Balzac's Hirosuke and Akio, and toypunks' Justin Kovalsky arrive at Three Tides Tattoo where the good times continue...
But first, we spot this amazing Three Tides sign made byTokyo-based sign painter, Nuts. Nuts has mastered the craft of traditional American sign painting and pushed it to the level of fine art.
Inside, we talk with Masa, owner of Three Tides and a genuinely cool guy. The shop is meticulous and overflowing with quality work. It becomes clear in moments that Masa is the soul of the operation. In addition to Three Tides, he also owns Trigger, an upcoming Osaka brand that's putting out sick art decks and clothing from the likes of Mike Giant and Usugrow. Keep your eyes out for a shirt collaboration that Masa has coming with BXH in the near future, too!
On the first floor, there's a spacious gallery housing dope paintings.
Back upstairs, Three Tides tattooer Mutsuo shows us his own sleeve. Mutsuo is super talented; he's also Akio from Balzac's artist of choice.
Vinyl inspiration! Bounty Hunter toys line the shelves in Mutsuo's work area.
Meanwhile, we talk more with Akio (below) about his history with tattoos and his own clothing sublabel through Balzac called Culture...
Here's a quick video still of Masa's right hand man, Ussun, as he shows off some wild Microman work. Ussun is also good friend of Secret Base's Hiddy and he's got the passion for toys and comedy to prove it!
All in all, Osaka was an eye-opening experience. The city felt a bit more gritty than Tokyo and it boasts a wellspring of killer creativity. Due to a tight filming schedule, we had only a day to spare for Japan's second largest city. We realize that we barely scratched the surface, so next time we're building in more time! Most of all, it was fascinating to uncover the deep connections and distinct differences between the Osaka and Tokyo creators we'd interviewed so far. Osaka is aces. Thanks a lot to everyone from Shocker, Balzac and Three Tides Tattoo!
Masa also hooked up some fresh shop t-shirts illustrated by Chris Garver. Before Miami Ink-ed stardom, Garver spent six months working at Three Tides with Masa and crew.