The tattoos of Horichou – who comes from Richmond (Canada) – are a “contemporary take on Japanese imagery”. His favourite subjects are dragons, dragons, darumas and hannya masks, which he also presents in his eBook “Seeing Red – vol. 1”. Read this interview to get to know him better and take a look at his marvellous work if you’re looking for inspiration!
Hi Horichou, would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi, my name is Horichou. I tattoo at Steveston Tattoo company in Richmond, BC, Canada.
When did you start tattooing and how would you define your style?
I started tattooing around 2004-2005. I would describe my style as a contemporary take on Japanese imagery.
Has it changed over time?
My style has changed a lot over the years. When I first started tattooing, I was very much interested in hot rod and custom car culture. I was also really into punk and psychobilly music. My style very much represented this. It was a lot of pin up girls, zombies, and hot rods. It was heavily inspired by Ed Roth, Coop, Joe Capobianco and Jime Litwalk as well as the artwork from albums I was listening to at the time.
As I progressed in tattooing, I was exposed to more Japanese artwork and soon made friends with some Japanese tattoo artists.
I started making regular trips to Japan to visit my friends there, explore cultural sites and spend hours raiding book shops for reference materials. With every trip, I became more and more focused on expanding and developing my own take on Japanese imagery.
Is it important for you to also paint and draw, besides tattooing?
Creating artwork outside of tattooing has always been extremely important to me. I’ve found that its crucial to my development and pushes my tattooing forwards. I find myself constantly coming back to subject matter that I’ve drawn before and pushing myself to do something different with it. How can I tweak it? how can I challenge myself? What other outside influences can I bring to the piece? I’ve moved around a lot over the years and I find that every time I relocate, I have to build a new clientele. Something I’m sure a lot of tattooers can relate to.
Creating new art and promoting it through social media has been vital in developing that clientele.
I feel it’s important to always show people what you want to tattoo in order for people to come to you for that kind of work.
Otherwise it is easy to fall into the trap of only doing what comes in the door. I find that art is very much a comfort and source of strength for me. When times are tough, I find that I can get lost in an art project and other things in my life melt away. I am constantly trying my hand at new mediums. If I’m at a creative road block or I’m feeling burnt out creatively, working in a different medium can often help to reinvigorate my creativity across the board.
My most common medium of choice is digital painting, but lately I’ve had the time to delve back into using liquid acrylics, watercolours and markers again too. It had been years since I’d really spent time working with traditional paints, so it was great to get back into it. I also like to sculpt with Monster clay and make reproductions with resin when I have the time.
What are your favorite subjects and techniques?
My favorite subjects are dragons, darumas and hannya masks. Whenever I’m not sure what to draw, that’s usually where I end up. I love endlessly pushing myself to take those subjects and tweak them in new ways. Whenever I try my hand at a new medium, this is usually where I first start experimenting as well.
Where did the idea of this eBook come from?
I’ve wanted to create a sketchbook for some time now. I made one in my first couple of years of tattooing, so I thought it was about time I created something that reflects the style I have focused on for so long now. I share a lot of my artwork via social media and offer prints too, so I thought that by creating a book of just lines, I would be able to share a bit more my creative process with people. Something they can’t find anywhere else.
What are your projects for the future?
I always have a bunch of projects on the go. Currently, I’m finishing up a line of Japanese inspired silver jewellery I’ve been working on. I’m also trying to teach myself digital sculpting to expand on the masks and sculptures I’d been making previously with more traditional methods. I’m always playing around with new ideas for merch and I’d like to create another sketchbook too.