Kim-Anh Nguyen‘s tattoos have all the crucial elements of American Traditional – the bold line work, the brightened color scheme, and the array of classic motifs. However, she zooms in to the core of the mystique, emerging with a trademark facade that acts as the base for a large portion of her portfolio. Nguyen takes full ownership of the genre, both stylistically and conceptually, yet there’s no sense of entitlement or constraint- her designs are contemporary, yet honor the stylistic nuances of half a century ago.
Kim’s sense of composition relies heavily on framing. The edges of an image or series naturally highlight its focal points, ensuring the cleanest result possible. Her multi-faceted compositions are especially striking, with uncanny pairings that complement one another.
I’m thinking of one of her pieces, featuring a wide-mouthed snake coiled around an umbrella. It’s a small example, but there’s perspective, narrative, and blazing imagery, covering the crucial elements of a worthwhile tattoo, and simultaneously injecting it with a healthy dose of creative license.
It’s highly important to delve deeper into the doll-like American girl that graces so many of Kim’s tattoos, the female face mentioned above. The doll is able to take on any persona, equally radiant in a sailor cap or a flapper headband. That ability to transform is a result of Kim’s flexibility when it comes to theme. The girl looks through an unwavering pair of amber eyes, and the thing that struck me most about her recurring presence is her sameness – the fact that her identity is immortalized over and over again and does not falter. It’s a great way to establish yourself as an artist, and Kim has adopted a distinct image that’s not only a reflection of herself as a creator, but also a vessel for others to fill with their personal inner flicker.
Working out of the Dutch parlor Seven Seas Tattoos in Eindhoven, Netherlands, Kim-Anh Nguyen is dedicated to American traditional, and her level of familiarity with the style makes for a tight tattoo. It also allows her to make bold creative decisions and manage the concept of recurring theme with finesse.