Eerie Ink: Tattoos of Death and Decay
Tattoos, like all aspects of life, are influenced by death. It’s not hard to find tattoos of all styles featuring death: memorial pieces, skulls, grim reapers, skeleton hands. In a magical time where death positive culture, dark style, and witchcraft-inspired communities are ever present and increasingly accessible (thanks, internet!), there are more and more tattoo artists creatively experimenting with death-inspired ink. Here’s a list of some of our favorites.
Jean Choir is the founder of the tattoo parlor Sombre Tache in Marseille, France. Looking through their portfolio, your eye is drawn to tattoos of complex skeletons and humans being overcome and destroyed by bugs and animals. Jean Choir’s tattoos disturb and shock you in the most beautiful way. Follow them on IG or visit their shop’s Facebook page.
Rowan Aurora Iver
Rowan Aurora Iver is a tattoo artist out of North York, Toronto. If you browse Iver’s Instagram, you’ll find pieces featuring bones and skulls – animals and human – alike. Her portrayal of death is simple, filled with creativity and beautiful linework. Follow her on IG and keep an eye out for when she opens her books again (she’s currently transitioning between shops).
Megan Climaldi, who goes by wolfgore or Wolfgore Tattoos online, is a tattoo artist in Portland, Oregon. This Sailor Moon-inspired piece is a standout in their portfolio, where you’ll also find a tarot card tattoo featuring skeletons holding each other and kissing, among other fantastic tattoos. Climaldi uses their art to find a balance between strength, pain, beauty, and death. Follow their IG or book an appointment at their shop.
Maury Decay is a tattoo artist working out of Santo Cuervo Tattoo in London. Scrolling through his Instagram, you’ll find “DEATH” tattooed in bubble letters and fun flowers, cobwebs hanging from an elbow, and a grim reaper’s scythe dripping in bright watercolors instead of blood. Decay’s tattoos charmingly combine fun and lightheartedness with death, meaning we are big fans. Follow him on IG or visit his shop.
Miz Morelli is a Canadian tattoo artist at Cruz Studios in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Some of our favorites from her portfolio are a smiling kitty skeleton and a butterfly with a skull in its wings. Fine details, shading, and creativity make her creepy tattoos stand out. Follow her IG or visit her shop’s Facebook page.
Sierra Everly is a tattoo artist based in San Diego and Seattle. Everly has a distinctive take on death and nature, with Ouija board planchettes, tarot card and occult-inspired tattoos, and a tattoo attributed to a client’s profession as a mortician done in unique neo-traditional and blackwork styles. All of her tattoos are done with vibrant jewel-toned colors, blackwork, and perfect linework. Follow her on IG and email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment.
Wonhyung Kwon, also known as Monkey Bob, is a tattoo artist based in Sydney, Australia. He works out of The Darling Parlour Tattoo. Looking through his portfolio, you’ll find tattoos that portray unseen and unexpected parts of death: a blue whale skeleton, wilted flowers in a jaw bone vase, and deer horns with a knife and a rose inserted through a human skull. All of his tattoos are done in beautiful blackwork with impeccable details. Follow him on IG to see if he is touring near you, or check out his shop.
Ildo Oh is a tattoo artist based in Seoul, Korea. His Instagram is filled with magically eerie art. Our favorites include tattoos of a cat in a long robe holding a skull, and a cloaked figure with a skull as a face creating planets. Oh’s tattoos give off an unearthly and mystical feeling, like illustrations from an old mythology book. Follow his IG or check out his Facebook page.
Featured image via Ildo Oh.