Ed Perdomo grew up in Colombia, South America, and discovered his passion for tattooing at a young age. In an interview with Tattoo Planet, Perdomo says that although tattoos were frowned upon in Colombia during the 90s, he and his friends built their own tattoo machines out of toy parts, mechanical pencils and Chinese ink. They started tattooing each other and Ed Perdomo’s interest in tattoos was born.
New School, Cartoon Style or Lowbrow Tattoos?
In the past decade or so a new form of tattoo art has gained popularity. The style is often called new school – a mix of pop culture elements such as 3D animation and comic books blended with the subculture styles of graffiti art and anime. In fine art, this genre is referred to as pop surrealism or lowbrow art (in opposition to highbrow art which uses traditional art techniques and values visual quality over an artist’s self expression). Take a look at Jesse Smith’s new school tattoos and Kelly Doty’s cute cartoon tattoos for a better idea of new school tattoo art.
Ed Perdomo says that he doesn’t like to call himself a new school tattoo artist because he doesn’t want to limit himself to a specific genre of tattoo art. He describes his own style as cartoon style, a broad description which allows him room to explore his artistic talent and integrate tattoo art forms that he enjoys. After spending time in China, Perdomo’s tattoo work was influenced by Asian art and tattoo cultures. Many of the characters in Perdomo’s tattoos now have a distinctly Chinese look about them, and many mythical Chinese creatures such as dragons and luck cats have found their way into his tattoo designs.
New school tattoos, lowbrow art and pop surrealism are all slightly different from one another. Pop surrealism is a form of surrealism which has content that is influenced by cartoons and popular media. Lowbrow art often has a comic book style or a cartoon style that is influenced by traditional (2D) animation, comic books and anime. New school tattoos seem to blend traditional and 3D animation art style while bringing in elements of both violence and humor. New school tattoos largely use characters that are designed by the tattoo artist specifically for the client, with the occasional appearance of well loved media characters such as Kermit the Frog, Bart Simpson or Nemo.
Ed Perdomo’s Cute and Funny Tattoos
One form of art idealism that seems to influence the genres of new school tattoos, lowbrow art and pop surrealism is the unsung Japanese style of kawaii art. Kawaii is a Japanese word that means cute, lovable and adorable and the ideals of kawaii are used prominently in Japanese art culture. Kawaii characters generally have large, often beautiful eyes, bodies that are adorably disproportionate and a sense of humor built into their behavior. This humor can be snide, naive, empathetic, self-derogatory or clownish in nature, but whether the kawaii character is good or evil, there is generally some form of humor in its make-up. The kawaii element is incredibly bold in Ed Perdomo’s art, though I’m not sure if he’s even aware of the influence of kawaii on his tattoo art. His characters frolic in bright displays of activity, interaction and of course; humor, which make Perdomo’s tattoo art an excellent example of the unwitting influence of kawaii on international culture and different forms of art.
Perdomo’s tattoos have a broad and bright color palette. He says that cheers him up, so he fills his tattoos with vivid colors in the hope that by simply looking at his art other people will lighten up a little. Every artist hopes that their work will have an effect on the people who see it and in Ed Perdomo’s case, he’s hoping that people who see his tattoo art walk by will feel cheered by it, saying “I enjoy doing optimistic pieces with some real sense of humor added and people’s response has been very good so far; besides I really think that out there are way too many people who have joined the dark side. It’s time to lighten up!”