Inspired? Baffled?

Why wouldn’t you be, with the most astounding techniques and time put into this style of tattoo, it is basically a photo on the skin applied by ever-talented realism artists, who bring the true meaning to the saying patience is a virtue.

Realism tattoo - detailed woman eye and hair

What is Realism Tattoo?

Realism tattoo is a style that aims to replicate an image as realistically as possible on the skin. This style often involves using black and grey ink to create a photo-like image, with shading and highlights used to create depth and dimension.

Realism tattoos require a great deal of skill and patience from the artist, as they must capture even the smallest details of the image they are replicating. This can include the texture of the skin, the folds of clothing, and the reflection of light.

Black and Grey Realism Tattoo

One popular variation of realism tattoo is black and grey, which uses only black ink and varying shades of grey to create the image. This style is often used for portraits, landscapes, and other intricate designs that require a high level of detail.

Black and grey realism tattoos are often more subdued than their colour counterparts, but they can still have a powerful impact. They are a great choice for those who want a realistic tattoo that is more subtle and timeless than a colourful design.

If you are considering a black and grey realism tattoo, make sure to do your research and find a skilled tattoo artist who specializes in this style. With the right artist and design, you can have a stunning and meaningful piece of art that will last a lifetime.

History of Realism Tattoo

Realism derived from Chicano jail tattoos in California around the early 70s. Due to homemade machines (and other homemade tattoo equipment), guitar string tattoo needles offered extremely fine lines. Segregation within prisons meant Chicanos were kept together and all the tattoos were kept within their culture.

This meant the Catholicism imagery was at the forefront, with tattoos often seen in so many amazing chapels, cathedrals, Aztec stonework and Mexican war heroes now adorned on the skin of fellow inmates.

Freddy Negrete, a renowned Chicano tattooer, was released from jail in 1977 and went to work at ‘Good Time Charlies Tattoo land’ where he and the shop elevated this Chicano style to black and grey realism that captured the global eye, and pushed the up and coming international trend. There are so many different styles and formats of the application involved within the umbrella of realism. While some prefer classic black and grey, others push for highly saturated colours.

Realism Tattoo - Compass and world map


Do realism tattoos hurt more?

Realism tattoos do not necessarily hurt more than other styles of tattoos. The level of pain depends on several factors, including the size of the tattoo, the location on the body, and the individual’s pain tolerance.

However, since realism tattoos often require a high level of detail and multiple sessions to complete, they can be more time-consuming and uncomfortable than simpler designs. It is important to communicate with your tattoo artist about any discomfort you are experiencing during the process, so they can make adjustments as needed.

Ultimately, the pain of getting a tattoo is subjective and varies from person to person. It is recommended to prepare for the process by getting plenty of rest, eating a good meal beforehand, and avoiding alcohol or drugs that can thin the blood or cause pain sensitivity.

king with crown tattoo on a man's arm

How well does realism tattoo age?

Realism tattoos, like all tattoos, will fade over time. However, when done well and cared for properly, realism tattoos can age quite well and maintain their detail and clarity for many years.

One advantage of black and grey realism tattoos is that they are less prone to fading than colour tattoos. This is because black ink tends to hold up better over time and is less likely to fade or blur.

To ensure that your realism tattoo ages well, it is important to follow proper aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist. This may include keeping the tattoo clean and moisturized, avoiding excessive sun exposure and swimming, and avoiding picking or scratching at the tattoo during the healing process.

Additionally, choosing a skilled and experienced tattoo artist who specializes in realism tattoos can help ensure that your tattoo is done with high-quality ink and techniques that will stand the test of time.

Overall, while all tattoos will fade to some extent over time, with proper care and attention, realism tattoos can age well and continue to be a beautiful and meaningful piece of art for years to come.

How much do realism tattoos cost?

The cost of a realism tattoo in New Zealand can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the size and complexity of the design, the location on the body, and the experience and reputation of the tattoo artist.

Generally speaking, realism tattoos tend to be more expensive than simpler designs due to the amount of time and skill required to create a highly detailed and realistic image on the skin. However, the cost can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the specifics of the design and the artist’s pricing structure.

It is important to keep in mind that the cost of a tattoo should not be the only factor in choosing an artist. It is worth investing in a skilled and experienced tattoo artist who will provide you with a high-quality, long-lasting piece of art that you can be proud of.

How to find a good realism tattoo artist?

Finding a good realism tattoo artist can be a challenging task, but there are several steps you can take to ensure that you find a skilled and experienced artist who can bring your vision to life.

  1. Do your research: Look online for artists who specialize in realism tattoos and have a portfolio of high-quality work. Check out their social media pages, websites, and reviews to get a sense of their style and reputation.
  2. Ask for recommendations: If you know someone who has a realism tattoo that you admire, ask them for a recommendation on who did their tattoo and their experience with the artist.
  3. Visit local tattoo shops: Visit local tattoo shops and ask to see the portfolios of the artists who specialize in realism tattoos. This will give you an idea of their style and skill level.
  4. Schedule a consultation: Once you have narrowed down your list of potential artists, schedule a consultation with them to discuss your design and get a sense of their personality and communication style. This will help you determine if they are a good fit for you.
  5. Consider their experience and qualifications: Look for artists/tattoo studios that have several years of experience, are licensed and certified, and have a solid reputation in the industry. A good realism tattoo artist should also have knowledge of anatomy, shading, and colour theory.

Overall, finding a good realism tattoo artist requires some research and legwork, but investing the time and effort upfront can lead to a beautiful and long-lasting piece of art that you will cherish for years to come.

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