Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Meet Shige!

October 12th, 2009 by

Tattoo has come a long way in Japan within the past ten years.  Still in a relatively nascent state with regards to Japanese societal views on the art form, today a Japanese tattoo artist who’s just starting off has a much larger base of reference and information than someone like Yokohama based artist Shige ever did.

Shige began his love affair with tattoos almost completely by accident.  It all began with a different sort of love affair: Harley Davidson motorcycles.  Shige worked as a Harley mechanic and through interraction with the bikers, his interest in tattoos began to blossom.  According to Shige, this was around 1995 and tattooing had certainly not yet blown up in a big way throughout Japan.  Because tattooing still remained relatively covert in Japan at that time, Shige had no real starting point.  So, he did the best he could, buying equipment from abroad and studying any foreign tattoo magazines that he could get his hands on.  Around this time he also began tattooing friends in his home, after hours.

In June of 2000, Shige was able to start his very own tattoo studio, but it wasn’t until 2003 that Shige and his wife Chisato officially started Ouen, aka, Yellow Blaze Tattoo in Yokohama.  Oddly enough, Shige’s interest in Japanese style tattoo didn’t fully develop until he met Swiss tattoo artist Filip Leu in 2000. Through this influence, Shige began to take Japanese tattoo seriously, studying it and practicing it.

Today I can’t use any other word to describe Shige’s tattoo style other than this one: Insane.  Shige does some of the most amazing body suit work that I have ever seen a tattoo artist do.  I could sit here and write about it all day, and still I couldn’t do the calibre of his work justice.  You can take a look at Shige’s stuff by going here, and here.  The current issue of Total Tattoo magazine also has an interview with the man himself.

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