*In this blog, we are going to share some of the most amazing black and gray tattoos submitted recently by artists on TAM’s Instagram. Share YOUR work by tagging us and using #tattooartistmagazine!
Black and gray is a style of tattoo that only uses black ink and water mixed to different shades. Using only a single needle, this style is said to have started in the early 1970s and later became popular in tattoo studios across the US. Since then, needle grouping of up to 45 individual pins are used to cover a larger area per strike. This true technological breakthrough was championed by master artist Filip Leu in the late 90’s and adopted by all major artists doing large scale work now.
Originally referred to as Joint Style or Jail House style, it is thought to have originated in prisons where the inmates had access to limited materials. Guitar strings were used as needles and pen ink or cigarette ashes were used to produce the tattoos. Even makeshift tattoo equipment was often found made with the motors of cassette players since tattooing is illegal in prison.
The technique used in making black and gray art is through diluting black ink with distilled water, in different measurements, to make a “wash” that gives a lighter shade. Gray is produce by mixing black with white ink which produces a brighter result as compared to water, but many consider this method more prone to fading and discoloration as the white particles of pigment age differently (and burn differently) than straight black ink particles.
1 – Antonio Macko
A marvelous piece of art tattooed by none other than Antonio Macko himself, the level of depth and detail you will find in this torso tat, is absolutely refreshing.
A splendid black and gray portrait tattooed to perfection. The subtle stylizations of the artist are noteworthy and effective.
An awesome tattoo of an eagle with a background of the sun and the lower area covered with two spreads of roses. Dennis’s work pushes the bounds of modern blackwork by calling back to its traditional roots. — We recently interviewed Dennis M Del Prete – learn more about his amazing work here.
This exquisite piece of black and gray art is the work of none other than Megan Hoodland. The level of detail and depth on this side torso tattoo is beautiful, and all that it represents is a sight to behold. Megan is one of the most respected female artists working today. Her skills rival those of her contemporaries, regardless of gender, and she’s also a full-time mom. 😉
This black and gray tattoo of a beautiful woman with hair braided with peacock feathers is nothing short of elegant. This tattoo is the work of Paul Aherne.
This black and gray torso of the great goddess in the Hindu culture “Kali”. The depiction of this tattoo is nothing short of extensively detailed. The tattoo stretches on to the arms, where it begins to merge with other elements. (*Here’s another short interview with the artist)
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