Known for its dark and heavy strokes, bold clean lines, and solid color, American Traditional tattoos are typically made up of images and symbols used by the early tattoo artists who were often sailors and in American culture, “tattooing has historically been a heritage art; a tradition passed down from a teacher to a student.” Though over the years, tattooing has been and the designs have been modified, American traditional tattoos remain a distinct and a recognizable style of tattoo art.
It was during the civil war that American traditional tattoos really began to stand out as their own distinct style. Largely centered around military service, religion, and love, sailors tattooed art that basically included elements of their personal lives. Defined by specific imagery – patriotic symbols like eagles, the American flag, pictures of girl-heads, pin-ups, roses, daggers, 5-pointed stars, anchors, skulls, and etc. Even in today’s modern trends, American Traditional still encapsulates this classic tradition, heritage, and importance but incorporates a broader scope of themes and design elements. Now that the designs contain a broader variety of themes compared to the early American Traditional tattoo, the simple color palettes, and uncomplicated designs are the trademarks to recognizing this timeless art.
With a huge surge of popularity in recent years, New School Tattoos are known for their bright colors saturated inks, large “strokes”, vivid pop of colors and cartoon-like shapes. Although New School Tattoos vary from artist to artist and from one trend to the next, New School is a whimsical style of art that uses these bold, bright colors with a strong light source. The images or designs are extreme with 3-D, graffiti like heavy outlines that could be anything varying from
bizarre characters smoking cigars to owls, gypsies or animals and other characters that laugh so to speak with a little bit more than sarcasm. Some feature cartoon-like horror themes and even hip hop themes.
Many tattoo artists are gravitating more to New School Tattooing because of the freedom of subject and technique. It offers a limitless style of tattooing that helps make clients ideas come true in the form of a tattoo. It doesn’t follow the traditional guidelines of tattooing and can be abstract—not having to fit into any sort of mold offers clients and the artist the freedom of tattooing without boundaries!
Traditional Japanese Tattoos, also known as “Irezumi” is the tattooing of the body with such designs with flowers, tigers, dragon, leafs, mythical beasts, and other images from stories, myths and tales. This kind of Japanese tattooing started to develop around the time of the Edo period from 1600 to 1868 AD and were started by woodblock artists who began tattooing the human flesh with the same tools, such as chisels and gouges. Thankfully today, we have a better way to tattoo!
There are a number of images and symbols used in this Japanese style of tattooing which conveys specific meanings. These images are used to convey a person’s beliefs, character traits or aspirations. Sometimes called “motifs” these designs have the same meaning no matter wherever they are and are not specific or unique to one single person. therefore, if anyone sees this style of art and recognized its meaning, the wearer of that tattoo would be conveying the meaning relates to their own personality trait, character attributes, or association with some sort of organization.
Black and Grey
This style of tattooing, thought to have originated in prisons, is a style of tattooing that uses only black ink in a variation of shades. With typically the use of a single needle, these artistic sketches usually include portraits, roses and memorials, but as trends change the themes of this style has varied over the years.