Dave’s love of Japanese tattoos starts all the way back to his pre-apprenticeship days. This awesome style is highly adaptable, working with both large, full-body designs and more modest pieces. The unique and exotic imagery within Japanese tattoos is full of symbolism, making it an art form rich in depth and meaning. Dave’s love, connection and experience with Japanese tattooing was improved through his travels to Japan, where he had the privilege of meeting and getting tattooed from esteemed tattoo masters. Additionally, he extended hospitality by hosting these masters when they visited his home.
Dave learned more of this tradition during his collaboration with Dustin Bones at Five Fathoms Tattoo in Vernon, BC. This small studio stood as a cornerstone of tattooing in the Okanagan for years, brining in clients from all over, including Kelowna, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and beyond.
Understanding Traditional Vs. Progressive Japanese Tattoos
Traditional Japanese tattoos, often known as “irezumi” or “horimono,” are rooted in centuries-old Japanese culture and folklore. These tattoos typically feature bold and iconic imagery such as dragons, koi fish, cherry blossoms, and deities like Hanya masks. They’re known for their use of bright colours, bold outlines, and precise line-work, often covering large areas of the body. Traditional Japanese tattoos carry a lot of symbolism and often tell a narrative. The creation of these tattoos tend to stick closely to time-honoured techniques and principles, and the designs tend to be highly stylized and symmetrical.
In comparison, progressive Japanese tattoos are a more contemporary evolution of this traditional art form. While they still draw inspiration from Japanese motifs and themes, they incorporate a broader range of styles and techniques. This allows for greater creativity and personalization. Progressive Japanese tattoos may include elements of realism, watercolour, and other modern tattoo styles. They take a more eclectic approach, blending traditional motifs with modern design elements. This fusion of tradition and modernity allows for a fresh and personalized take on Japanese tattooing, attracting a bigger range of personal tastes and preferences.
It’s important to know that the intricacies of these styles are not widely understood. So not just anyone should be doing Japanese style tattooing. Be sure to work with someone who has years of experience and a great portfolio.
Below are a few examples of Dave’s incredible Japanese tattoos in both the traditional and progressive styles