There are many tattoo artists rising up through the industry who are attempting to elevate the world of tattooing into the medium of fine art. By combining their talents with the technical limitations of tattooing they are beginning to create designs that were once thought impossible to produce on human skin.
A pioneer in this tattoing field is one of a kind artist Chris Dingwell, who has brought his extensive art training into the studio to ink some of the most spectacular fine art tattoos seen anywhere in the business. Specializing in painterly and photographic work, Chris’ portfolio is truly impressive and his designs have a uniqueness that is instantly recognizable as his own work.
Having been in the business for over 15 years, Chris has earned the nickname of ‘tattoodler’ and is well known for his humble and modest approach to his art. He began tattooing in 1994 after completing a Master’s Degree in Fine Art at the Ohio State University. A talented painter, drawer, and sculptor, Chris has his own unique style that sets his work apart from anything else seen in the tattoo industry. He admits that his background in fine arts was initially an obstacle to his career in tattooing and he had a lot of ‘unlearning’ to do. He now has his sights set on pushing the tattoo industry as far as it can go and “in as many directions at once”.
Chris brings a style of tattooing that is not often seen in the industry and his abstract designs turn each client into a living work of art. His circus freak themed sleeve looks as though it would be better suited to a canvas, but somehow he manages to recreate fine art designs on skin. The beautiful shading, color, and light used in this sleeve give the impression of brushwork, and it is mind-blowing to think he has achieved this with a needle.
Similarly his renaissance style depiction of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden would look at home hanging in a gallery, and the black and gray shading throughout the piece is the result of painstakingly careful work.
Like all talented artists, Chris enjoys a challenge and is constantly having to think beyond what the client initially wants and try to push them in a more experimental direction. He enjoys any kind of non-traditional tattoo and is able to add his own touch to an otherwise dull design. The full back piece featuring vintage wind-up toy birds that have escaped from their boxes is an example of Chris’ inventiveness. This beautiful design is a wonderful take on a popular theme and the colors used in the piece give a playful, childlike quality. Chris’ skill as an artist is evident in his use of light to show different textures in the design. The light reflecting from the birds shows that they are made from shiny hard material, and this attention to detail and the ability to reproduce it on skin is what makes Chris’ work so special.
Creating a tattoo that is good enough to be considered fine art is a problem that many different artists are struggling with. Trying to replicate the kind of detail and colors that are used on canvas and portraying this on human skin is a daunting challenge and one that requires a huge level of skill. The colorful design of a woman surrounded by seahorses and waves is good enough to be considered fine art by any standards and is beautifully detailed and presented. The intricate headdress of the woman is embedded with small sea creatures, gills, and shells all portrayed in vibrant turquoise, blue, gold and cerise colors that complement each other perfectly.
Chris is currently working out of ‘Sanctuary Tattoo’ in Portland, Maine and is available for bookings with anyone who would like to become one of his living works of art and an appointment can be requested through his website. He regularly attends conventions and gives seminars on tattooing techniques but due to his recently becoming a father, he is currently unable to travel. For those who are looking for something different and require a unique tattoo Chris is more than capable of providing it and be prepared to have your original vision tweaked and taken to new levels. There is however, one drawback to having his artwork inked onto your skin, dozens of passersby will constantly stop you to get a closer look at whatever stunning design Chris will create.