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Seeking Advice on Japanese Work

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Hi, Everyone!

I’m 23 years old and I’m currently living in Pittsburgh (originally from the Philadelphia area). I don’t have any tattoos, but after sitting on the idea of getting Japanese work for several years, I’ve decided to go for it. A recent trip to Japan where I got to see some nice irezumi in person cemented my decision.

I would like to be tattooed in Japan by tebori, mostly for the experience, but also to give me an excuse to go back a few times! My initial thought was 2 half-sleeves with a chest panel on each. The more I’m thinking about it, the more I’m considering extending it to 7/10. My arms are very long, so even if I stopped just before my elbow, you’d still be able to see half of the tattoo in short sleeves. It wouldn’t be a problem professionally either way and I’m in no rush. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!

I’m also undecided on the motifs. I’m drawn to several, but I want the sleeves to complement each other roughly within the rules of tradition (seasons, imagery, etc.). I also want to make it easier to have a complimentary back piece down the line; I doubt I will ever commit to that, but you never know! Some of the pairings I’ve been considering:

-Kara-jishi Botan: I love this combination. If I go for the 7/10, I would consider pairing the shishi on one sleeve. Anybody have any ideas on what might go on the other side?

-Ryu with a tiger or ho-o: I like the balance in these. I feel I haven’t seen many phoenix pieces, but I like how they turn out.

-Baku and ??: I also haven’t seen too many baku either, but I like the story behind them and think they look killer. Also another image where I have no idea what could go on the other side. In my research here, I saw someone mention kirin, but I haven’t been able to track down any concrete info. Any ideas?

I’m also open to any other pairings you guys suggest! I’m still new to all of this and I’m eager to learn from everyone.

The 2 artists I’m looking at are:

-Bunshin Horitoshi (https://www.instagram.com/bunshinhoritoshi/): I like the boldness and simplicity of his work.

-Shunho (https://www.instagram.com/shunhotattoo/): I love the black and peonies of the Horitoshi family.

The posts here have been very helpful in my research so far and I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts. Thanks!

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4 hours ago, Hospitelli said:

Google Shinji Horizakura. 

Thanks for the recommendation. Shinji was actually one of the first artists I considered. I'm still pretty set on traveling abroad, but it never hurts to have an option relatively nearby. Any idea of how to reach him? Doesn't look like he's listed on Adorned's site anymore.

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10 hours ago, Gingerninja said:

If you do consider artists in the States, there are several amazing options...just saying from one Pittsburgher to another. :)

No denying that. I've seen your work in some of the other threads when I was lurking and it looks fantastic!

Part of the reason for the traveling is that I'm planning to continue going to other countries in Asia (not necessarily just to Japan). I figured I might as well pop in for a few days at a time while I'm in the region to get the work done.

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1 hour ago, Colored Guy said:

I have a bunch of oriental work, but outside of the traditional rules. I like it but those who know... they know the difference. I'm going to try to be truer to the art form from here on.

I wouldn't mind if the rules are bent, but I would like to at least know what they are before making a decision to do it (similar to the Horiyoshi III approach). If you don't mind me asking, what kind of work do you have?

 

13 minutes ago, Moonpie1917 said:

Bill and Junii Salmon are in San Francisco, and are a part of the Horitoshi family. As long as you are willing to travel!

Thanks for the recommendation!

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Planned for May. There are so many people on this forum that have a ton more experience than me, though. Hoping they will jump in with some additional recommendations! Marius Meyer in Norway, Chris Cooks in Ireland, Valerie and Stewart at Modern Classic, several of the folks at Seven Doors, the list is kinda amazing (and endless). Take at look at the Japanese threads and photos. You'll find an amazing amount of info!

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1 hour ago, Gingerninja said:

Planned for May. There are so many people on this forum that have a ton more experience than me, though. Hoping they will jump in with some additional recommendations! Marius Meyer in Norway, Chris Cooks in Ireland, Valerie and Stewart at Modern Classic, several of the folks at Seven Doors, the list is kinda amazing (and endless). Take at look at the Japanese threads and photos. You'll find an amazing amount of info!

That's awesome. What are you getting done?

And thanks for the names! I've seen many of them floating around. I had been looking at Stewart Robson, many of the bigger NYC artists like Kiku and Rubendall, and guys like Brian Kaneko at True Nature for a good bit, but I hadn't heard of the others. I'll check them out. 

I would be honored to carry any of their work; my big concerns are imagery and having a tattoo that extends to my forearm. I know it would be visible anyway as a half sleeve anyway, but there's a bit of a mental block for me.

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