Home / Art / Cats Are Tattooing Other Cats in Surreal Japanese Ink Wash Paintings

Cats Are Tattooing Other Cats in Surreal Japanese Ink Wash Paintings

Kazuaki Horitomo monmon cats

On their own, tattoos and cats are great. But together—they’re a force to be reckoned with. California-based Japanese artist and tattooist Kazuaki Horitomo combines these two passions into his amusing and surreal illustrations. Working under the name Monmon Cats, the paintings feature felines who wear elaborate body art. Often, the tattoos cover most of their back and torso and leave just their heads free of the imagined ink. This extensive embellishment also follows a similar tattoo tradition known as a bodysuit.

Horitomo has been tattooing for over 20 years and is well-versed in the Japanese practice of tebori—a technique in which the body art is applied by hand. Many of his works reflect this influence, with one cat tattooing another. In addition, they feature an ancient ink wash painting style, so at first glance, it looks like they existed long ago. It’s only after studying them that you realize: Monmon Cats is a peculiar and modern twist on a centuries-old art.

Kazuaki Horitomo monmon catsKazuaki Horitomo monmon cats

Here are illustrations of some tatted cats with their new ink:

Kazuaki Horitomo monmon catsKazuaki Horitomo monmon catsKazuaki Horitomo monmon catsKazuaki Horitomo monmon catsKazuaki Horitomo monmon catsKazuaki Horitomo monmon catsKazuaki Horitomo monmon cats

To make it even more meta, here are Horitomo’s monmon cats as striking tattoos:

Kazuaki Horitomo monmon cat tattooKazuaki Horitomo monmon cat tattooKazuaki Horitomo monmon cat tattooKazuaki Horitomo monmon cat tattoo

On occasion, Horitomo also makes monmon dogs!

Kazuaki Horitomo monmon dogKazuaki Horitomo monmon dogMonmon Cats: Website | Instagram | Facebook
h/t: [Spoon & Tamago]

All images via Monmon Cats.

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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