Paul Binnie, Dragon and Demon Tattoo

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Paul Binnie (1967-)
Title: Dragon and Demon (Ryu ni Oni)
Edition: 20/100
Published: by the artist
Date: 1997
Condition: Some marks and light stains on the margins.
Size: 42.6 × 29.9 cm

For this design, Paul Binnie used a model who had the actual tattoo seen in this print. Often he would add a tattoo to an otherwise uninked model, such as his use of images derived from ukiyo-e artists' prints in his series 'Edo zumi hyaku shoku' (One Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo). However, in this case, the 'Dragon and Demon' tattoo was a real one. The man depicted is wearing a fundoshi, a male loincloth that is now mainly worn on specific, traditional occasions such as matsuri (festivals).

Paul Binnie


Blending traditional methods with a modern style, Paul Binnie is working mostly under the influence of Shin-hanga movement, founded by the publisher Shozaburo Watanabe (1885-1962). Shozaburo was aiming to renew declining Ukiyo-e tradition and break into foreign markets by commissioning new, young artists who would work within the old co-operated system, composed of the publisher, artist, engraver and printers. However, Paul makes his own prints from beginning to the end by himself, as was done by artists of another post-war movement: Sosaku hanga.

He mostly works in several subjects such as Kabuki, tattoo, landscape and beauty prints. His original plan had been to stay in Japan less than he actually did but once he started to sell his Kabuki prints, he decided to expand his technique more and has created works of this subject until 1998 in Japan. His interest in Japanese tattoo was born when he saw Yakuza, members of the Japanese mafia who traditionally have body tattoos, bathing for the first time in a sento (Japanese-style public bath). He is still working on a series of woodblock prints of this theme. Near the end of 1997, he began to do Japanese landscape prints and these became a huge success.

More Information
Print FormatDai-Oban
Artist NamePaul Binnie
TitleDragon and Demon (Ryu ni Oni)
SubjectSamurai & Male, Tattoo Design, Contemporary
Dimensions42.6 × 29.9 cm
PublisherSelf Published