Art is one of the most perfect and sublime expressions of humanity. We tend to look at paintings and sculptures as the most important artistic disciplines, but the generally undervalued history of engravings is as old as time. From ancient engravings in stones and eggs to the arrival of paper to Italy during the fourteenth century, this was one of the most important mediums in history until the modern era, where new printing techniques replaced this complex art form.
Unlike the soft strokes the painter makes to create an extraordinary work, the engraver requires both delicacy, a good grip and strength to pierce the rough material. Here they don’t have the versatility of colors to create depth and perspective. Instead engravers only have the width of their gouges and the strength to pierce the canvas and create intricate and alluring images, where each line and stroke gives them an eye-catching perspective. In the same way, many tattoo artists who’ve become masters of traditional black designs make use of the ancient technique to give dimension to their works.
Daniel Teixeira, a Portuguese tattoo artist based in London and Barcelona, found in the engraving process a source of inspiration to create his dark and mysterious portraits. Resembling the style of Albrecht Dürer and Gustave Doré, Teixeira (who calls himself Daniel Kickflip on social media) mixes the esthetic with obscure themes and pop culture icons. In a very interesting merging of concepts, he uses some of the most iconic characters from television and film, especially those with a dark personality and essence, and endows them with his own unique style.
From demons, horned men and women, mythical creatures, to strange mutants, his tattoos are definitely one of a kind. Not only do they convey an intriguing and eerie vibe, but they also become timeless representations of humanity's deepest fears. Each line and shape adds a ghastly surreal atmosphere that reminds us of antique medieval and renaissance grimoires, those books thought to be magical artifacts to invoke creatures. In that way your skin can become the magical canvas where the engravings were stamped acquiring that mystical quality.
Are these tattoos an entrance to the realm of the dark beings? Perhaps not in a literal way, but their particular esthetic will definitely make you feel like one of these creatures that wanders between the land of the living and that ethereal and gloomy world of the dead.
If you want to see more of this artist’s work, take a look at his Instagram page: @daniel_kickflip_tattooer
If you consider yourself a creature of the night, take a look at these: