Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Meet Horiren!

May 3rd, 2010 by

Not that it matters whether there’s a male or female hand behind the tattoo machine at any given time, but it’s a fact that some of the greatest tattoo artists currently working in the tattoo universe are female.  Seeing a woman working as a tattoo artist is totally commonplace in various cities and countries around the world.  Japan however, is not one of those places.  Laden with a reputation for an outdated and all around negative attitude toward the tattooed and tattoo artist in general, checking out the work of a female tattoo artist in Japan is not nearly as easy as it is over here in the Americas.

So when I found out that there was an astoundingly good, female tattoo artist from Japan who still practiced the Japanese traditional tattooing of Tebori, I kind of rushed to see what exactly Horiren had to offer.  And…wow, I mean, just…wow.

Oddly enough, unlike most tattoo artists, Horiren made her way into the Japanese tattoo world by practice, study and of course, talent – and not by apprenticing, at any point.  She worked as an illustrator for many years before actually setting off to pursue work as a tattoo artist.  It was during a trip to Australia that she had her first tattoos done, and because she was paying to have what was basically tattoo flash done, she began to consider what it would be like if she designed her own tattoos.  Then, through a process that involved reading American Tattoo magazines, studying photos of Yakuza member’s tattoos in a particular Yakuza journal and of course, actually practicing on herself and friends, Horiren learned her art form.

For the first 8 years of her career as a tattoo artist, Horiren focused on doing small tattoos.  Five years ago, she changed things up a bit and began doing tremendous full back pieces.  Unsurprisingly, her skill level could well handle such a transition.  Though she works primarily in the Tebori style, sometimes Horiren will use a tattoo machine, but only if the person she is doing the tattoo on is short of time or if she had previously begun a tattoo with a tattoo machine.

To get an appointment with her for a tattoo, meet someone who knows her.

– Hey, that’s one more reason to visit Japan!

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