Tattoo Artists and Art

Why we love black tattoos and you should too

Alessandro Micci, Freak Doll Tattoo, Italy

Tattoo by Alessandro Micci, Freak Doll Tattoo, Italy

Inkluded’s Sam philosophises about his recent obsession with black tattoos…

The first tattoo I ever got, almost ten years ago now if you can believe it, was a piece of Ed Hardy flash.

It was the first time I’d ever set foot in a tattoo studio and as soon as I saw those flash sheets hanging from the walls I instantly fell in love with the bright, bold traditional designs. Like a moth drawn to the flame, I too was drawn to the colours; the blood reds, sunflower yellows and the deep ocean blues.

From that point on every design and tattoo I received had to have colour. It had to be bright, it had to be bold. It’s a love affair that remains to this day.

Tattoo by Cubatattooer, Seoul, Korea

Tattoo by Cubatattooer, Seoul, Korea

But it’s also a love affair that has recently hit a rocky patch. It seems my head has been turned by another. Something fresh and new and exciting. Something that makes me close the curtains, turn off the lights and dulls the allure of my once beloved colours. That something is the all-black tattoo.

Up until quite recently I would always picture a tribal tattoo when I thought of a tattoo with no colour. It would seem I was being a little naive and narrow-minded in my view of what just can be achieved when using just black ink; even just a casual stroll through what is being created using the most limited of limited palettes absolutely blew my mind.

Tattoo by Dennis Mati, Moscow and St Petersburg

Tattoo by Dennis Mati, Moscow and St Petersburg

Where I once thought that a lack of brightness would leave a tattoo looking… well… looking lacking if I’m honest. I now feel the lack of something actually adds so much more to the finished piece.

The use of negative space and clever shading techniques leads to some of the most jaw dropping tattoos I’ve ever seen, all the more jaw dropping when it’s done with one colour ink.

For myself at least, it would appear that colour has had its time in the sun. It’s time to take a walk on the darker side of life.

Tattoo by Tony Nos, High Rollers Tattoo Studio, West Chester PA

Tattoo by Tony Nos, High Rollers Tattoo Studio, West Chester, PA

Tattoo by Thomas Bates, London and Norwich

Tattoo by Thomas Bates, London and Norwich

Tattoo by Neil Dransfield, Oddfellows Tattoo Collective, Leeds

Tattoo by Neil Dransfield, Oddfellows Tattoo Collective, Leeds

Tattoo by Mo Ganji, Berlin

Tattoo by Mo Ganji, Berlin

Tattoo by Merry Morgan, Black Inc, Somerset

Tattoo by Merry Morgan, Black Inc, Somerset

Tattoo by Maxwell Alves, Brazil

Tattoo by Maxwell Alves, Brazil

Tattoo by Mater Totemica, Area Industriale Tattoo, Italy

Tattoo by Mater Totemica, Area Industriale Tattoo, Italy

Tattoo by Josie Hall, The Guilded Quill, Lincoln

Tattoo by Josie Hall, The Guilded Quill, Lincoln

Tattoo by Johnny Gloom, Paris

Tattoo by Johnny Gloom, Paris

Tattoo by Jack Peppiette, Studio XIII, Edinburgh

Tattoo by Jack Peppiette, Studio XIII, Edinburgh

Tattoo by Ilja Hummel, Germany

Tattoo by Ilja Hummel, Germany

Tattoo by Ignacio Ttd, Luna Negra Tattoo, Buenos Aires

Tattoo by Ignacio Ttd, Luna Negra Tattoo, Buenos Aires

3 replies »

  1. These black tattoos are pretty incredible! I still think keeping color out of my ink and focusing on shades of black was a great choice from the beginning. I’m really happy I don’t have any color 😉

    • Jason, I know how you feel. I started photography with black and white in order to save a few bucks while I learned about the camera. I saved a little money and I fell in love with black and white. For thirty years she was my wife! Then ‘Digital’ got in the way. I just couldn’t ignore the lack of film choices, paper and chemicals. Digital is in (my opinion) lacking soul. I feel that the purpose of color is color and my work is very different than it was in black and white. I’m learning though!

      Phillip

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