Shouldercap tattoo in Samoan Maori patterns


I have been quite busy the last few months with a lot of different projects, with little time to write posts on my blog.
But to show you some new projects I've been working on; here's a new tattoo for my shoulder galleries. It's a mixed design with Maori elements and Samoan pattern. The images below show the design process in different steps. First I make a basic outline for the shoulder as a template. Then I use my pencil to sketch some flowing koru shapes. Normally I do the whole piece with pencil first and start tracing it when I'm finished.
Today I was a bit impatient, and decided to trace parts of the tribal shapes. You see some Polynesian turtle patterns and Samoan spearheads and stylized fish.

Here you see half of the design traced with a black felt tip marker:

And a few pictures of the finished shoulder tattoo design

I also made a youtube movie of this Shoulder tattoo 156:

The tattoo is available for purchase on my website here.

Tomorrow I will be back with another design process!

Regards, Mark

Bling gone Mad: The World's Weirdest Jewelry

Fine jewelry is made from precious metals and stones and is worn as a way to show off a person's beauty and status. Costume jewelry can be made from a variety of materials such as paste, plastic, glass and non-precious metals. Over the past few decades, jewelry designers have been expanding their horizons by creating jewelry pieces that use bizarre and creepy materials.

Bling that Bites: Human Teeth Jewelry
Ever wondered what the tooth fairy does with all those teeth? Polly van der Glas creates jewelry using real human teeth, positioning the teeth in such a way that they seem to be set in the metal the same way they had once been set in gums, in someone's mouth.

Above: Human teeth make an unusual addition to body jewelry. [source]

Roadkill Rings are a Creative use of Crushed Critters
April Hale uses road kill as a material for her creepy creations. After sketching the dead animals, Hale skins and cleans the bodies and then creates jewelry out of the fur. Each piece of jewelry is designed to best show off the color and texture of the roadkill's fur.

Above: April Hale shows off her furry creations. The rings are made from the skins of animals killed in road accidents. [source]

Hair-Raising Jewelry
Kerry Howley uses human hair to create patterned necklaces. Instead of creating individual loops to create a chain, Howley has instead designed lace-like human hair jewelry. The jewelry range is called attraction/aversion. The artist claims that she wanted to make people feel both attraction and aversion simultaneously, which is why she has used discarded human hair in a decorative manner.

Above: One of Kerry Howley's human hair jewelry creations. [source]

Decorated Maquech Beetles are Living Jewelry
Some Mexican jewelry designers are continuing the tradition of decorating maquech beetles with precious metals and gems. The beetles are then worn as a living brooch, tethered to a person's clothing with a short leash that is also made of a precious metal such as gold or silver.

Above: A maquech beetle decorated with gold and precious stones. The beetles are very docile, making them ideal subjects for living jewelry. [source]

Lending a Hand: the Barbie Bracelet
Margaux Lange creates jewelry out of dolls, namely Barbie dolls. She hacks the dolls into bits, and then re-uses the parts for her creations. Hands, mouths, eyes, even the body parts find a place in Lange's jewelry creations.

Above: A Margaux Lange creation that uses several Barbie hands for decoration. [source]

A Squeaky Taxidermy Pendant
Taxidermy jewelry is becoming more and more popular. Whether the creatures used are insects, sea animals, mammals or birds, taxidermy jewelry is fascinatingly macabre. The eyes of taxidermy creatures are generally replaced with glass, but for taxidermy jewerly, the eyes can also be replaced with semi-precious stones or gems.

Above: This mouse head taxidermy pendant is completed with black decorations that highlight the white fur of the dead mouse. [source]

Read More on Art-Sci:

Antique Lolcat Photographs make Kitteh Historeh
Blooming Bling! Jewelry made with Real Flowers
Fan Art Character Hybrids
Funny Photoshop Animals are Almost Human
Hundreds of Mummies Discovered in Mexican Graves
Trollface Gets Immortalized in Art

Banksy Tattoos Combine Graffiti with Body Art

Banksy is a British artist who is infamous for his striking graffiti artworks. His graffiti often has a deeper meaning, expressing Banksy's socio-political views in a powerfully public medium; street art. Banksy graffiti has become so popular that it is now a popular subject in tattoo designs.

Banksy's Girl with Butterflies Tattoo
One of Banksy's most popular graffiti art works is the image of a young girl in a dress holding a gun to her head. A swarm of butterflies is scattered across the design as though they have exploded from the girl's head. Banksy uses stencils to create his street art, which gives his images clarity and a strong silhouette. These design aspects translate well into tattoo designs; giving the tattoo an instant appeal.

Above: The red butterflies stand in stark contrast to the solid black areas used to create the girl. Like all of Banksy's graffiti designs, the girl blowing butterflies combines aspects of human nature such as hope, violence, beauty and death. [source]

Banksy's Girl with a Heart Balloon
Banksy often carries a theme through a series of images, expressing the same idea in a number of ways. Like Banksy's girl with butterflies graffiti piece, his girl with a heart balloon design incorporates aspects of humanity such as innocence, hope and loss.

Above: Another of Banksy's graffiti art works that uses black and red as the color scheme. The simplicity of the design and the innocent nature of the subject make Banksy's girl with a heart balloon a popular graffiti tattoo design choice. [source]

Banksy's Man throwing Flowers Tattoo
This Banksy graffiti piece of a man throwing flowers has become an internationally renowned art work. The stencilled graffiti shows a man with a scarf covering his mouth, poised to throw a bunch of flowers. Exposure to news networks means that the brain expects a man in this pose to be holding an object of violence such as a petrol bomb. Instead, Banksy has chosen to have the man throw a bunch of flowers - an object that is generally associated with peace and beauty.

Above: Banksy's powerful graffiti art work makes an equally powerful statement when tattooed onto skin. The large area of solid black ink adds drama to the graffiti tattoo while balancing out the detailed delicacy of the flowers. [source]

Tattoo of Banksy's Rat Painting a Heart
Rats are a recurring theme in Banksy's graffiti art. While most people view rats with disgust, Banksy has chosen to humanize rats by giving them human characteristics. In his popular graffiti piece of a rat painting a heart, Banksy has personified the rat by putting it in a human situation (showing it wielding a paintbrush), and insinuating that the rat has human emotions such as hope and yearning (expressed by the use of a heart as the subject matter of the rat's painting).

Above: The dark area on top of the rat's head is reminiscent of a beret, a hat that has often been worn by French bohemian artists. Whether this was intentional or not, the effect remains the same; adding yet more humanity to a creature that is often reviled by humans. [source]

Graffiti Tattoo of Banksy's Jesus Christ Christmas Shopping
Banksy's graffiti art works often comment on social, political or religious issues. By portraying Jesus Christ in the crucifixion pose holding shopping bags filled with Christmas presents, Banksy has highlighted the disassociation between religion and religious practices.

Above: Banksy's designs often seem both well thought out and spontaneous in their construction. In his graffiti art work of Jesus Christ Christmas shopping, the degradation of religion through materialism is expressed in the way that the design appears to be melting. This may have been a spontaneous addition to the design to drive the message home. [source]

With their strong lines and powerful meanings, Banksy's graffiti art works translate easily into tattoos designs. Banksy has done more than any other modern artist to inspire curiosity and criticism in the younger generation, and is the first graffiti artist to have won such international acclaim.

Antique Lolcats Photographs make Kitteh Historeh

The word 'lolcat' is created from the abbreviation 'lol' and 'cat', and is used as a label for any funny photograph of a cat. Often the photo is captioned with 'lolspeak', a misspelled language that was formed during the rise in popularity of lolcat pictures.

A Kitteh Historeh of lolcats
In the 1870s a British photographer called Harry Pointer created a series of photographs of cats. To add to the humor of the cat pictures Pointer would often add a funny caption, and thus the first lolcat pictures were born. Soon other photographers were using cats and other animals as subjects in photographs, often dressing the animals in human clothing and personifying them by posing them in human situations. Harry Whittier Frees is another notable antique lolcat photographer who created dozens of animal pictures that were a parody of human life.

Above: Antique lolcat photograph by Harry Pointer, with the caption "Bring up the dinner Betsy" [source]

Above: An antique lolcat postcard from 1905. The photograph was taken by Harry Whittier Frees, who added the caption "What's delaying my dinner?" In modern lolspeak, the caption would probably be along the lines of the classic; "I can has cheezburger?" [source]

Postcards of pets in costumes with captions were a novel concept in the early 20th century and became a popular way to communicate with loved ones who lived far away, as postcards included a picture and were cheaper to send than letters. Often the lolcat postcards were sent in place of birthday cards, to the delight of the children who received them. Even a century ago, lolcats were a popular form of humor.

Makin da Kittehs seem Hooman
Anthropomorphism is the act of giving animals or objects human characteristics and personalities. Harry Whittier Frees was a master of anthropomorphism who didn't just pose his animal subjects in human situations, but waited for a seemingly human expression to pass across the animals' faces before he took a photograph. Often the facial expressions were ones of resignation or exhaustion as it must have been tiring for the animals to sit for the camera in uncomfortable positions for what could be hours. 

Above: A Frees photograph of a feline teacher and her pupils. Lolspeak hadn't yet been invented, so antique lolcat photographs often implied that cats were as intelligent as humans. If this were a modern lolcat picture, the alphabet would probably be jumbled and the title of the teachers book would be something along the lines of "spalling book". [source]

Above: Another of Harry Whittier Frees's antique lolcat pictures. Part of the appeal of Frees's images was the fact that props had to be made to size. At the time doll collecting was becoming a popular hobby which meant the doll-like effect of these antique lolcat pictures was well-received by the public.

Lolcats as an Antique Art Form
Before the art of photography was created, humorous pictures were either painted or illustrated. A notable cat illustrator of the late 19th century was Louis Wain. Wain's drawings of cats in human situations captured the imaginations of the people at the time and were published in newspapers as a form of entertainment. 

Above: Like the lolcat photographers of the time, Wain chose to pose his feline subjects in human situations, personifying them with human emotions such as humor, frustration and surprise. [source]

Above: Louis Wain's cat characters were often cartoonish in nature, sporting caricature facial expressions that made them seem more human. [source]

Although websites like and are modern inventions, the art of funny cat pictures has existed for over a century. Over time lolcats have been given their own language and their own attitude toward life.