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Trash Polka


Good Morning Speakeasy Readers!


At last, Summer is here and Los Angeles can finally look forward to some sunny days.

Enjoy the nice weather and have a great weekend!


Today's topic is about a newer tattoo style called trash polka. Trash Polka is a relatively new style of tattooing that originated in Germany in 1998. It was developed by tattoo artists Simone Pfaff and Volko Merschky of Buena Vista Tattoo Club. The artists originally gave their work the name 'Realistic Trash Polka' because they combined realistic images (Realistic), with graphic, lettering and other artistic layers (Trash).


The style is characterized by a mix of bold, graphic elements, such as geometric shapes, typographical elements, and realistic images, such as portraits or animals. They are often composed using a monochromatic palette with occasional accents of red, and the backgrounds frequently feature random splatters, drips, and brush strokes.

Unlike traditional tattoo styles, Trash Polka tattoos are not based on predetermined designs but instead are typically customized for each individual client. The designs are dubbed as “confusingly beautiful” as the designs often express multiple ideas mixed into one tattoo and can be a montage of different elements. The juxtaposition, the mixing of bold and fine lines, dots, geometry, heavy color, and dramatic realism can tell a big story, encompassing all the facets of one’s life.

Trash Polka tattoos have gained a significant following around the world, with many artists offering their own interpretations of the style. For example, while a true trash polka tattoo uses bold contrasts between black and red ink, some tattoo artists will switch out the red for another color. The style has also expanded beyond tattoos into other art forms, such as graphic design and street art.


The term "Trash Polka" itself is said to originate from the fusion of two different words related to art: "trash," which represents the raw, chaotic elements of street art, and "Polka," which stands for the precise and structured aspects of graphic design.

The history of the Trash Polka tattoo style is relatively short, given its recent origin, and it is still being developed and expanded by tattoo artists around the world. However, it has taken a place of its own as an expressive, bold, and unique style that combines different elements of traditional and contemporary art forms. What I personally love about this style is that no two pieces are the same and each tattoo done in this style is truly unique.

Until next time my fellow apes,


Peter Hernandez

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