Dot by dot, line by line

Nic Smith from Songbird Tattoo in Devon, UK has sent in some interesting additions to the tribal and blackwork gallery.  The majority of the designs are crafted out of complex freehand dot and linework, including this South American inspired piece.

12 thoughts on “Dot by dot, line by line

  1. The design looks nice.. but the lines are very shoddy and not something i would be “proud” off to have.

  2. A design to show up every imperfection

    I’ve been wanting a mandala tattoo so was very keen to get a close up when I saw these come thru. The extra thick lines, the wonky spacing…. Native art and naive designs can look simply stunning, in this perfection to the enth degree world… and I like seeing (and getting) a bit of raw tattooing skill. This isn’t and the mistakes are too obvious, for me anyway.

    Look at Thomas Hooper to compare

  3. This is ok for freehand but it sorta looks like the tattoos my Tongan buddies would do on each other at school using a makeshift tattoo machine made out pens, batteries and a remote controlled car engine.

  4. Long-time reader, first comment. Couldn’t keep my tongue.

    I admit the first thing that jumped out at me were the imperfections. In an age where tattooing has been elevated to the status of high art, standards of quality have obviously been elevated as well. If you look at this from a modern perspective, comparing it to some of the truly amazing technicality and artistic finesse showcased by most of the work seen on BME, of course your first instinct is to label it shoddy work and move on.

    But there is a fine line between appreciating technically/professionally superior work, and snobbery born from a consistent diet of said work. We talk a lot (and with respect, mind you) about tattooing being rooted in primitive cultures around the world; who here believes that all primitive tattoos were symmetrical, with perfect lines and spacing?

    If you saw the above tattoo on a native you’d not criticize, and although most of us would not seek out a tattoo of this quality I still feel there is something to be said for imperfection. Granted, I assume the above wasn’t poked with a bone needle or anything…but I don’t know for sure that the artist or patron even drew it out ahead of time, and neither do you. Maybe this individual enjoys the imperfection of spontaneous creation.

    Some music is flawless, like a renowned classical pianist or violin virtuoso. Other music is raw, like using the neck of a beer bottle for a slide on your secondhand guitar, for no reason other than joy at making and hearing the sound. Just because I have preconceived notions of musicianship doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy or appreciate both in their own right, and just because there are amazing tattoos doesn’t mean this person should view his as inferior.

    Anyway, even if this IS just poor planning and execution, and everything I’ve said is subsequently rubbish, I still like it.

  5. “If you saw the above tattoo on a native you’d not criticize”

    That’s a little bit racist.

  6. Wow. This was one of the first tattoos I did, I’m very happy to say I’ve improved a whole lot since then!

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