25. Takahiro Kitamura on Brian Kaneko
This is Brian Kaneko. This tattoo is of Oniwakamaru. Like a lot of traditional Japanese tattoos, the composition of this piece was very closely modeled after a couple of old woodblock prints, namely one by an artist, Hokkai. What really struck me in this print was his position on top of the fish. I really thought that it struck a nice balance between motion and stability, his arm thrusting forward with the knife, the leg really firmly planted on the fin. I was really attracted to that body position and wanted to use that as the centerpiece.
The fish being so horizontal obviously wouldn’t have fit on a back, so we swooped it up and tried to give the whole thing kind of a downward momentum, a real diagonal flow to the side. And in the original, the colors and patterns on his robes are a bit muted and soft. I wanted something a bit more striking, so I ended up using an old Kuniyoshi print of the same image as an inspiration for the color palate, a lot more pop and strength, and this is what we came up with.