In terms of content, the majority Horinao’s imagery is action shots, giving his work a highly mobile, anticipatory feeling. His characters are always on the verge, leading to a delicious tension within the scene. Unlike many other comtemporary Irezumi artists, Horinao’s portfolio seems to carry a higher concentration of tattoos featuring human figures as opposed to flora and fauna- the samurai and the geisha appear consistently throughout his work. This gives the tattoos a highly humanistic element, especially when bridging the mortal world with the supernatural sphere that influences Japanese legend and custom.
I think what strikes a viewer most about Horinao’s tattoos is their genuineness, both on a technical level and a conceptual one. They look almost like ink on parchment; his black and grey designs, in particular, are patterned and hypnotic. There’s even a slight resemblance to Polynesian tribal work, a testament to the sizable niche Irezumi occupies in the industry and the natural way influences merge in a global tattooing context. Juxtaposed with the profundity and sometimes austere aura of Horinao’s work is his underlying eye for color and pure visual joy- his koi, for example, peer out from soulful eyes and bright crimson coats, as do his lobsters. As a tattoo artist, he swears by Japanese technique and motif, but is also able to put a part of himself into what he does. This crucial ability is what then allows him to extend the inner glow of the customer into a tattoo, translating their thoughts in ancient terms.