Most of our favourite childhood films would have been animated. We invested all of our emotions into these cartoon characters, believing they really existed on some level. With the dawn of computer animated films the characters got a little more real. We then questioned our young minds, ‘do our toys really come to life when we leave them alone?’. The depth of the imagery in these films brought us into the world of make believe, and fiction became a sort of reality. As we aged we become desensitised to these friends of ours in cartoon land and forgot a bit of our childhood in the process.
One artist has reignited the life back into these characters through the medium of black and grey realism tattoos. Owen Paulls, originally from Portsmouth, UK, now tattooing out of Los Angeles, America, has returned the life into the eyes of some of our much loved childhood stars. It has been said Owen is adding an extra layer of realism to his work that is not seen in the original photo. When asked about this Owen’s response, ‘People have said I’m adding extra depth to the piece but I feel I’m just copying the reference, but I’ll take the compliment’. Owen being a hyper fan of all things animated may have not lost the magic of make believe with age, could this be the extra layer? He’s now finding a way of returning the soul into the toys that come to life and the monsters in the cupboards.
I mentioned to him – ‘You’re adding realism to the unreal’. Owen replied with a sad face ‘But they are real’. Being a master of all things in the realism genre I find that with his Disney pieces he’s reconnecting us in some way to our lost childhood friends.
You know when a photo realistic tattoo of movie characters is done right, is when you hear the voice or a line from the film in your head when you study it. I have to say my favourite piece of Owen’s comes with the voice of a little girl saying ‘Kitty’.
MD Tattoo Studio, Northridge, California
Follow Owen on Instagram: @owenpaulls