Arm and calf tattoos have been popular for decades. Some choose these areas because you can show off or cover up your tattoos easily and some choose to tattoo the arms and calf areas because the pain is minimal and very manageable. There is a lot flesh and soft skin to work with on the extremities, and the artist can do his/her work without tattooing directly on thin skin that is over a bone, which can be very uncomfortable. Plus, over the years, your extremities are the slowest to age and change, so your tattoo remains consistent for decades. (Assuming you worked with a talented and qualified artist, of course).
Tattoo sleeves are essentially a collection of various designs or one long tattoo that completely covers most of the arm. Sleeve is a serious tattooing style that requires commitment for a lifetime. It begins at the shoulder and then runs down, depicting a centralized theme. Here are some fine examples that have been shared with us on Instagram by brilliant tattoo artists.
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All this tattoo requires is silent admiration. In art, faces and hands are traditionally very difficult to perfect. Notice her eyes follow you as you move from side to side and her hands are in perfect proportion to her wrists and body. While we can only speculate on the origins of this image and the meaning to the wearer, we can’t help but imagine this woman could be found in the dark allies of New Orleans or Caribbean. Truly a work of art that captures beauty, mystery and magic in one piece .
This tattoo of crashing waves and leaves falling in the autumn is the work of Slavas Tarlov. Slavas tattoos in traditional Japanese style. The Koi appears in this tattoo and is often used to symbolize strength and bravery. In fact, the Koi are said to swim up river and those that could get past the fierce current return as dragons. The Koi is also a symbol of wanting more and a desire to fight for your personal journey.
This tattoo is the work of Beau Brady. You can follow him on Instagram if you like the work. This tattoo has been placed at the back of the shin.
Dagger tattoos have many meanings. From the mystery of cloak and dagger, to a symbol of strength endured or sharpness of thought, the dagger is as unique as the individual wearing it. This dagger evokes an ancient feel, complete with a jeweled handle and gold guard. Maybe the reflection of the woman represents someone who created pain for the wearer. Or that image may have been chosen because its simply cool to look at.
Another fine example of Japanese Irezumi art, this tattoo is the work of Shige. As you can see, this tattoo encompasses the full length of a person’s arm. This is a complex design incorporates several traditional Japanese symbols. The combination of the Koi and Dragon symbolizes complete strength and guardianship. Dragons are also used to show generous, benevolent forces that use their strength to do good for mankind.
When it comes to arm and leg tattoos, there is one artist that surpasses all others with his dark designs; Robert Borbas. This tattoo above has been drawn on the full length of the legs by this truly talented artist that gets exactly what his clients are looking for. While we can only speculate on the meaning of the tattoo to the person wearing it, we can see some very distinct symbols in this intricate and detailed design that is rich with the occult. The empty eyes of the female, is universal for possessed or without self thought or under the power or influence of another. While the symbol on her forehead is a nod to many astrological gods and the upside down cross is typically used to mock traditional Christianity. The demon is rich with detail, from the festering textured forehead to the upward fangs and piercing tongue. There is no mistaking the darkness of this image. Notice the base of the tattoo includes a crow. The crow is a symbol of prophecy, mystical sacred laws and divination. Crows are often used to symbolize a story of hardship.
This particular piece of work is another one by Robert Borbas and is nothing short of brutal awesomeness. This is artist one you absolutely must follow on Instagram. There are thousands of variations of skulls and artists and enthusiasts make use of skull for a variety of reasons. To some, they are just cool to look at and almost always create a feeling of “bad ass” when you look at them. Skulls can be used to symbolize transition in life, death or even decay. This particular skull is very reminiscent of the Predator movie . . .extended upper front teeth and over-sized forehead. bad ass just goes with it.
This sweet tattoo of a dragon is the work of Jes Yen. Feast your eyes on the glorious detailing of this tattoo. While we have covered the symbolism of the dragon in Japanese tattoos, this particular one is interesting because of the eyes. They are looking dead at the viewer. One could interpret this as reflecting the meaning to those who are looking at it or the surprise of the dragon after his transformation from a Koi, as fork lore might have us believe. Whatever the personal meaning, the detail in the dragons mouth and scales of his body are bold, clear and give a sense of movement to the entire image.
This is one of the most exquisite forearm tattoos in our collection. There is something about this piece of work by Jess Yen that you can’t seem to put your finger on. This tattoo is particularly interesting use of the Koi and the way blue is used. Blue is very unique in tattooing and also in Japanese tattoos, from the blue in the flower to the light blue shading, this is a tattoo that carries great meaning and a testament to the creativity of the artist. The blue makes this tattoo look as if you are looking down at it from above a pond and just caught a glimpse of a Koi as he swims through the vegetation.
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