Israeli artist Chaim Machlev is a Berlin-based tattoo artist, otherwise known as Dots to Lines. Working primarily with black ink (“I believe that black is the nicest color for tattoos; it is closer to our source than any other color,” he said in a recent interview), Machlev’s designs are complex line-based works that weave across skin with fluid, stunning precision. Incorporating mandalas, insects, and other images into his geometric tattoos, Machlev’s work go beyond simple designs into minimal, extraordinarily detailed works of permanent art. It makes sense, then, that Machlev bristles at the idea of grouping his work into any kind of predetermined genre. “I actually started to make those designs because it was weird for me that people try to categorize tattoos and other art forms. I could say that I have that split in my designs, just like in my personality; I make those art-minimalistic lines — the computer kid inside me — and very detailed mandalas, the spiritual man inside me.”
That spiritual motif makes way for some of Machlev’s most beautiful designs, such as symmetrical forearm mandalas and Joy Division-riffing chest designs of warped seismic waves. Machlev draws from his experiences traveling in India for the spiritual imagery in his designs, but for the more symmetrical designs, there is a prominent mathematical sense to the work. His line and dot work flows seamlessly over flesh in a way that looks similar to vectors on a computer, sprawling across chests and ribs with stunning exactitude.
Do you know someone who, beneath their clothes, has extensive tattoos? They might look unassuming from the outside, but underneath reveals their impressive collection of body art. That’s the idea behind Vancouver-based photographer Spencer Kovats’ series Uncovered, in which he invites strangers to pose in two photos- one where they appear fully-clothed and the other where we see their ink in all its glory.
The subjects have colorful, full sleeves and backs of intricate designs that showcase the art of tattooing. There is an interesting juxtaposition between the two photos, as someone sheds their skin to who they really are. They look more relaxed and at ease. At the same time, it also challenges us to think about how we judge people and how this changes after we see stripped down.
Kovats is one of 11 photographers participating in the “The Tattoo Project” that began during a long weekend 2010. Hundreds of tattooed people journeyed to shared studio space to pose before the cameras. The photographers captured thousands of portraits that each explored different aspects of body art. (Via Huffington Post)
The Parisian tattoo artist Gaëtan Le Gargasson, also known as GueT Deep, recently released a seductive and hypnotic slow-motion video of himself tattooing the arm of a woman named Fabrice. Needless to say, the fascinating video immediately went viral, and it has since being posted, it has accrued over 600,000 views. Even today, tattoo art carries a stigma, associated mostly with toughness, roughness, and grit; GueT’s stunning video highlights the more delicate side of the work, documenting the intense precision needed to craft the perfect piece. As the needle pulsates, the artist’s hand effortlessly tames the mechanical beast, breaking it to his will and vision.
Part of what makes this video (and the subsequent gifs, created by Design Boom) so striking is the apparent harmony between the organic body and the mechanical tattoo gun; as the tool ticks and marks the passage of time with unending accuracy, the human flesh bubbles, rises and falls with the ink. Like a heartbeat, each plunge of the needle causes the skin to ripple rhythmically. The piece on which GueT is working figures into these theme effortlessly; it appears to be a design composed of both geometric and natural, organic shapes.
In this slow-motion experience, the tattoo itself matters little; the artwork here is the action of the ink, not the end result. The video is more akin to a dance piece than to a painting. Deeply theatrical and performative, it is simultaneously soothing— mesmerizing, even— and anxiety-inducing. We watch the drama unfold, hoping that the hand does not slip, that everything goes according to plan. Take a look. (via DesignBoom and HuffPost)
When we get tattooed, our flesh becomes an elastic canvas, and it’s only a matter of time before we start hearing, “but what will it look like when you’re old and wrinkled?” As we age, our skin stretches, sags, and becomes marked by time and gravity; our ink moves in unpredictable ways as black fades to blue and linear shapes begin to blur. Part of the magic of the tattoo medium lies in this accidental metamorphosis or art and body, and reddit user “clevknife” hopes to challenge the idea that time breeds unsavory, attractive ink. His project, titled “What about when you get old?” showcases elderly individuals embracing their well-worn tattoos and proving that there truly is no expiration date on good art.
Clevknife’s shots maintain a casual, offhand aesthetic that might seem amateurish but is somehow allied with anti-conformist tattoo culture. The curated images lack a ready coherence, jumping from black and white to color, from professionally lit to unpracticed and unfocused. While some appear to be the result of standard portrait sessions, some are reminiscent of the from-the-hip style of early street art.
An otherwise unassuming older man stands in a grocery store, fists raised and forearms emboldened by ink; the limited depth of field serves only to heighten the drama of his pose. Another subject is cast in nostalgic blacks and whites as he mimes, slicks his hair back. No two subjects are alike, but one thing’s for sure: these human canvases don’t regret a thing. Our bodies may age and morph, but our art will adapt to the changing landscape of our flesh. (via Lost at E Minor and My Modern Met)
I can’t look at Warwick Saint’s portfolio without blushing. His Ink series is dripping with bad girl sex appeal that will have you clicking the next button over and over to see all 85 images from the series. If that’s not enough reason to check out his work he also is an accomplished portrait, music, and celebrity photographer.
Kim Joon utilizes the human body in ways you never thought possible. Marvel at the wonders he creates through body art! After the jump, check out some work from his latest show, “Tatoo & Taboo” at Sundaram Tagore gallery in Hong Kong.