Traditional Japanese Tattoo Artist Horisuzu

Traditional Japanese Tattoo Artist Horisuzu

[ ♪♪ ] I am Horisuzu. I’m a traditional Japanese
tattooer based here in Portland, Oregon. What I think is most unique
about the Japanese tattoo is the imagery, would be
the first thing. The motifs are things pulled
from Japanese culture. So dragons, tigers, heroes,
gods, demons. The second aspect of that
I think would be the amount of body
that it covers. Your body is meant to just
convey really one story. So you have one image,
central image, on your back, and then your arms are
kind of secondary images to that main story. Japanese full-body tattoo
was just so beautiful that when I saw it,
I was just taken aback, and that’s really what first
attracted me to it. I traveled to Japan,
got tattooed by my master, and I asked him to be
his apprentice. And after asking enough times,
he obviously saw something in me and thought that I might have
what it takes and then took me on
as an apprentice. My master is Ryugen Sensei
of Tokyo, Japan. He’s been tattooing
for a couple decades now. He was so giving with his time
and with his knowledge that he really sat down with me
and helped me to understand the cultural context
of the story and the hidden meaning
behind the story, the hero or, you know,
the mythology — understanding
what the story was. The green, and then it goes
a little bit on the back. My name is Joshua Even. I’m a dentist
in Portland, Oregon. We’ve recently completed the two sleeves that we have
been working on, and we’re going to be starting
probably later next year on my back piece. HORISUZU: So right now I’m just
recoloring this section. It’s kind of hard to see
that there’s just the faintest little loss
of black in there. The technique that I use
is tebori. It’s the technique of
traditional Japanese tattooing. We are manipulating by hand
the needles and putting the ink
into the skin that way, and so through the thrusting
motions and the fluttering motions, we can create the gradations
and the solid fields of color that the tattoo machines do, but obviously we’re doing it
by hand. All of my clients come usually
with a base idea. They have an idea of they want
this image or this hero. Those stories I have
to translate into the Japanese tattoo
iconography. The first thing I wanted to do
was to have the medical symbol of the snake around the rod
because I’m a dentist. So I wanted something that
reminded me of my profession and I wanted the symbology
of the skull, both for sort of the anatomical
representation of it — I’m very familiar with the head
and the teeth. That was kind of my thing. So Horisuzu designed
this piece to have that
as the central image. I added the peonies,
which always go with the snake, and then I also added
a willow leaf staff that has secondary meaning in that it was used in old Japan
to heal people. It was kind of like a talisman
for healing. So that really tied into what
he was thinking with originally. The imagery that I come up with
for my tattoo designs is really just part of
a longer lineage. My master, his master,
they’ve all sourced the same imagery
from Japanese culture. So my — most of my designs
are sourced from my master. He’s given me designs
and told me the stories, and that’s how I’ve gotten
that information. That’s how it’s been transmitted
through the generations. Usually right around
10 to 12 years to complete a full body suit. With all of my clients,
I have this bond, that we’ve spent so much time
together, and I’m such a part
of their life, and they become such a part
of my life, that that’s why the Japanese
tattoo I feel like has such an immense draw
to a lot of people is because it is a long-term
commitment. It does take a long time
to complete. But that journey is just
as important as the end result.

7 thoughts on “Traditional Japanese Tattoo Artist Horisuzu

  1. I am currently getting tattooed by Horisuzu and it has been the best tattoo experience I have ever had. Every time I have gone to a tattoo session at other places I always get nervous. But when I go here it's totally different. I always feel more relaxed. I couldn't ask for a better piece and I can't wait for him to return from his trip to Japan so I can continue with some other ideas.

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