Based out of Osaka, Japan, the artist known as Nissaco creates bodysuits that deserve a double take even from the native New Yorker, surpassing the craziest tattoos you’ve seen around the five boroughs. To fully absorb his imagery, drop any pre-conceived notions about traditional Japanese ink and let the intricacies of Nissaco’s designs seep into your line of vision- be prepared to spend a few minutes digesting one piece. With his heavily geometric, sharp, and dark tattoos, it’s easy to see why Nissaco is fully booked for the next six months- a piece from him is a once in a lifetime thing.
My first thought when I glimpsed Nissaco’s portfolio was ‘tribal’- the thick black lines and shapes covered the body in that calculated but primal way, as if adhering to something ancient- scripted and secret. As I moved through the images though, they began to take on a modern feel, the geometric factor prevailing all throughout. Even further in, it became evident that Traditional Japanese influence was not at all lost in his work- the physical concept was all there. By ‘physical,’ I mean the path the tattoo takes across the skin, whether it be from the arm out into the chest or, in the case of the bodysuit, moving downwards from the neck. This is where the Irezumi inspiration is strongest- in the general shape of the design, following a decades-old blueprint used by the purveyors of the craft. After that point, Nissaco’s tattoos leave the realm, edging towards the abstract rather than the traditional depictions of nature and the forces surrounding it. There are mandalas, mosaics, and the occasional rubik’s cube sleeve, coming together like a black and grey collage. The hexagon is the backbone of many of the designs, and each element is measured out to the last twist, point or curve, making sure that nothing is left flat, or subdued. The dimensions, too, are out of this world- riding the crosshairs of optical illusion and reality. I must admit that Nissaco’s formula is dangerously close to foolproof, giving his tattoos the one thing that allows them to live as part of the body- movement.
It’s impossible to cite a few tattoos that define Nissaco’s ‘style’- his work is constantly evolving to allow for new breakthroughs. His focus on perspective and perception is the ultimate connector between a tattoo and it’s receiver- instead a single- unit symbol, the tattoo itself becomes food for thought. In a world as saturated with imagery as ours, Nissaco’s ideas have the rare ability to snap us out of our web-induced stupor and reconsider the limits of creative vision.
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