Dallas tattoo artists who have mastered different styles

In Western culture, there has long been a negative stigma associated with tattoos, but tattooing is an ancient art form with rich traditions and meanings in different cultures across the world. In 1991, when the the oldest human mummy in the world was ripped from the ground, he was found sporting as many as 61 tattoos embedded in his skin with soot or ink made from fiery ash.

It is believed that the spread of this art form in Western cultures stems from European sailors returning tattooed from the Polynesian islands back in the 1700s. The word “tattoo” comes from the Polynesian word “tatatau” or “tattau” which means to strike or strike. Over time, a set of styles has formed in different parts of the world and continues to evolve, or ofturn into “tramp stamps” and wire.

Some tattoos, however, are unmistakably captivating, like the traditional Japanese costume. These are best known for displaying Japanese mythology and scenes in nature to create a cohesive tattoo with deep traditional and cultural meaning. “Irezumi“, the Japanese word for inserting ink and the term used to describe the full body suit, is a beautiful expression of the individualism that was to remain hidden from the public. Tattoos were banned in Japan at different times. of the country’s history because they were considered criminals.

Dallas has many tattoo artists who specialize in different tattoo styles and traditions around the world. Carl Hallowell, a Dallas-based tattoo artist with over 26 years of experience, added the sacred Tibori process of Japanese-style tattooing to his skills in 2019. He also earned the Japanese tattoo title “Horisho” for his mastery of the art of irisumi. The Tibori process is an ancient Japanese tattoo technique that requires the use of a handmade needle and no automatic tattoo gun. Hallowell uses his own strength to push ink into the dermis of the skin.

Click to enlarge

Another creation of Irezumi tradition by Dallas artist Carl Hallowell.

Carl Hallowell

“In my humble opinion, the constant expression of this form seems to be ‘the essence of the world’,” says Hallowell. “By wearing this work, we underline our relationship with this essence. ”

Hallowell describes the traditional Japanese tattoo as a representation of true reality without distortion. Matching images is extremely important. For those interested in Japanese-style tattoos who don’t understand the cultural meanings behind the imagery, an irezumi artist such as Hallowell can help create the story they would like to tell.

The Japanese bodysuit is supposed to flow with the body. To master the art of perfecting this massive tattoo, an irezumi artist must first study how each part of the body connects and what images can or cannot be used and where they should be positioned on the body.

Click to enlarge Hallowell was awarded the title of "Horisho" for her traditional Japanese tattoo.  - CARL HALLOWELL

Hallowell obtained the title of “Horisho” for his traditional Japanese tattoo.

Carl Hallowell

There are over 21,000 tattoo parlors in the United States and that number is growing every day. With the help of social media, more and more styles and individual creativity are being explored by tattoo artists all over the world. According to the Compare Camp market research team, tattooing is the sixth fastest growing US industry and generates around $ 1.6 billion annually. Tattoos might not be for everyone, but there is a lot less stigma around the art form than there used to be.

Texas has its own unique tattoo style that breaks the rules. Local legends Richard Still, Dave Lum and Chris Trevino are credited with being among the creators of this style. Scott Cooksey, a Dallas-based artist and owner of Lonestar Tattoo, specializing in Texan-style tattoos, was instrumental in its development and eventual perfection.

“In addition to specializing in traditional American and Japanese irezumi tattooing, I often combine the two into a hybrid that many refer to as ‘Texan style’,” says Cooksey. “Add a pinch of humor and a pinch of craziness and there you are. Texans love big and bold and that’s what the Texan style tattoo is like.

Bold lines, black undertones, and bright, eye-catching colors can shape the perfect Texan style tattoo. Where the traditional American style and the Texan style differ are the ideas and concepts behind tattoos. Cooksey describes Texan style tattoos as crazier, wilder, and more expressive than traditional American tattoos. One rule that is true for both styles is that artists make sure people can see the tattoo from across the room.

Click to enlarge A Texas style tattoo by Dallas tattoo artist Scott Cooksey.  - SCOTT COOKSEY

A Texan style tattoo by Dallas tattoo artist Scott Cooksey.

Scott cooksey

Cooksey encourages those interested in a Texan style tattoo to take their time with their process.

“My best advice to anyone looking to get a tattoo of a traditional American Texan style tattoo, or irezumi for that matter, is to do their homework,” says Cooksey. “Find out who does the specific style you want and who does it well. Good are not cheap and cheap are not good, remember that.

Another local trend is relatively new and is moving away from traditional and old school tattoo styles. Watercolor tattoos are, in a sense, self-explanatory: the tattoo artist tries to create a look that resembles the unique style and aesthetic of watercolor paintings. It is difficult to trace who created this style of tattooing, but its popularity continues through customers entering tattoo shops with watercolor tattoo images and examples of painting that they wanted to emulate.

Chubbs, a tattoo artist at Sinners Tattoo, says he got his first watercolor tattoo on location when a client came over a few years ago. Chubbs says he enjoys working with color in general, so he naturally turned to watercolor tattoos as a specialty.

“I love their chaotic beauty,” Chubbs says. “Nothing looks perfect, it’s a freer kind of expression in the tattoo.”

A watercolor tattoo can be defined as a bright and vivid tattoo consisting of a number of subtle color gradients and techniques that create a more gradual color fade, and by the use of fine outlines, if it there is.

Chubbs says that initially, clients were looking to get tattoos with tiny watercolor ideas. Now some of her clients are walking around for half sleeves with a watercolor look.

“I have people who come from Colorado and all kinds of places to get watercolor tattoos,” he says.

Click to enlarge A watercolor turtle by tattoo artist Chubb from Dallas.  - CHUBBS

A watercolor turtle by Dallas tattoo artist Chubb.


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