The term horimono describes full-body tattoos featuring motifs like dragons, koi fish, cherry blossoms, and foo dogs that have come to represent Japanese tattooing in the general consciousness. Master Japanese tattooists say it takes a whole lifetime to perfect this art form and Steve McClintock has made it his life’s goal to master and preserve the integrity of the style.
McClintock will discuss his work in an upcoming talk titled “HORIMONO: A Retropective of Japanese Tattoo form Past to Present” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 13, on the 6th floor of Milner Library. The talk, which will will cover the history of tattoos in Japanese society and culture, is the final installment of the speaker series inspired by the current exhibition Your Body, Your Canvas, also located on Milner Library’s Floor 6.
Exploring the mythology, artistic styles, and the long, historic evolution of the tattoo, McClintock will share how he fell in love with the Japanese style of tattooing. A tattoo artist for more than 20 years, McClintock has been repeatedly recognized for his skills and dedication to perfecting the style.
“Milner is always trying to find ways to make solid connections with the University community and this [exhibit] seemed like a good opportunity to do just that,” said exhibit curator and Milner Instruction Librarian Alexis Wolstein. The exhibit is being used in several classes for research and the first two events were well attended.
McClintock attended ISU beginning in 2001 with the intention of earning a degree in art education. With only student teaching standing between him and the completion of the program, McClintock decided to instead focus on tattooing full time. He began tattooing at was then called Artkore Tattoos in Uptown Normal and eventually took ownership of the shop, now known as North Street Tattoo Company. His interest and skills surrounding Japanese-style tattoos developed while working with and being tattooed by well-established tattoo artists such as Ricardo Sturdivant, Jeff Zuck, and Mike Rubendall.