42. Brian Kaneko
This is Brian Kaneko. This piece is a tennin, or tennyo – its sort-of a Japanese Buddhist angel, or celestial spirit. In this depiction she’s wearing a hagoromo – which is a feathered robe. It’s a very famous Noh play, as well. This situation was unique when the client approached me, in that she knew she wanted her whole back tattooed, she had a cover-up between her shoulders that she wanted to accomplish, but beyond that, she wasn’t exactly sure what type of image she was interested in. So I asked her to write me a list of thoughts, just abstract shapes, colors, feelings, things that she associated with herself.
She brought me back a list of – I believe it said stars, clouds, dance, female energy, flight, wings, spirals, vajras – and this was the first thing that popped into my head. And we were very lucky in that we were really able to capture so many of the different abstract thoughts that she had into a very cohesive image that has a lot of historical provenance in Japanese culture and tattooing. And I feel that we were both very, very happy with the result, and it worked out in a really unique and good way.