Tattoo Mailbag: Current trends in tattoo art

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Current Tattoo Trends

Japanese traditional
Detailed, elaborate and vividly coloured scenes featuring warriors, waves, koi fish, geishas, dragons, cherry blossoms and Kanji characters (Japanese lettering) are the mainstay of this genre. Don’t worry, they’re a world away from the once-beloved Chinese symbols, speculated by many to be the tattoo artists’ joke at the expense of clueless punters, and all secretly reading ‘chicken fried rice’.

Sailor Jerry
Mermaids, ships, anchors, roses, swallows, pin-ups, flags and scrolls. Images are boldly outlined and almost cartoon-esque in their simplicity. This old-school style is called after legendary tattoo artist Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins, exposed to traditional Asian tattoo imagery while sailing with the US Navy. He made his name, and the style named after him, inking sailors on shore leave in Honolulu. And yes, the rum’s his too.

Realism/portraiture
This style has grown in popularity in recent years due to advancements in tattoo technology. Designs are usually exact copies of photographs and done in black and white – or a heavily detailed reproduction of a work of art.

Saturated Colour
Lush reds, deep greens, glossy yellows – tattoos have come along way from murky blue-green scribbles. Instead try butterflies, peacocks and lighthouses with colours you can almost dive into.

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