Neo-traditional tattoos give an added twist to the traditional style of tattoo. Neo-traditional styles use heavier lines and bolder prints than American traditional tattoos, while incorporating illustrative elements within the designs.
Many of the artists who specialise in neo-traditional styles are inspired by the art nouveau and art deco periods, using bold colours to complete their designs.
Neo-traditional tattoo designs might include faces of women, floral prints and animal drawings. Often neo-traditional tattoos have extensive detail that is decorative while featuring a number of different motifs within the one design.
One element that sets neo-traditional tattoos apart from the rest is that they can be heavily influenced by lavish elements that are very vibrant and nested in between strong outlines. They are designed to have pops of colour and depth, and unlike traditional tattoos they can often look somewhat 3D in style.
Neo-traditional tattoos are often quite different from traditional American styles, although they do still adhere to some of the same technical principles of traditional tattooing, such as a clear composition with a black outline.
While art nouveau designs heavily influence neo-traditional tattoos, so too do other artistic periods featuring Japanese culture and artists such as French painter Claude Monet and Dutch legend Vincent Van Gogh.
While watercolour tattoos often use colour blending and shading, neo-traditional tattoos lend themselves to distinct colour palettes that feature bold segmentation to divide the various colours.
The impact of the art nouveau era
The art nouveau period occurred between 1890 and 1910 and yet it continues to influence many artists around the world in the present day, including tattooists specialising in neo-traditional designs.
Art nouveau designs were born out of Eastern art being seen in Europe for the first time, inspiring European artists to capitalise on Japanese lines and prints, creating a never-before-seen style of art.
Today, these art nouveau influences can be appreciated in many neo-traditional tattoo designs around the world, like tattoos featuring the prints of the decorative and theatrical posters designed by leading art nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha.
Art deco was the movement that followed art nouveau, and you can also see this style influenced in some neo-traditional tattoos.
Based on the riches of Victorian culture from the 1920s, art deco is truly a period of visual arts that reflects the prosperity and excess that was present at the time. Art deco designs often feature heavy lines, which can be reflected in the neo-traditional style of tattoo, as well as through this tattoo style’s bold colours and bright flair that often creates an exotic effect.
If you are looking for a tattoo that ‘jumps’ off the skin and makes a bold statement, then a neo-traditional tattoo design may be the style for you.
These are not for your typical wallflower! Neo-traditional tattoos are not made to blend into the background and it’s hard to wear one without receiving compliments about it because these types of designs are difficult to miss!
The style suits both men and women as well as those who want a design that is modern, dynamic and daring. Vintage flair can easily be incorporated, but with a bold and contemporary twist to make it truly neo-traditional in style.