So you want to get a new tattoo? Right now you’re probably scouring Instagram trying to find that perfect artist with a one of a kind style to fit the ideas in your head for your next piece. Except maybe you are torn between two incredible tattooers and are not sure who to pick. Have you ever thought of letting more than one artist work on that upcoming piece? Maybe you should! Welcome to the world of tattoo collaborations.
We don’t typically see too many tattoo collaborations today. It’s not often that you find two artists and a willing canvas who all want to work together to bring a piece to life, but every now and then it happens. With tattoo collaborations we can see several different ways of approaching one tattoo. Sometimes artists who have similar styles work together to make a cohesive piece in which figuring out what artist did what part is damn near impossible when viewing the final result. In other collaborations artists work to bring out their signature styles in order to complement one another in the piece, creating a highly dynamic, yet still strangely cohesive, design.
Collaborations are very much like building tattoo mosaics or puzzles, as the artists need to lean on one another’s styles and aesthetics in order to make the collaboration fit. Sometimes an artist will draw a design and let the other artist carry out the shading, color, and depth. Other times the artists will bounce ideas back and forth on one another to create a concept totally unique to their original separate designs. And in rare cases, like on Ink Master, sometimes tattoo artists will even be tattooing a collaboration tattoo at the same time! That is, if the piece is big enough, of course.
Though rare, this trend in tattooing has slowly grown over the years. The tattoo studio and art gallery Into the Woods hosted the "2 of a Kind" tattoo collaboration event in mid-2014. This week long art experiment brought tattoo artists from all over the country with varying styles to bring different tattoos to life via multiple two person collaborations. This artist collective was filled with tattooers who specialized in everything from black and grey to color realism to New School in order to amp up the diversity of these collab pieces. Outside of these kind of events, we also see many industry respected tattoo artists who rock some great collaborations between their peers as purely artistic endeavors. Since many clients typically look to only one artist to bring about their piece, it’s not often that two artists are given the chance to work on one canvas together unless it’s through an inner industry move.
So as you continue to think about getting another tattoo, perhaps consider talking to some of those artists you can’t seem to choose between and let them know you’d be down for a possible collaboration if they are! And if they say "yes," then you are sure to walk away with some truly unique ink! For some amazing examples of tattoo collaborations, check out this coverage of the "2 of a Kind" project right here.