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Dave Kruseman


Todd Noble



Bert Krak


Oliver Peck






Bailey Hunter Robinson



Jason Clay Dunn


Matteo Pasqualin


Shige Iwasaki


Mike Devries





Dmitiry Samohin


Matt Jordan

Chris O’Donnell Nikko Hurtado

Henrik Grysbjerg Horikitsune 5

These three styles of tattoos are not easily mastered, but in the following pages I will present several artists who I believe have mastered, not only the art of tattooing, but have conquered a specific style of tattoo, and go on to become legends of that certain style of tattoo.



Traditional tattoos, Originally called Old School (or Old Skool) is defined by its use of bold, black outlines, and a limited color palette. The subject matter and imagery was usually limited as well, mostly pertaining to images that had to do with sailors, and americana/patriotic images. Today, however that has altered into what is called Neotraditional, which still uses bold, black outlines, but is not limited by a color palette, and the imagery does not specifically pertain to patriotic images or those of sailors. The imagery can be whatever the customer wants, whether it be a traditional style image, or imagery that is more modern.

Noble has been tattooing professionally for almost 19 years, dating back to his younger, more nomadic days living in Hawaii and Seattle. Frequently putting together drawings and selling them to tattoo shops, his first actual tattoo opportunity almost seems like it was fated.

Bert Krak Is A Ny-Based Artist And Tattooer, Working Out Of The WorldRenowned Smith Street Tattoo Parlour. He Was Born July 12, 1977 In Hollywood, Florida And Now Resides In Brooklyn, New York With His Family. Bert Started Tattooing And Painting Around 2000 And Has Become Known For Combining “Classic” Tattoo Iconography, With His Own Distinct Heavy-Line Styles And Color Palettes - So Well Known, That He Has Flown Around The World To Perform His Art. When Not Tattooing, He Is Painting With Watercolors And Liquid Acrylics, Taking His Imagery To A Much More Developed Stature.

Oliver Peck was born in Dallas, Texas. He is a tattoo artist and the owner of two tattoo shops. He is probably best known as a judge in the hit reality television series “Ink Master”. Peck started his career of drawing tattoos at the age of 19 and eventually established himself as one of the world’s best ‘old school’ American style tattoo artists. His profession has enabled him to earn good money and travel all over the globe to meet his clients. In 2008 Peck did 415 tattoos of the number 13 in a consecutive 24-hour time period, which led him to enter the Guinness Book of World Records.

Brooklyn based tattoo artist, Specializing in American traditional. Bailey's love of American folk art, and his Dixieland heritage comes through in his tattooing. Bailey also has a small line of Navajoinspired jewelry which can be found through various vendors.

Kruseman boasts 20 years in the tattoo industry and argues that knowing how to actually draw is what that elevates him above other artists. This studio owner apprenticed for two years before becoming a full-time artist focusing on the traditional style. Kruseman finds a rival in Duffy Fortner, his former apprentice, who comes from an entire family of tattoo artists. Although he believes Duffy has produced decent work to back up her cockiness, he has no doubt in his mind that she does not have what it takes to beat him in this competition.

Traditionally, Japanese tattoos began as a means of conveying societal status as well as serving as spiritual symbols that were often used as a sort of charm for protection as well as symbolizing devotion, not unlike modern religious tattoos. Over time, tattoos in Japanese culture developed as a form of punishment similar to what was seen in Rome where it was common practice to tattoo prisoners of war, criminals, and slaves as a means of making their status in society instantly recognizable. Eventually the practice faded and tattoos returned as a status symbol among the merchant class who were, interestingly enough, banned from flaunting their wealth. Following World War II, tattoos were outlawed by the Emperor of Japan in an effort to improve Japan’s image in the west. Tattoos in Japan then took on a criminal element, but this didn’t stop foreigners from being so intrigued as to seek out the skills of Japanese tattoo artists–a practice that helped keep Japanese style tattoos alive. The modern association between Japanese traditional tattoos and the criminal element is said to have led to the adoption of tattoos by the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia. This has also served to promote the “cool” aesthetic of Japanese traditional tattoos.

80's skateboarder and art kid who turned professional tattooer in 1993, during senior year of high school. Living and working predominantly in New York City. World traveled. Specializing in anything I can tattoo in my style.

Henrik Grysbjerg is a tattoo artist from Toulouse in France. Attracted by tattooing since his teens, Henrik decides to get involved seriously in 1995. At the time, the tattoo is marginal, the material is very difficult to obtain and the almost nonexistent learning. Henrik decided to manufacture its own equipment, and tries for the first time to intradermal art. Self-taught, he opened his first shop in 1997 in St Peter in Toulouse. To improve, he decided to explore new horizons, starting for the first time in Canada in 2004, it was the beginning of a long series of travel. In 2013 to devote himself entirely to his work and to work in a more personal and intimate, Henrik decides to open a private studio in the neighborhood of Esquirol, always on Toulouse. Then in 2016 in Cugnaux near Toulouse where he receives guests from all over France and Europe.

Alex "Kofuu" Reinke Horikitsune, the only apprentice of Horiyoshi III apart from his son Souryou Kazuyoshi and part of Horiyoshi III family, spoke exclusively to HeartbeatInk Tattoo Magazine about the path in tattooing, the “Shu Ha Ri” learning system, the highly importance of the design and the “limits” of tradition.

Jason Clay Dunn is a professional fine artist and tattooist and from a very young age he always had a need to create. After a long, painstaking traditional apprenticeship at the early age of 19, Dunn set out on a journey to carve his niche in the tattoo industry. Whether it be a work of art, or a business venture, he has found that the combination of both is what really inspires his passion for art, tattooing and life. Dunn has always been, and still is, truly amazed by seeing colors beneath the skin. Despite his life-long challenges with panic disorder and anxiety, Dunn has persevered to become a leading tattoo artist in the Neo-Asian styles.

Shige was born in 1970 in Hiroshima, Japan, and grew up in an artistic environment. He started tattooing in 1995, and has never done an apprenticeship, Shige is simply self-taught. In 2000 Shige and his wife Chisato opened their first studio in Yokahama, Yellow Blaze Tattoo, also called �Ouen� in Japanese, where Shige still works today.

The term portrait work does not always apply to people. Any tattoo that is photo realistic is considered as being portrait work. If you tattoo a soda can as realistic as possible then you have done a portrait tattoo. As time progresses, more and more clients are wanting photo realism tattoos. It use to be only the best could pull it off but know it’s a necessity of the industry. The problem with portrait work is that even the best artist in the world can only work with what they have. If you use a bad picture then you will have a bad tattoo. The picture needs to be clear and close enough to see the detail in the face or of the object. You can only tattoo what you see. If someone brings you a instant Polaroid, then they will have a tattoo of a Polaroid. Old and torn up pictures just will not work. The best to use is any picture taken from a professional photographer. Family portraits only work if you are tattooing the entire family. If you have to enlarge the picture to see the face then it’s no good. Several artist do portraits in color, they look nice when they are done but after a few years the color pigments blend together making the portrait blurry. I strongly recommend only doing portraits in black and grey. If you have ever seen the old black and white movies that they add color to later, then you know they don’t look natural. Most color portraits come out the same way.



Born in 1978, Ukrainian tattoo artist Dmitriy Samohin is among one of today’s top notch names in the industry. A tattoo artist by pure happenstance, Samohin was in the military when he developed a liking towards the art of tattooing after going through a tattoo magazine. After getting done with the army, Samohin studied tattooing and taught himself the art on his own. One of the most indemand men in the world of tattooing, Samohin is called upon to be a part of tattoo conventions, seminars, and workshops worldwide Working professionally for more than 10 years, Samohin learned his craft through studying the art as well as other artists’ creations. He says that further experience and continuous practice have made him the artist he is today, basing his excellence in his work on the fact that he creates tattoos on almost a daily basis. Considering he is said to be the most brilliant realistic tattoo artist of his age, all this is valuable advice for beginners.







Matt Jordan is a realistic tattoo artist from New Zealand; he is based in Auckland. Matt has been tattooing for several tattoo studios since he was 18: Blue Lotus Tattoo, InkGrave Tattoo in Christchurch and Vision Tattoo Nelson are some of them. Thanks to this long tattooing experience he has developed an amazing hand: his main focus is portrait, realistic and realism tattoo.







My name is Matteo Pasqualin and I started tattooing in 97. As many of whom which started in those years, I also approached to this art just for fun and curiosity, surely not to learn a profession. After so many years, after having trained in almost all styles, after going through all those ‘tendences of the moment’ that the ‘medias’ impose ever since, I took the decision to take care only of realistic style, especially black and grey. Even today, I am working on this line trying to discover new techniques and new subjects ,to grow more and more tattoo black&grey style, and make it more real.







Born and raised in Southern California's San Fernando Valley. I recieved my first tattoo when I was 16 years old. That event opened the window to a whole new world for me. I've always been into art, I've loved everything about it! I always had a fondness for the realism style and would explore tattoo magazines during my early years, amazed at the portraiture work done by some of the great black and grey artists. 







Nikko Hurtado was born in the San Fernado Valley in 1981. Son of a Mexican welder and a Hispanic homemaker, Nikko grew up in the high desert drawing cartoons and characters for fun. In 2002, after 3 years of hard labor, Nikko stopped into Art Junkies Tattoo Studio in Hesperia to see how Mike was doing. Mike had been tattooing for a while and offered Nikko an apprenticeship. The only experience Nikko had with tattoos was the gang or prison tattoos he had seen on friends and family. He didn’t even have a tattoo himself. Regardless, the next day Nikko picked up a machine and started tattooing soon after. After just a year of tattooing Nikko did a tattoo that would change his career forever – a Batman color portrait. This was his first color portrait that he ever attempted and when it was complete the client entered it into the Pomona Tattoo Portrait Contest and took home First Place.  It would be one of many awards he would collect over the years, but that portrait put him on the map. The image went viral in the tattoo community before there was even Facebook, Instagram, and social media. He was now known as the go-to artist for color portraits.










Traditional Bio: Todd Noble‘great_minds_ink_alike’_04_17_2014

Bailey Hunter Robinson jpg

Dave Kruseman

Japanese Bio:

Bert Krak

Oliver Peck images01/53/2cc69ab4e462d3ab8be07cb7992bc531/300x300.jpg originals/90/0c/54/900c544224a4a7de3e4d2e61e90e9f01.jpg 304_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz

Chris O’Donnell

Henrik Grysbjerg


Photorealism Bio:

Dmitiry Samohin

Matt Jordan png?w=600&h=602

Matteo Pasqualin

Mike Devries

Nikko Hurtado

Jason Clay Dunn

Shige Iwasaki



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