Karl Wiman is a Swedish tattoo artist who works in an American Traditional style. American Traditional, also known as “old school” is a tattoo style that came into being in North America in the late 19th century and early 20th century. One of the most famous traditional tattoo artist was Sailor Jerry, whose tattoo designs of swallows, anchors and other sea themes are still used today.
American traditional tattoos use bold outlines and feature red, green, blue, yellow and brown tones. Although the style originally required little shading, modern traditionalists are using more and more shading to add depth and integrity to their tattoo designs. The bold outlines mean that traditional style tattoos are often clear and easy to decipher from a distance and the design will not blur into an unrecognizable blob over time.
Karl Wiman’s tattoo designs are inspired by the American Traditional style, yet have their own appeal that is unique to this artist. His designs sometimes include modern media images such as cartoon characters, and popular fashions such as retro nouveau subjects that are becoming increasingly popular with the hipster movement. Wiman’s artistic additions to the old school tattoo style are unusual, sometimes macabre but always eye-catching and thought-provoking. The clown scorpion show below, for example, combines a cartoon style that was utilized in the 1940s with a classic tattoo subject, the scorpion. Decorative embellishments and saturated areas of color between thick outlines put this design into the realm of old school tattoos, yet the combination of subject matter and even the inks used are thoroughly modern in nature.