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Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Blackwork tattoos are a type of tattoo that is not for the faint of heart. These very specific and consuming tattoos are ones, typically of geometric patterns and shapes, that cover the skin with the purest of pure all black solid ink.  As an apprentice at Speakeasy Tattoo in Los Angeles I see black tattoos all the time, but very rarely do we see when a person wants a blackout tattoo.  Blackout tattoos are said to be inspired by neo-tribal tattoos and intended to be an evolution from ancient tribal markings that are sacred from the past. So, there are a couple of things you will want to think about before you run out get a solid black arm plate.

First of all, these tattoos HURT… It is a lengthy process that can take hours of serious pain and is definitely suggested for the experienced tattoo goer.  If you are someone who has ever experience the pain involved of getting a tattoo, then you know the difference between getting lined or shaded and understand the feeling that might be involved with blacking out a solid black shape on your torso. Those who get blackout tattoos are ones to be respected for both their strength and perseverance.

Next, you want to do a lot of research when finding an artist.  I feel like this is an obvious one and should go without saying, but you should always understand your artist style of work before you delve into permanent body art.  There are a number of artist out there that specialize in this method of art and you will want someone who knows the most about the kind of work you want done.  It is expected when you approach a tattoo studio that you have a vast knowledge of the artist style so you are not asking a blackout specialist to give you a watercolor style lily.

Blackwork tattoos are extreme and beautiful all in one.  They can be complex, symmetrical, and, tend to represent a more ornamental meaning rather than something of realism.  They are often used as a cover up for those who want to stick with ink in a bold way. A cover up tattoo that is an opaque shield, black as midnight, will definitely make a statement in more ways than one. This sort of tattoo is an alluring choice for those who are unafraid to standout and make their statement through their skin.

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” -Edgar Allan Poe-

Happy Healing,


Photo Credit:  Work by Piotr Szot

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