The Lord of the Rings, written by J.R.R Tolkien is one of (if not the) most iconic fantasy stories ever written. The story was written as a sequel to another novel of his, The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings was written in stages between 1937 and 1949.
Tolkien fought in WW1, and this was extremely influential in his shaping of Middle Earth. As an example, WW1 was fought not by heroes, but by civilians. This reflects the hobbits who are quite literally the “little people”, who then step up to fight a war that they had not asked to be a part of.
The films were directed by Peter Jackson, starting with The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001. They were filmed back to back on location in New Zealand, making for fantastic landscapes and scenery.
Some of the most popular characters include Gandalf, Frodo, Gimli, Legolas, Gollum (Smeagol), Sam, Aragorn, Elrond, Saruman, Witch king, and Sauron. Fantastic creatures include the ents, the balrog, and the nazgul. Popular items include the swords sting, and the shards of Narsil, as well as the Witch King’s flail, and quaint hobbit holes. Of course we also can’t forget the ring itself, which makes a stellar tattoo, especially when paired with a portrait.
Lord of the Rings tattoos are often done in a photo realistic or hyper realistic style, as well as black and grey, dotwork, linework, American traditional, and neo traditional.
Frida Kahlo was a painter born in Mexico in 1907. She mainly painted self portraits, but many were heavily stylized, and some based on current pop culture.
Her art explored questions of gender, identity, class, race, and postcolonialism in Mexican society.
Frida’s art has been called surrealist, and magic realist. Her paintings are praised today by feminists for their depictions of the female experience and form.
Frida became an artist during recovery after she was injured in an accident when she was eighteen.
She became interested in politics in 1927, and joined the Mexican Communist Party where she met her husband. The two divorced in 1939 but did re marry.
Frida traveled Mexico and the United States, and was given a solo exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York in 1938, which was a massive success. This was quickly followed by another exhibition in Paris the following year.
Frida had her first solo exhibition in Mexico in 1953.
She died the following year at the age of 47 due to bronchopneumonia.
Though she was relatively well known in certain circles during her lifetime, her work wasn’t appreciated the way it is now until the 1990’s, when her paintings became icons for feminists, Chicanos, and the LGBTQ community.
Spirited Away is Hayao Miyazaki’s most popular film to date. It is an Academy Award winner, and Japan’s highest grossing film of all time. It came out in 2001 and is still one of the most popular Japanese films out there.
The film was created without a script. The artwork came first, and it was drawn, directed, and written by Miyazaki himself.
The lead character, Chihiro, was actually based on one of Miyazaki’s friends’ daughters. She was supposed to be a relatable character and as average as possible. This was to show that ordinary people, particularly young women, could be heroes too.
A common occurrence in Miyazaki films are the quiet scenes of inaction. These are often some of the most beautiful scenes in his films. In Spirited Away, these scenes include driving, various nature scenes, and characters staring off into the distance.
Spirited Away has many memorable characters that make for fantastic tattoos. Some of the most popular characters for tattoos are no face, Chihiro, Haku, Yubaba, and the cute little soot sprites!
These tattoos are often done in blackwork, neo traditional, dotwork, and watercolor.
Baphomet today is regarded as a Satanic figure, but for a long time Baphomet was actually a word for the prophet Mohammed in Islam, and worshipping a Muslim god or prophet was seen as idolatry. The Knights of Templar were accused of worshipping Baphomet the false idol in Medieval France, and were tortured under King Philip.
Over the next 500 years, Baphomet changed from Mohammed the prophet, to a hermaphroditic stone figure borrowed from Egypt or the Gnostic Christian Ophites. This was after both scholars and mystics studied the Knights of Templar, writing that the Knights brought back ancient magical knowledge from the middle East and North Africa. The idol in question was called Baphomet in 1818, and were most likely just misidentified artifacts from other cultures and religions.
But the final Baphomet that we picture today was created in 1854 by occultist Eliphas Levi for his book “Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie” (“Dogmas and Rituals of High Magic“). Levi describes Baphomet in detail in his book.”The goat on the frontispiece carries the sign of the pentagram on the forehead, with one point at the top, a symbol of light, his two hands forming the sign of hermetism, the one pointing up to the white moon of Chesed, the other pointing down to the black one of Geburah. This sign expresses the perfect harmony of mercy with justice. His one arm is female, the other male like the ones of the androgyn of Khunrath, the attributes of which we had to unite with those of our goat because he is one and the same symbol. The flame of intelligence shining between his horns is the magic light of the universal balance, the image of the soul elevated above matter, as the flame, whilst being tied to matter, shines above it. The beast’s head expresses the horror of the sinner, whose materially acting, solely responsible part has to bear the punishment exclusively; because the soul is insensitive according to its nature and can only suffer when it materializes. The rod standing instead of genitals symbolizes eternal life, the body covered with scales the water, the semi-circle above it the atmosphere, the feathers following above the volatile. Humanity is represented by the two breasts and the androgyn arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences.”
As a tattoo, people often get the full bodied Baphomet, or a goats head, as goats are often also related to Satanism as well as witchcraft and paganism. Full bodied goats and goat heads are also popular in part thanks to the film The Witch, and the Satanic goat named Black philip. Generally these tattoos are done in blackwork or black and grey but also realism, neo traditional, and American traditional.
“‘IT” is the 1986 novel by horror genius, Stephen King. The book takes place between two time periods, and follows the experiences of seven children, as well as later when they are adults. Pennywise is actually a demon shapeshifter, who usually takes the form of a clown in order to lure children.
The story was made into a popular mini series in 1990, starring Tim Curry as the terrifying Pennywise the clown. The mini series also follows these seven children, with a large focus on their lives 30 years later as they try to protect their town. Many people who are coulrophobic (afraid of clowns) attribute this fear to Tim Curry’s brilliant portrayal of the murderous demon clown.
Now (2017), IT has been re made into a feature length film, this time starring Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise. The new version of Pennywise is much more overtly frightening, which some people like, and some people don’t. This re make is slotted to have the best opening day ever for an R rated horror movie, and has made the most money on an opening weekend of any other horror movie. This film has had great advertising in the months leading up to its release, and also stars Finn Wolfhard, one of the very popular actors from Netflix’s “Stranger Things”.
As a tattoo, Pennywise is by far the most popular character to be tattooed. Tim Curry has been tattooed on people for a long time, as the mini series is a such a popular cult classic. Even though the new movie has only been out a short time currently, Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise is quickly being tattooed for fans all around the world. Along with Pennywise, fans also get his red balloon, a toy paper boat, and the phrase “we all float down here”.
These tattoos are mostly done in portrait/realism styles, along with black and grey, and neo traditional.
Anubis is the ancient Egyptian god/guardian of the dead. The name Anubis actually comes from the Greek, but the earliest Egyptian names for him include Anpu, or Inpu. Both have the same root word which means “royal child”, and “inp” which means “to decay”.
He is generally depicted as a black, jackal-dog-man hybrid, with the body of a man and head of a jackal/dog. The colour black was chosen for its symbolism of both decaying bodies, and the soil along the Nile river.
Anubis is first seen as the son of Ra and Hesat, before he is brought into the story of Osiris, and said to be his son.
Anubis is the earliest god depicted on tomb walls, usually presiding over the mummification process, or weighing of the soul. This is the process in which a persons soul is weighed against the feather of truth.
Anubis is both judge and guide of the dead. Making him an authoritative figure, as well as a protector. This makes him one of the most important gods in Egyptian history.
Later in history he was partially adopted into Greek mythology, associating him with Hermes.
As a tattoo, Anubis is often done in blackwork, black and grey, neo traditional, water colour, and realism styles.
Nissaco is a tattoo artist based in Shinsaibashi Osaka at an unnamed private studio that goes by the name room_23_26 on Instagram.
Nissaco does mainly large scale pieces such as full sleeves, back pieces, and even body suits. His style is black geometrical work and it is extremely detailed.
His work is hard sought after with visitors going to see him from all around the world. Along with having clients from around the world, he also travels, going to various tattoo conventions. Most recent he will be at the 13th London Tattoo convention in September 2017.
Along with being geometrical in design, Nissaco’s work also often features classic Japanese elements such as dragons, waves, flowers, snakes, koi fish, and hannya masks. These pieces are almost entirely black, but occasionally feature a small amount of red to make them really pop.
Nissaco is a must see artist in Osaka, Japan, but book well in advance as his books fill up fast!