Tattoos as an art form have come a long way. What was once shunned—associated with fringe movements and subcultures—has enjoyed a massive upsurge in popularity over the last two decades. One particular tattoo style that resurfaced this past year is black and white tattoos, and more specifically gothic tattoos. Skulls, snakes, and vermin aren’t just inked on the brave of heart, they’re considered stylish motifs that can actually grace the human body.
The beauty of black, white, and gray is that through clever manipulation a feeling of depth is created. In fact, black and white tattoos are considered more sophisticated and should definitely be on your radar.
If you’re looking for some black and white/gothic tattoo inspiration we recommend following Katy Wiedemann on Instagram. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration, as well as a MA in Illustration from Edinburgh College of Art, her pieces are very much realistic and stand out for their quality and level of detail. With common themes including goth kids’ favorites such as insects and mythical beasts, it’s easy to see the appeal.
According to Wiedemann, her main inspiration comes from anatomical museums around the world. Wiedemann notes one museum in particular, in La Specola in Florence, Italy, which holds life-sized wax anatomical models, presented in centuries-old wooden cabinets.
Wiedemann’s interest in anatomy translates not only to her tattoo art, but to her illustrations in general. In fact, she’s first and foremost trained as a scientific illustrator and has even illustrated a book dedicated to human anatomy.
“I am fortunate enough to have two careers that I love, which have ultimately merged together,” Wiedemann relayed once in an interview with Female Tattooers. “I can use tattooing as the medium for my love of scientific imagery. It is such an honor—not only to be taught how to tattoo—but also having the trust of my clients who will wear my art on their bodies for the rest of their lives.”
“Usually, the most difficult part of my job in both fields is frequently being asked to draw something that has been done countless times over and try to make it unique,” she notes. Judging by the end results, she’s quite up for the challenge. Prepare to be inspired!