Skin & Bone is a combination gallery and tattoo studio. The gallery will exhibit art and ethnographic handicrafts related to tattooing, while the studio will have Colin Dale tattooing alongside various guest artists throughout the year. Through his years of travelling and tattooing around the world Colin has had the pleasure to meet and work alongside a wide range of tattoo artists and experts working in ethnographic and other specialized styles. Amongst these friends, we have hand-tattooists from Borneo, Polynesia and Japan as well as some of the world's leading artists in Blackwork and Dotwork coming to visit. Check the homepage to see some of the work

Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Blood Gods

   Although I've done a lot of Nordic designs over the years the actual Gods have eluded me. Much like the Japanese, who design entire body suits around a particular god, hero or myth, I've been wanting to do the same using the Viking sagas as inspiration. While Yggdrasil, the Fenris Wolf, Thor's Hammer and the Midgaards Serpent are popular subjects, I've been wanting to do some more narrative pieces based on the actual sagas and inspired by the Viking picture stones like those found on Gotland in Sweden. However as most of these stories are based on the gods I've had to develop a way of depicting more human figures which was recognizable while staying consistant in style with the menagerie of other creatures I've drawn over the years.
Thus the "Blood Gods" series was born.

I hope that there are no fanatics who are offended by my depictions of the gods from the older and younger Eddas :-)


Odin on Sleipner
I originally did this illustration for the Tattoo Tarot Project many years ago to depict the Knight of Pentacles. Since that time I had the design made into black and white prints which I then hand colour and sell.
This one was part of an exhibition in Paris where I showed the three Blood Gods; Odin, Loki and Thor 

 Loki bound until Ragnarok
Also exhibited in Paris and now on exhibition in St Peterburg

Thor fishing for the Midgaards Serpent
Also from the Paris exhibition and presently in St Petersburg
This design is currently out of stock :-(

Based on the Knight of Pentacles drawing, I added a Valkyrie figure meeting Odin as he returns to Valhalla with his ravens, Hugin & Munin
This story and image is inspired by the Tjängvide's stone

the Tjängvide's picture stone from Gotland

I did this piece many years ago at the old studio around an older sun symbol. We were suppose to add Odin's two ravens, Hugin & Munin on the shoulder blades... but unfortunately it has yet to pass. I was really happy with the armor on this figure and have used the pattern in several designs since.
This piece is loosely based on a silver Viking amulet and is also shown in the book Magical Tattoos by Lars Krutak

 Thor in one of his many battles with the Midgaards Serpent on a client from Norway

Thor battleing four Dragons in this torso piece on JD from Holland

 Three of the dragons in place

 Three serpents entwined around a Thor's Hammer... not really a whole Blood God, but you can see Thor's head depicted on Mjølnir

 Just finished up this leg piece on Per telling the story of Tyr binding the Fenris Wolf . The chain Gleipner is depicted by a serpent which Tyr holds in his remaining hand. To accent his loss I also had Fenris biting his own hind leg.

Tyr and Fenris tattooed by hand on Domenico from Swizerland at the Florence Tattoo Convention
This piece won the Best of Day competition on Saturday

Rollin', rollin', rollin'
Though the streams are swollen
Keep them dogies rollin'
Tyr and Fenris half sleeve on a German client in one visit. A few years back I don't think half of my clients would have even known who Tyr was... however as more and more are requesting this story I assume my efforts to educate the public through my blog has helped :-)

“You cannot pass!"
Heimdal from the "Blood Gods" series, holding the Fenris Wolf and Midgaards Serpent at bay.
Inspired by the Gosforth Cross
We will be adding a tetraskelion between the beasts heads and runes in the bodies as well as Bifrost behind Heimdal.

The design is loosely based on the Gosforth Cross

I originally designed the "Blood Gods" series with hand tattooing in mind. I've dealt the images up into strongly contrasting positive and negative spaces and kept it to very straight lines.
However due to time and size considerations I've had to do the majority of them with machine.
Looking forward to the Viking markets this Summer and maybe getting to also do some more historically based pieces like these. 

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