While traditional tattoos tend to depict more literal subject matter, like skulls, roses and anchors, modern tattoos often lean toward a more abstract or surreal aesthetic. Geometry is a common motif, from the shapes of ‘sacred geometry’ to mandalas to tessellations that wrap a mathematical pattern around the three-dimensional shape of a body. Osaka’s Nissaco Tattoo completed a really beautiful geometric back piece, and other artists commonly working in this style include Caco Menegaz, Paul Davies, LewsInk and Kenji Alucky.
Nature-Inspired Tattoos by Pony Reinhardt
Combining geometric elements with esoteric nature imagery and working almost exclusively in black ink, Portland, Oregon tattoo artist Pony Reinhardt has developed a distinctive style that tends to have her booked solid year-round. According to her, “her body of tattoo work is built on a framework of ritual placements and alchemical diagrams. Each piece is a synergy of elemental spell materials, drawing inspiration from the natural world.”
Etching Style Tattoos by Lisa Orth
Etching-style tattoos marry the old world style of woodcuts, etching and engraving a la Albrecht Dürer with contemporary blackwork tattooing methods. No one has mastered this particular look more effectively than Los Angeles-based artist Lisa Orth, whose work is practically synonymous with the term. Using primarily black ink, she works in a bold, sketchy and ultimately highly memorable style.
The digital world and an ancient art come together in glitch tattoos, another modern motif making a big splash in recent years. Warped and pixelated imagery distorts what would otherwise be a pretty straightforward and often highly traditional tattoo, adding a new layer of meaning. Artists working in this style include Pietro Sedda, Max Amos and OOZY.