Crez interviews Horizakura

I’ve met Horizakura more then 10 years ago while I was in New York. We had a great night out talking about Japan, tattoos and cuisine… He is a very humble man, with a great talent, his tattoos are strongly influenced by his master Horitoshi1 – one of the most renowned Tattooer’s in Japan. Horizakura developed a very personal approach to the Horitoshi’s style, his style has influenced a big part of New York japanese tattooing scene. Horizakura lives and operates in New York, in the Lower East Side.

In a time where “experts” are telling us what’s wrong or right about everything, the voice of a craftman is needed to keep in touch with real life.

When and how did you get started in tattooing?
I started my apprenticeship with Horitoshi 1st in 1997, after being introduced by a friend.

How long did it take to get the first proper results?
Looking back, it takes about 10 years to really understand tattooing.

Do you consider painting a part of your learning process?
Drawing and painting are both important for tattooing.

HORIZAKURA, Traditional Japanese Tebori Tattoos, Lower East Side, New York
HORIZAKURA, Traditional Japanese Tebori Tattoos, Lower East Side, New York

Were you involved in any subculture before you started tattooing?
I grew up in Japan and was very much into 1950’s American rock and roll.

If you have to pick thre tattoo artists that inspire your work who would you mention and why?
Three artists that are most influential are Horitoshi 1st, Horitaku of Horitoshi 1st Family, and Horitoku 1st.

How has this business evolved in your country since you started?
I have been in the US since 2003, but I hear the number of clientele for irezumi and tattooing in Japan is decreasing.

Machines (rotary or coil),Tebori (hand tools) or both? What’s your choice? Why?
I outline with machine and do all shading with tebori. Tebori is the traditional method of tattooing in Japan that requires a certain touch and force. Much of the tebori shading is done with sumi which has a particular look and strength that I like.

HORIZAKURA, Traditional Japanese Tebori Tattoos, Lower East Side, New York
HORIZAKURA, Traditional Japanese Tebori Tattoos, Lower East Side, New York

Can you list a top five of your favorite visual Artists of all eras? What is attractive of their work in your opinion?
I like the artwork of Hokusai, Kyosai, and Munakata Shikō. Some of my favorite works are Buddhist and Shintou artworks you find at historic temples and shrines, even though I do not know who actually made each and every piece.


How do you feel about the “ban” of tattooing in Japan?
Irezumi and tattooing has had a long history in Japan as being a negative practice so it will take time to change that mentality.

What’s the most challenging subject for you?
The most challenging subject is making sure everything works with the client. Every body type is different so I am always adjusting and looking to make the tattoo fit for each person.

Horizakura Family
Traditional Japanese Tebori Tattoos
Lower East Side – New York
Total
55
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