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.