- Posted by Carl Hallowell
- On December 29, 2017
Brad wears the tattoo of the month this time around; a Japanese half sleeve tattoo that depicts a single Peony and its bud blowing in the wind and being tossed about by a wave.
The Peony is one of the main flowers used in the Japanese tattoo, also known as Irezumi, or Horimono. The Peony is a springtime flower and therefore represents that beautiful time of year.
And here is Brad, a young man in the springtime of his life. Sometimes tattoos are decided this way. Sometimes, on an old customer, I will use an autumn flower. It all really depends on the customer. I did a watercolor painting of autumn flowers for my dear grandparents, long ago, in the good old days, when they were still around. Would that they could’ve lived forever. But then there wouldn’t be any autumn, would there? Or any spring.
The Beauty of the Seasons Through Japanese Tattoo
This coming and going of life is at the core of the Japanese tattoo. The reality of nature; facing it head-on, becoming one with it. The blood of the samurai is said to have given the Peony it’s color. It is not a matter of liking it or not, it is a matter of facing death with dignity and pride. This is an idea that all of us aspire to, but it is truly embodied in the Japanese culture. Look no further than the strange and powerful act of seppuku.
The beauty of life lies in the breath. The breathing of the flower as it flutters in the breeze. The breathing of the waves, crashing against the rocks. The breathing of the wind, the clouds shuffling in the sky. The void of Zen. The world of Han Shan, Japan’s celebrated poet, lost on the mountain.
The Breath of Life Through Tattoo
The Japanese tattoo is like this. It aspires to breathe, it wants to show us the way toward the natural world. The coexistence of the elements, the strength, and beauty, the reality of nature.
Working with this underlying theme gives me great satisfaction and pleasure, possibly it leads myself and the wearer down the path towards enlightenment, far away. I grind the Sumi the age-old way, I grind the ink stick against the stone to produce the grey you see here, this is distinctly Japanese, in approach and appearance.
There is no easy way to achieve our lofty goals. Hard work only, will provide the victory we seek. This tattoo was accomplished like that. Brad came down to my studio room at Heart and Hand one Saturday for his appointment. He sat there for his tattoo, a tradition in its own right, and yet, were we not transported to the east, Nippon, the land of clouds.
We worked and worked the Sumi tattoo, trying once again to produce one of the best tattoos in Dallas, hour after hour, a marathon first session got Brad the outline and all the Japanese background shading completed in a five-hour session.
In another couple of weeks, he was back in Deep Ellum again, getting an Elm Street Tattoo from our private tattoo studio that is just a stone’s throw away from the street shop.
The second session went by quickly, passing like a dream of Han Shan up on the snowy mountain. Could a haiku sum it up? Would a Taoist tattoo artist even bother? What about a Shinto tattoo artist? You tell me.
Dallas Tattoo Artist Performs Traditional Art from the East and West
If you are looking for a traditional Japanese tattoo or American traditional tattoo, look no further.
Get in touch with me and schedule a consultation where we can discuss your desires and ideas for your next work of art.