Knowing your passion is only the first step in making it into a lifelong career. Knowing how you will apply what you love and getting out of your comfort zone to do it, takes a lot of courage and time. Kazuaki Horitomo knew he wanted to be a tattoo artist but when he got the chance to make his dream a reality, he felt stifled. Rather than give up on what he loved, he changed his course, still keeping his eyes on tattooing.
California based artist Horimoto is immersed in the Japanese tradition.
“What I envisioned in 15 years was not very attractive to me,” he admits. Still, he kept grinding. He worked for fours years in Japan, perfecting his craft but felt suffocated, admitting “it wasn’t a healthy state of mind.”
He moved to the United States with the intention of keeping his Japanese traditions.
He came up with Monmon Cats based on Tebori, a Japanese technique of tattooing by hand. Horitomo’s Monmon Cats derived its name from Monmon, slang for tattoos in Japanese.
His famous works include the humorous and surreal depictions of cats performing Tebori on other cats.
The felines are covered in colourful and intricate tattoos. He has released two books, one aptly named Monmon Cats Book, and Immovable: Fudo Myo-O Tattoo Design by Horitomo.
His shop also sells his illustrations in prints, apparel, iPhone cases, touques, and temporary tattoos for those not ready to commit.
Horitomo knew there were already several tattooists in America at that time that could make traditional Japanese design tattoos.
Ufortunately, for many they were tattooing their clients incorrectly.
For example, those who had tattoos of a Buddhist image did not know its meaning, and sometimes the image itself was incorrectly designed. As a result, he published Immovable: Fudo Myo-O Tattoo Design by Horitomo, in an effort to educate tattoo artists and aficionados as well.