoos

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Maybe the thread title could use a better name but I'll leave it at that for the moment. While I know there is a good tribal tattoo thread, I wanted to open one for more general blackwork and dotwork.

Here's what I'm talking about:

Thomas Hooper

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Jondix

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Michael E. Bennett

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Daniel Abrigio

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The one thing I really like about this style is, is it seems to go perfectly on "weird" spots. Way better than the other styles.

Weird spots being hands, feet (especially), and other odd placements.

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Some of Hooper's influences:

Curly

Mike The Athens

Alex Binnie

Xed LeHead

Tomas Tomas

- - - Updated - - -

I love a lot of this stuff obviously, but the tattoos that grab me most are the ones that are still figurative, like Hooper's. I'd love to see some of that more abstract/geometric Xed/Tomas Tomas stuff in real life because while I can appreciate photos of it, it's a little too abstract for me to love and want, but I bet seeing it in person and the way it sits on and moves with the body would be really amazing.

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I wish this style didn't have a name. As soon as a style is given a name, it seems to give others the impression they can do it too.

The reason I don't do this stuff is because I like Hooper, Jondix and Albrigo as people and friends.

They each seem to take direct influence from each other while still retaining some individuality and nuances of design and layout that make it possible to identify which one of them did it. The same goes for Binnie, Xed, Tomas Tomas, Mike from Athens and Curly. I love the work of each of those guys.

I can't say the same for anyone else doing these styles. It seems to be a "Me too" attitude. They let the first few guys take all the risks and learn what works and find select clients who want to trust in something new. Then they make technically clean but hollow facsimile of something that was interesting.

Maybe thats a bit strong coming from someone who doesn't have a style of his own, but I try to work in existing, classic tattoo styles and sometimes have a little fun with them. The reason I don't do this pattern/skull/mandala/pointilist stuff is the same reason I don't do Biomech, Pacheco painterly colour or straight-up cholo tattoos: They are styles that were developed by people with a specific set of interests and inspirations that managed to filter them into a style of design and execution. Also those pioneers are still alive and working.

Maybe I've opened a nasty can of worms... How soon is 'too soon' so imitate an iconic style? Do we have to wait for the pioneers to die before crotchety fucks stop complaining? To be honest, I'm not interested in the answer. I just notice that every week the internet spits out a new guy who sticks a skull over or under a doily and it's held in the same regard as work by Mike, Jondix and Hooper.

The same as we distinguish between Aaron Cain or Guy Aitchison Biomech, we shouldn't try to coin new phrases and just refer to Thomas Hooper, Jondix or Tomas Tomas Blackwork, dotwork or whatever.

Use the name of the guys that made it what it is. We at least owe them that if we're gonna encourage other people to try it and get it tattooed from the rest of the pack.

note: I'm certainly not anti-new styles and I'd like to say that I'm eagerly awaiting the second generation of artists influenced by these guys who take it somewhere new, now that there's a body of work by a group of artists. That could be exciting!

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I wish this style didn't have a name. As soon as a style is given a name, it seems to give others the impression they can do it too.

The reason I don't do this stuff is because I like Hooper, Jondix and Albrigo as people and friends.

They each seem to take direct influence from each other while still retaining some individuality and nuances of design and layout that make it possible to identify which one of them did it. The same goes for Binnie, Xed, Tomas Tomas, Mike from Athens and Curly. I love the work of each of those guys.

I can't say the same for anyone else doing these styles. It seems to be a "Me too" attitude. They let the first few guys take all the risks and learn what works and find select clients who want to trust in something new. Then they make technically clean but hollow facsimile of something that was interesting.

Maybe thats a bit strong coming from someone who doesn't have a style of his own, but I try to work in existing, classic tattoo styles and sometimes have a little fun with them. The reason I don't do this pattern/skull/mandala/pointilist stuff is the same reason I don't do Biomech, Pacheco painterly colour or straight-up cholo tattoos: They are styles that were developed by people with a specific set of interests and inspirations that managed to filter them into a style of design and execution. Also those pioneers are still alive and working.

Maybe I've opened a nasty can of worms... How soon is 'too soon' so imitate an iconic style? Do we have to wait for the pioneers to die before crotchety fucks stop complaining? To be honest, I'm not interested in the answer. I just notice that every week the internet spits out a new guy who sticks a skull over or under a doily and it's held in the same regard as work by Mike, Jondix and Hooper.

The same as we distinguish between Aaron Cain or Guy Aitchison Biomech, we shouldn't try to coin new phrases and just refer to Thomas Hooper, Jondix or Tomas Tomas Blackwork, dotwork or whatever.

Use the name of the guys that made it what it is. We at least owe them that if we're gonna encourage other people to try it and get it tattooed from the rest of the pack.

note: I'm certainly not anti-new styles and I'd like to say that I'm eagerly awaiting the second generation of artists influenced by these guys who take it somewhere new, now that there's a body of work by a group of artists. That could be exciting!

I can understand this from a collector's standpoint, which is also why I was a bit hesitant to create this thread (been waiting to do it for the last 7 months). That is also why I wasn't sure for the title of the thread as the people I hold as the best ones doing it are a very limited few. Hooper, Xed, Binnie, Jodix, Albrigo, etc definitely have their spin on it (maybe since it is a "new" style?). This is also the reason I would only get something of this style from one of those artists (luckily got in with ThomasH). They each got their thing going on, but do share some basic components that does sort of make up some kind of genre.

I also have noticed in the last year or so that this "style" has picked up considerable popularity. As per facebook/instagram/etc you can see that it is becoming very popular with artists outside of the few that have been doing it for much longer. I definitely get your apprehension with seeing the other artists picking up and "copying" as there are a ton that aren't even doing the style any good (between 100% copy or just hacking it up).

Even with the new guys doing it, I still feel that none have mastered it as the originators have and it shows. I agree very much with the thought that they are simply hollow facsimiles of much superior work.

As far as the title of this thread and/or the "defining of this genre" as I did not like the way I phrased it, and how others have phrased it similarly, I just didn't have another way to say it. (Maybe just call it Hooper/Jondix/Albigo/Xed/Binnie/Jondix/Thomas Thomas thread?

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I'm sure some of the "new guys" doing/trying/incorporating this style would give props to the aforementioned. Hopefully, anyway. I have seen others who are good. Considering it is difficult to get in w/Hooper, Jondix etc, esp if you are geographically challenged, it is nice to see others picking up on an aesthetic I really like. It may be a trend but if it is, it's a good one in my view.

What about Michael E. Bennett (childthepeacemaker on Instagram)? He is at 2spirit in San Francisco and just guested at NY Adorned. His stuff looks pretty good to my non-tattoo-artist eye and close enough (driving distance) that I could imagine traveling to his location. I'll attach a pic...

Online Portfolio:

http://2spirittattoo.com/artists/michael-bennett/

EDITED TO ADD: I just noticed Michael Bennett was in @Slayer's original post...whoops, missed it. The photo I used was one of the ones he used.

A photo:

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Maybe I've opened a nasty can of worms... How soon is 'too soon' so imitate an iconic style? Do we have to wait for the pioneers to die before crotchety fucks stop complaining? To be honest, I'm not interested in the answer. I just notice that every week the internet spits out a new guy who sticks a skull over or under a doily and it's held in the same regard as work by Mike, Jondix and Hooper.

I agree with a lot of what you say, but isn't this the nature of the internet? I think it was posted somewhere on here...maybe it was on the thread about negative space between tattoos...about how the Smith Street guys put "forcefields" around their tattoos and put pictures of them up on the internet so see how quickly it caught on and it happened within a day or two. I've recently seen a whole lot of pictures on the internet of Amanda Wachob knock-off tattoos. Why the fuck anybody would want one of those to begin with is beyond me, but that's why I post on a black outline forum. More to the point, isn't this the nature of anything creative? There are the originators of something, and there's the copycats. Some people are just going to copy or do their versions of these tattoos, some people are going to figure out what these guys are doing, look at where they're coming from and what they're influenced by and are using as reference and try to do something fresh with it. Same as anything else.

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@Graeme so you're saying that because it happens with everything on the internet, it's ok?

I have no problem with people trying to do 'fresh' things. In my opinion, this style is still fresh, therefore how can anyone else do something new with it? Maybe it's different because I've been fortunate enough to see the seeds of this style develop from other things in a natural and gradual way that I feel uncomfortable when someone else hops on the wagon when the bumps have been ironed out.

Yes it does happen, I know I can't stop it and I'm not trying to. The reason I take the time to post here is because Last Sparrow is different. It's better than that. This place is the real deal and I care about it. It may be just another forum to chat about whatever is on your mind to pass the time, for most here, but for the collectors and tattooers who post here there hasn't been anything this positive about good tattoos and tattooing on the internet, ever.

There's been a machine forum that was good for a while and some kinda-sorta fringe industry sites and forums that were good for a while but there's never been somewhere online for just tattoos where quality matters and people who are respected in the real world are respected in the forums. Too often a post/blog count matters more than the quality of submissions and real-world experience. It's different here. Last Sparrow is having a real-world effect and I think it's up to us all to realise the responsibility we have and to try a little harder to be thoughtful and intelligent in our actions online and offline.

While I wouldn't wear tattoos in the style Amanda Wachob does, I can see how they would appeal to some. I'm not even sure it appeals to 'tattoo people'. It's not really a new tattoo style either. It's based on a style of painting (wich was once new - over 70 years ago) Ed Hardy did some similar stuff in the 80's too.

@TrixieFaux some of the people you mentioned do visit SF.

I'm not trying to tell anyone who they should get tattooed by or whatever and I'm not knocking anyone specific. I'm sure 'new' guys give props or shout-outs to Hooper, Jondix, et al. But it still stands that without the guys who developed the style none of us would even want to get it tattooed.

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On a side-note...a friend of ours just got a really big Amanda Wachob tattoo on her arm. While it is not my cup of tea, my friend is over the moon about it so I'm happy for her.

As far as Hooper and his style goes, for now I'm just going to live vicariously through @Graeme, because the raven he is getting from him would be what I would want. I am still working on my left arm anyway at least through Feb and will be out of tattoo $ for a while after that!

I appreciate everything you have said @Stewart Robson. You know what you're talking about. I am just a collector person who likes finding new artists in the CA area that I didn't know about before whose style I like.

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I think my favorite thing about this "school" of tattooing is that it seems to give tattooing back it's primal since of empowerment. I probably wouldn't wear this style, but to the people who do, the sacred geometry etc. seems to have a sort of primitive/ancient way of giving the wearer confidence and power. Maybe it's the way that the designs fit on the body in a similar way to tribal? I don't feel like this post adequately articulates what I'm trying to get at, but hopefully some of you guys know what I mean.

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@Graeme so you're saying that because it happens with everything on the internet, it's ok?

I have no problem with people trying to do 'fresh' things. In my opinion, this style is still fresh, therefore how can anyone else do something new with it? Maybe it's different because I've been fortunate enough to see the seeds of this style develop from other things in a natural and gradual way that I feel uncomfortable when someone else hops on the wagon when the bumps have been ironed out.

Yes it does happen, I know I can't stop it and I'm not trying to. The reason I take the time to post here is because Last Sparrow is different. It's better than that. This place is the real deal and I care about it. It may be just another forum to chat about whatever is on your mind to pass the time, for most here, but for the collectors and tattooers who post here there hasn't been anything this positive about good tattoos and tattooing on the internet, ever.

There's been a machine forum that was good for a while and some kinda-sorta fringe industry sites and forums that were good for a while but there's never been somewhere online for just tattoos where quality matters and people who are respected in the real world are respected in the forums. Too often a post/blog count matters more than the quality of submissions and real-world experience. It's different here. Last Sparrow is having a real-world effect and I think it's up to us all to realise the responsibility we have and to try a little harder to be thoughtful and intelligent in our actions online and offline.

While I wouldn't wear tattoos in the style Amanda Wachob does, I can see how they would appeal to some. I'm not even sure it appeals to 'tattoo people'. It's not really a new tattoo style either. It's based on a style of painting (wich was once new - over 70 years ago) Ed Hardy did some similar stuff in the 80's too.

No, of course I'm not saying that everything that happens on the internet is automatically okay. I completely agree with you when you talk about the "me too" attitude and that the derivative stuff tends to be soulless, and I think that's probably inevitable when people haven't done the tremendous amount of work that Hooper/Jondix/Albrigo/Xed/Tomas Tomas/etc have. I wasn't there when these guys were working all of this out, but I will say that from the short amount of time I've spent so far being tattooed by Hooper that I am in awe of his work ethic and the depth and breadth of material he's drawing from, and that I don't even come close to understanding the extent of it. And this isn't even getting into the technical ability to pull off the stuff he does. I'm sure it's the same with the rest of those guys, and it sucks when people think that they can capture some of that by tattooing, as you put it, "a skull over or under a doily".

As for the rest of your comments, I accept those. Apologies if I came across as glib or as a dick (and that Amanda Wachob comment was way out of line). I have a lot of respect for this place and I've learned a tremendous amount from it and I'd like to, if possible, contribute something positive to it and not be a part of turning it into every other forum on the internet ever. So (genuinely) thanks for the kick in the ass.

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Excellent discussion here.

@Stewart Robson, I'm now curious about to what degree your observation would apply. While I generally wouldn't give a damn about what just anyone might think about what tattoo work I might get done - I would want the artwork I display to be at least respected inside of the collector's/artist's eyes.

If or when I can line up a 1400 mile (one-way) journey and get in with Hooper I'd certainly love to, but if (or once) done I'd like to get a stand-alone piece done by him for sure. However in my eyes this "style" of work would also be an excellent filler method, and I wouldn't be surprised if one or all of the big dogs didn't want to take the time for undertaking such a chore - aside from the fact that the cost for travelling to NYC or SF to get filler tattoos would be astronomical. Would small-scale "copying" that style by another tattooist for such a purpose still be disrespectful to the originators?

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I already started a thread about this months ago, I just wrote in the title "Black work", like an idiot :D

http://www.lastsparrowtattoo.com/forum/tattoo-designs-books-flash/647-black-work.html

OK, it was almost two years ago :P

edit. Maybe the threads can be combined? The main one being this one by slayer, because its new and I don't want to side track this great discussion...

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I already started a thread about this months ago, I just wrote in the title "Black work", like an idiot :D

http://www.lastsparrowtattoo.com/forum/tattoo-designs-books-flash/647-black-work.html

OK, it was almost two years ago :P

edit. Maybe the threads can be combined? The main one being this one by slayer, because its new and I don't want to side track this great discussion...

How did I miss that? I'll see if I can combined the threads

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this is a style i'd never get, but i can appreciate it. i really enjoy seeing new stuff from hooper. dude is a beast. with that said, i've gotta agree with stewart. i see so many pics of people ripping off this style, and it's lame. sometimes, i see tattooers do it well, other times it's doo doo butter.

how do people feel about guy le tattooer? dude seems legit.

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this is a style i'd never get, but i can appreciate it. i really enjoy seeing new stuff from hooper. dude is a beast. with that said, i've gotta agree with stewart. i see so many pics of people ripping off this style, and it's lame. sometimes, i see tattooers do it well, other times it's doo doo butter.

how do people feel about guy le tattooer? dude seems legit.

I think some of his tattoos, like this one, are cool:

126945283217761468_tLOZm2lO_c.jpg

Some of them, though, I feel that I've seen other people do before.

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To clarify, when I said before that I feel I've seen Guy Le Tattooer's tattoos before, I don't mean that he's doing copies of anybody else's tattoos, I just feel that looking at them you can tell exactly what inspired him. For example, these hands:

198651033534905507_I6Dp1Nk3_c.jpg

Looks like the guy is wearing a Saved t-shirt too.

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To clarify, when I said before that I feel I've seen Guy Le Tattooer's tattoos before, I don't mean that he's doing copies of anybody else's tattoos, I just feel that looking at them you can tell exactly what inspired him. For example, these hands:

198651033534905507_I6Dp1Nk3_c.jpg

Looks like the guy is wearing a Saved t-shirt too.

that's true, but he definitely does some clean work.

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that's true, but he definitely does some clean work.

For sure and when I was looking at pictures of his tattoos earlier today I think he's more and more finding his own articulation of the "style" and that's great. It also depends on clients letting him work on and develop that and not just going to him wanting a facsimile of a Hooper tattoo.

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Last time I talked to Thomas H. about people starting to do this style more and more he said something like "Someone needs to, I dont have time to do them all". I still agree that it waters it down, but I still love my thomas tattoos.

My favorite thing about Thomas is when he mixes the classic tattooing/woodcut style with the patterns and dots and less the patterns and dots only.

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