Dali-inspired AT-AT by Paul at Old School Tattoo in Bellingham, Washington.
Really, this excellent piece by Paul at Old School Tattoo in Bellingham, Washington had me at “AT-AT,” but this collector’s idea to make it unique by incorporating elements of Salvador Dali’s recurring spindly-legged elephants is pretty awesome.
The Elephants, by Salvador Dali, c. 1948
Quoth Dali, “I am painting pictures which make me die for joy, I am creating with an absolute naturalness, without the slightest aesthetic concern, I am making things that inspire me with a profound emotion and I am trying to paint them honestly.”
My friend Stephen asked me if I wanted to play the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, so I was poking around on the web and found all kinds of good stuff to get me in the mood, including a CoC Quick Start Guide (pdf), the complete text of the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Call of Cthulhu,” and this really fun blog by Paul Carrick about the process of designing, sculpting, and producing a Cthulhu collectible statuette (and other Lovecraft-inspired artworks).
In the process, I stumbled upon—you guessed it—Cthulhu tattoos! So of course I had to perform an exhaustive search for the best on the web. Here are my favorites:
Tattoo by Billy Beens of Tat-nice Tattoos, Huntington
This excellent piece by Billy Beens of Tat-nice Tattoos in Huntington, WV, is everything that I love in a tattoo: bright colors, great design, amazing technique and execution, cool subject matter, and all-around bad-ass-ness. Photo courtesy of TattooArtists.org.
Tattoo by Tommy "Lee" Wendtner at NIX2008, Toronto
I love the realistic details, the beautiful shading/highlights and the creepy dead eyes of this scary black-and-grey piece. In addition to the photo above (from Tommy’s MySpace page), you can see a triptych of different angles on FTAtalk.com and an in-progress shot on Flickr. I gather from these various sources that Tommy Lee is based in Germany, and that this tattoo seems to have been completed in about 8 hours at Northern Ink Xposure 2008 in Toronto.
Tattoo by John Fitzgerald at Slave to the Needle, Seattle
I really like this stylized interpretation of Cthulhu; bonus ink points for incorporating traditional Japanese style in the waves, etc., and bonus nerd points for including the Necronomicon. Excellent work by John Fitzgerald of Slave to the Needle. Found in BMEzine’s tattoo galleries, filed under the shop’s name.
Tattoo by Eric Henshaw at Yankee Tattoo, Burlington
This tattoo is one of the more horrific specimens I came across; I think I just lost a sanity point! I also found what looks to be the original artwork on which this piece was based. This guy also seems to be working on a leg sleeve (I’m going to start calling big tattoos on people’s legs “pantlegs”) featuring Baphomet. Cthulhu piece found on Flickr, inked by Eric Henshaw at Yankee Tattoo in Burlington, Vermont (Baphomet tattoo is by Aaron Reil).
Tattoo by Jonathan at Alpha & Omega's Tattoo & Body Piercing, Oshkosh
While this sleeve doesn’t feature Cthulhu himself, there is no shortage of tentacles and other Lovecraft-inspired horror. Bonus points for the small portrait of H.P. Lovecraft himself on the forearm. Artist: Mike Tidwell of Obscurities Tattoos and Piercing in Dallas, TX. Source: BMENews.
Again, these are just my favorites; I was actually surprised at how many Cthulhu tattoos I found! I guess it makes sense; scary bad-ass monsters have long been prime subject matter for tattoos… If you find one (or have one) that you want to share with the rest of us Ink Nerds, feel free to post a link in the comments, or e-mail a photo to josh [at] inknerd [dot] com!
The Ink Nerd and the Cat Girl (but which is which?)
My friend Matthew and I just made a special trip out to the Frank Frazetta Museum in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. It was awesome. After a quick (65-mile) drive from Brooklyn, we arrived on the beautiful 75-acre Frazetta estate, paid our admission, and wandered the one large room, ogling and marveling at the amazing paintings on the walls. I’d seen most of them in print many times, but nothing compares to seeing them in person, actual size. The brush strokes and the physical dimension and texture of the paint on the canvas are lost in most reproductions; did I mention it was awesome?
Frank wasn’t around at the time, but his wife Ellie chatted us up for quite sometime, and regaled us with stories of Frank, his family, his art, and his business:
Frank taught himself to paint with his left hand after a stroke a couple of years ago (an impressive example is on display at the museum).
At one point, he wasn’t happy with one of his paintings used for a pulp novel, and his publisher arranged to credit it to his rival, Boris Vallejo, instead.
He used to regularly paint over his classic paintings, because he was never satisfied with the published versions—not paint them again, mind you, but paint ON TOP OF the original work!
The US Army asked Frank if they could use his “Death Dealer” character in the insignia of a division, but they thought the name wouldn’t go over very well, so they referred to him as “The Phantom Warrior.”
Frazetta's Death Dealer, by Stacy Sharp
Although Frazetta is perhaps best known for his definitive vision of Conan the Barbarian, Death Dealer seems to be the character of Frazetta’s most often translated into skin art. Here’s a tattoo version of the painting, “Death Dealer II“, done by Stacy Sharp at Sharp Tattoo in Ronkonkoma, New York.
The colors, placement, and technique of this lower half-sleeve are really excellent . Bonus points for the brushstroke-lookin’ daubs of color around the edges. Tattoo by Bez at Triple Six Studios in Sunderland, UK. Photo from TattooNOW.com.
The following Monster Mash sleeve (in progress in this photo) is from welovethedark‘s flickr photostream (self-described “corporate goths”). The process from source artwork (by awesome illustrator David Hartman) to finished piece (by Charles Cain at Mark of Cain Tattoo near Boone, North Carolina) is well-documented. Excellent artwork, Excellent tattoo, excellent photos and play-by-play description. Kudos to all!
BONUS VIDEO! This song by Dave Edmunds gets stuck in my head all the time!
...a weblog geared toward newbie tattoo nerds like me. This includes tattoo enthusiasts who are into really nerdy stuff as well as people who are obsessed with tattoos with a geek-like passion. Ink Nerd features… well, whatever I feel like featuring, but I’ll try to make sure it relates to tattoos (at least most of the time).