Redo, refresh, cut paste, undo, to the digital artist these are simply facts of the craft. Even those creating a painting or drawing have the chance to restart or walk away. However, for the tattoo artist these undo functions are not an option. The only method of tattoo creation is perfection, the idea of permanently marking another with your art is not something to be taken lightly.
The painstaking journey of being a tattoo artist is one that is arguably taken with far more gravitas in Japan than almost any other culture. While many tattoo styles have roots in the modern era the designs from Ichi Hatano come influenced from the history of the national mythos preserved on the skin of those who bare it. Stories of heroes, monsters and gods all come into play in this artist’s creations. More specifically, Ichi is inspired by the Edo period of Japanese art, Ukiyo-e. The word “Ukiyo” means “Floating world” and this style of art is instantly recognizable. Further, this style can be given credit for impacting a number of well-known western impressionists, such as Vincent Van Gogh.
The complexity of this artist work does not stop at the human body, recently he released a book of sumi ink painted dragons. The book was launched on Kickstarter and received full funding at a breakneck speed. The technique itself is called Suiboku-ga and is in essence the method of painting layers of black ink and water until a final image is produced. It could be looked at as the perfected use of negative space. The artform is one that has been used for centuries and to call Ichi a master of this technique would be an understatement to say the least.
With the introduction out of the way let us hear directly from the artist himself.
To own NFTs of Ichi Hatano artwork you can click this link https://mybae.io/profiles/IchiHatano
How did you get into art?
As a child I liked drawing. In 1998, when I was 20 years old I got an apprenticeship with a tattoo family. This was the start of my career in art.
What / who inspires you most?
My inspiration comes from Ukiyo-e. Traditional Japanese woodblock art from the 17th through 19th centuries.
How would you describe your style?
My style is mix of past and future. A blend of Ukiyo-e and modern aesthetics.
How did you find digital art?
As an artist I have embraced technology. Using digital tools has streamlined my work as a tattoo artist and also allowed me to produce traditional works in the digital field.
Do you have formal training?
No. My training started with the apprenticeship. I also do a lot of self-study and practice.
How long have you lived in Tokyo
It looks like you travelled around eg California, etc. Did you live in those places for a while? I have lived in Tokyo for 24 years. I also lived in London for 1 year in 2007. I go to California a couple of times every year (pre-covid) to practice my art.
Why inspired to become a tattoo artist/ painter/ Shodo artist?
A deep appreciation of traditional arts and a desire to spend my time producing art.