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Pooch: Tattooing Outside The Box (That I Have Built Around Myself)

Pooch: Tattooing Outside The Box (That I Have Built Around Myself)

pooch-profileBy Michael Pucciarelli
I have recently been trying to make the transition into doing more japanese and traditional tattoos, my biggest obstacle I have found was self-made. Being known for a specific style can be constrictive, but really most people just want an awesome tattoo, so with that in mind I have started to approach tattoos in a different way…

Now for me, making the transition to more traditional styles is not that difficult as I am not known for doing photo realism, this would be harder if I was, but I do get a lot of customers wanting tattoos like my paintings, which are more or less realistic, no outlines for one thing, but I have always done these as tattoos with outlines, usually a tight 5 or 7. In the case where I am not asked to duplicate or do a version of one of my paintings, I have been trying to go for a traditional style like doing wind-bars and clouds behind a day of the dead half-sleeve, it really works well and the mix of styles is visually appealing.

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I was asked to do two Day of the Dead skulls as an outer bicep from shoulder to elbow, but that was it, so I had free rein on the background. Another example is the Miami Dolphin ripping the head off the Jets mascot Firefighter Ed, now usually I recoil in horror at such a request, but I thought, well in japanese tattooing there are a lot of warriors fighting adversaries… so why not this?

So with a mix of japanese and american traditional in my head I started sketching it up using some references of the two combatants. I added blood water around the bottom of the piece which was spurting from the Jets mascot’s neck, and gave him a bug-eyed look of horror, a little nod to Grime. The wind-bar background allowed me to use black and grey so that I could use any color in the mascots, which have to be certain colors, no free rein on those buggers!

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My customer was super thrilled with the tattoo and I have since added a Miami Hurricanes Cane standing on an Asian rock to it, all the while doing the style that I wanted and having a blast. One last example is a devil head I was asked to do to add to a sleeve with roller coaster elements. I could pretty much have done any kind of style, but I opted for a very traditional profile devil head that I based on one from Spider Murphy’s Flash book by Theo Mindell, which by the way is an amazingly gorgeous book put out by Miki Vialetto. I chose this one to work from because it fit the area nicely mainly, but also because it had sort of an old Coney Island feel.

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My customer loved it. Anything that makes it easier to do any sort of tattoo that comes in your door is a valuable thing.

Pooch can be found at Altered State Tattoo in Lake Worth, FL.

One comment

  1. I have always been fascinated by tattoos, and even more, by tattoo artists. I loved reading about your designs and how you seem to have a gift for being able to fulfill both your customer’s wishes and your personal need for creativity. And though I’m far too big of a chicken (for various reasons like pain and regret) to get a tattoo, if I were to ever change my mind I might just have to come see you!