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Why American Traditional tattoos are so liked here and mostly everywhere.

I had a long conversation with my tattoo artist while I was getting some work done. He is a collector himself and we talked about different artist that we both would like to collect from.

Than we started talking about the different styles and preferences...

Holly crap I had no clue a traditional tattoo was so complicated in sense of boldness, expression, and technic.

There is allot more to it than I thought. While still not my style I have learned to appreciate them even more.

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I don't think traditional tattoos necessarily inspire a 'fuck yeah, that's awesome' reaction in most people straight off the bat. A segment immediately - absolutely - and maybe more since they really came to fore as a genre in the past few years, but I think it's fair to say that most people (and a lot of collectors) are more readily able to recognise good tattooing when it comes in the form of accomplished japanese style, black and grey etc.

It probably took me at least five years of collecting and looking at tattoos a lot before I started to "get" traditional (maybe I was a slow learner). Even then, it was even longer before I understood what was going on with some of the more folksy approaches to it.

To me the thing about traditional tattoos is that although you could say that there is a flash lexicon there ready to use, the devil is in the subtle details. A Bert Krak crawling panther will be a very different beast, excuse the pun, to an Uncle Allen take on the same starting point. I love that aspect of it. Looking at stuff from particular artists and seeing where they've gone with it. You get the really whimsical and fun, like Jesse Gordon Jnr, you get the real traditionalists, like Tommy T. here in Dublin and people who are doing a really distinct personal folk style like Mario Desa (or at least, that's what I see there, apologies if I'm wrong :P ).

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Absolutely love traditional. My snake and family crest tattoos are both reminiscent of traditional style, and looking at my tattooer's arms just evokes an immense amount of nostalgia...he looks like a walking road trip, pin up girls, neon signs, panthers, stars and dots filler, etc. It looks like classic Americana ripped right from a fifties ad. When I'm ready to do my forearms, I think I'll do traditional pieces, just so I can have a lot of little one shots to tie together.

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Traditional and Japanese are hands down my favorite styles of tattooing. A really interesting thing is happening in the development of traditional tattoos right now, where artists are keeping in tradition with the technique and tools of prior generations but really branching out in subject matter, concept, and style. For instance, look at the work of James McKenna, Aidan Monahan, or Slawomir Nietschke. All of whom keep with the bold line, heavy black, saturated color, negative space ratios, and dynamic designs, while exploring very interesting and wacky themes. Or even the less weird but still very advanced and finessed work of artists like Herb Aeurbach, Paul Dobleman, or Gordon Combs. It's a super cool and exciting thing to be happening within a particular school of thought and is what makes the style most interesting to me.

It seems to me that the general populace prefers realism or new school tattoos, or even the more painterly stuff. If that's your preference, I don't really care, but I do attribute it largely to ignorance and a magpie effect.

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Me too. This place as taught me a lot. I have a much better appreciation of the style and that there are not coloring book tattoos. I love the butterflies and moths. Thanks for the list of other artists to look at, @cltattooing. All of them are pretty darn good, but I really like Aidan Monahan's stuff.

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It seems to me that the general populace prefers realism or new school tattoos, or even the more painterly stuff. If that's your preference, I don't really care, but I do attribute it largely to ignorance and a magpie effect.

For a while I was very interested in the above myself, just because it looks so good in pictures and in person, when the tattoos are young. Who wouldn't want a Rembrandt on their back?! Pretty!

However, I have now come to prefer the traditional style for the suitability and longevity on the human skin. As I have seen my own tattoos age over a decade and more I can see why traditional techniques/styles stand the test of time. My next tattoos are not going to be necessarily traditional subject matter, but done in a traditional style.

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Seems to me that when we talk about directions trad tattooing can go in it's worth bearing in mind the distinction between form and content.

The form of trad tattooing is all the stuff that leads people to say "bold will hold". The sticker quality, readability, outline, use of black, bold colours etc.

But that has no necessary connection to the content. You could use the form to illustrate anything, and people do... So we have espresso shots... Skeletor... Wrestling holds...

But there's a reason panthers, Eagles and whatnots have such a long track record. They're archetypical images full of emotion and strength.

A hipster gentleman riding an old timey bike, done in a traditional style, will almost certainly date. But a swooping eagle? Or a crying baby head. They won't go out of date anytime soon.

The question then becomes whether there's a better way to organise / draw that swooping eagle, or how you make it different.

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Traditional and Japanese are hands down my favorite styles of tattooing. A really interesting thing is happening in the development of traditional tattoos right now, where artists are keeping in tradition with the technique and tools of prior generations but really branching out in subject matter, concept, and style. For instance, look at the work of James McKenna, Aidan Monahan, or Slawomir Nietschke. All of whom keep with the bold line, heavy black, saturated color, negative space ratios, and dynamic designs, while exploring very interesting and wacky themes. Or even the less weird but still very advanced and finessed work of artists like Herb Aeurbach, Paul Dobleman, or Gordon Combs. It's a super cool and exciting thing to be happening within a particular school of thought and is what makes the style most interesting to me.

It seems to me that the general populace prefers realism or new school tattoos, or even the more painterly stuff. If that's your preference, I don't really care, but I do attribute it largely to ignorance and a magpie effect.

So liking these is ignorant? My tattoo appreciation was largely shaped in Canada. At the time Steve Moore was pretty much the most respected tattooer in the country amongst tattooers. His style, technique, and level of awesome was light years beyond everyone else, according to tattooers, not the general pop.post-53683-146168880816_thumb.jpg

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I'm impressed by the technical ability of color portrait artists like Nikko Hurtado or Paul Acker, but a tattoo of Capt. Jack Sparrow or Catwoman, no matter how perfect, doesn't make me feel a thing.

But that's how I judge all art -- not by how well someone can paint something that looks "lifelike" (or, in the case of music, how fast Yngwie Malmsteen can shred) if it has no soul. I'll take a Neil Young solo any day.

I love how the best traditional tattoos can distill the essence of a thing with so few lines, and the more I look at tattoos, the more I can appreciate it. Strong, powerful images is what does it for me.

No one would ever say Picasso is a bad artist because his paintings are "simple" or don't look "real."

People can like what they like, but bashing traditional tattoos just makes the one saying it look kinda dumb or at least uninformed.

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So liking these is ignorant? My tattoo appreciation was largely shaped in Canada. At the time Steve Moore was pretty much the most respected tattooer in the country amongst tattooers. His style, technique, and level of awesome was light years beyond everyone else, according to tattooers, not the general pop.[ATTACH]12521[/ATTACH][ATTACH]12522[/ATTACH][ATTACH]12523[/ATTACH][ATTACH]12524[/ATTACH]

That's not what I said at all. You have a relationship and wide exposure to tattoos and I respect your tastes even if they're not my tastes. I just think that traditional tattoos are harder for the layman to appreciate because they're not as flashy.

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That's not what I said at all. You have a relationship and wide exposure to tattoos and I respect your tastes even if they're not my tastes. I just think that traditional tattoos are harder for the layman to appreciate because they're not as flashy.

Im pretty new to tattoos and indeed traditional isn't very appealing to me at the moment. But what is the difference between traditional and flash? To me, it looks sort of the same. But if you want to share your knowledge to me im more than happy to read it and learn from it.

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never thought i would see myke chambers getting praise on here.. check out Topper (@plymouthfan on IG) @ philadelphia eddies for real traditional tattoos.

I see. Anyone else you care to blacklist?

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Im pretty new to tattoos and indeed traditional isn't very appealing to me at the moment. But what is the difference between traditional and flash? To me, it looks sort of the same. But if you want to share your knowledge to me im more than happy to read it and learn from it.

Yeah not like tattoo flash, flashy like sensational or "wow" factor.

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I speak from no position of expertise or authority, but I definitely have a preference for traditional.

There's something about the boldness and staying power in not only the imagery, but also the application.

That being said, I feel like there's also a versatility where even the most familiar of designs can be reimagined and transformed into something unique that still holds up over time.

I guess what it really comes down to for me can be summed up by a sentiment I've seen regularly repeated on this forum: I like tattoos that look like tattoos.

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That's not what I said at all. You have a relationship and wide exposure to tattoos and I respect your tastes even if they're not my tastes. I just think that traditional tattoos are harder for the layman to appreciate because they're not as flashy.

I agree with that, that traditional is harder for the general populace to appreciate. Heck, my apprenticeship has given me a new appreciation of traditional. I just traced the entire sailor jerry encyclopedia of flash, and I liked it a lot. However, this place needs to open their eyes to these people: Aaron Cain, Guy Aitchison, Marcus Pacheco, Mike Cole, Rob Koss, Filip Leu, Don McDonald, Steve Moore, Carson Hill, Cory Kruger, James Tex, and like 30 more that this forum doesn't give a fuck about. These guys can tattoo circles around Mike Chambers et al. What the fucking fuck? I'm so fed up I'm going to quit hanging out here.

I just spent the afternoon chopping wood for my mentor. I've got blisters and a belly full of tequila, so apologies for the rant.

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Cory Kruger was one of the first recommendations I got after joining this forum...of course now he's in Chicago, not Clinton, MA. I feel pretty stupid for not getting on that sooner.

I don't think the people you listed are necessarily unappreciated here, it's just not the type of work that a lot of posters are getting. And if traditional is misunderstood then it's nice to have places like this as a corrective...

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I agree with that, that traditional is harder for the general populace to appreciate. Heck, my apprenticeship has given me a new appreciation of traditional. I just traced the entire sailor jerry encyclopedia of flash, and I liked it a lot. However, this place needs to open their eyes to these people: Aaron Cain, Guy Aitchison, Marcus Pacheco, Mike Cole, Rob Koss, Don McDonald, Steve Moore, Carson Hill, Cory Kruger, James Tex, and like 30 more that this forum doesn't give a fuck about. These guys can tattoo circles around Mike Chambers et al. What the fucking fuck? I'm so fed up I'm going to quit hanging out here.

I just spent the afternoon chopping wood for my mentor. I've got blisters and a belly full of tequila, so apologies for the rant.

Well, I think a good majority here are aware of these people. I love Aaron Cain, Pacheco and James Tex. Certainly not oblivious to it. I'm also certain that I don't have a tattoo machine tattooed on my hand, but I can recognize most on site. There isn't a Captain Big Nuts card to attain around here. I certainly am not interested in making anyone stay if they feel like they don't belong. Just know your audience. Period.

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I agree with that, that traditional is harder for the general populace to appreciate. Heck, my apprenticeship has given me a new appreciation of traditional. I just traced the entire sailor jerry encyclopedia of flash, and I liked it a lot. However, this place needs to open their eyes to these people: Aaron Cain, Guy Aitchison, Marcus Pacheco, Mike Cole, Rob Koss, Filip Leu, Don McDonald, Steve Moore, Carson Hill, Cory Kruger, James Tex, and like 30 more that this forum doesn't give a fuck about. These guys can tattoo circles around Mike Chambers et al. What the fucking fuck? I'm so fed up I'm going to quit hanging out here.

I just spent the afternoon chopping wood for my mentor. I've got blisters and a belly full of tequila, so apologies for the rant.

chopping wood with a tequila afterparty...worse ways to spend a day

thrown down some more funky flash man

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However, this place needs to open their eyes to these people: Aaron Cain, Guy Aitchison, Marcus Pacheco, Mike Cole, Rob Koss, Filip Leu, Don McDonald, Steve Moore, Carson Hill, Cory Kruger, James Tex, and like 30 more that this forum doesn't give a fuck about.

Really? I've seen nothing but love for most of these dudes on here. Isn't there a whole thread on Filip Leu?

I do hope you stick around though. Strong opinions and healthy debate are what keeps this place interesting.

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I can appreciate many different forms and styles of tattooing, for me I am a huge fan of Neo-Traditional tattoos and is what most of my work is done in. I like traditional american/ Japanese tattoos, but for me, they just don't 'float my boat' aesthetically. The imagery is fantastic though. I can appreciate the work put into these designs, the process of how it is applied, the craftsmanship. I love tattoos and can't even begin to explain the plethora of information this site has taught me over these last few years. I can confidently say I understand the sites' (for lack of a better word) obsession with traditional american and Japanese style of tattooing. Its all going back to tattooing's flourish and roots of what can stand the test of time, its what has been proven to work. But as with every form of (for lack of a better word again) 'art' there needs to be an evolution for it to survive in a way. Just like in nature, evolution needs to be small and subtle, yet changed enough to not go extinct. Such as, grime's work when he was starting to get major recognition. It was similar to a lot of styles out there but had a twist that was recognizable and worked well, well enough for people to copy his twang. As grime was just an example to how tattooing can change into something the general populace will know almost nothing about, most only look at whats 'hot' right now. All in all tattooing is something that to me has no certain look, shape, or form; since it has been practice for thousands and thousands of years. Thanks for listening to my opinion on the matter, I'm sure some of you will have different perspectives that you can share and enlighten me/ us on this hobby we all share, Thanks!

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