Regino Gonzales | Juxtaposition of Flora and Fauna
The artist known as RG intertwines Japanese and American style tattooing, taking traditional characteristics and marrying them in the twenty- first century. The samurai weds the flapper, creating a union that surpasses stylistic boundary and makes some beautiful babies. There is a lot going on in RG’s work, but never does it become convoluted- the blend of influences does not clash with the composition, but complements it.
RG’S tattoos sometimes move in a hundred different directions, yet this mobility does not disrupt the flow of the piece. On the contrary, it shows immense talent in taming the needle and flow of ink. Japanese composition is prevalent in his work, often highlighting traditionally American content. In one back piece, a bald eagle rears its head in mid-wail against a backdrop of dragon scales, outlining the cultural overlap. Black- haired women with powdered cheeks, so lost and undoubtedly American, intersperse his body of work just as much as geishas and masked oni demons do.
Another factor that points to RG’s irezumi influence is his juxtaposition of flora and fauna. The Japanese regard for nature is implied in the unconventional organisms he often portrays. I love the baleen whale, surrounded by what looks like algae, suspended and titillating in water and skin. The shark making its way up an arm, fleshy underbelly in full view, makes a lasting impression of endurance. Some of the designs are geometric, marked by sharp line work, while others are a patchwork of pattern and texture. On a slightly different note, RG is also a master of portraits featuring religious figures, rendering intricate scenes of Virgin Marys with their eyes turned towards God.
RG’s work is alchemy, welding and meshing influence and technique to produce creative gold like no other. Most importantly, it remains original, simultaneously contributing to the evolving nature of the tattoo and giving us something to marvel at. RG works out of Invisible NYC.