Horisumi – Kian Forreal
Tattooing Professionally for 24 years.
I tattoo under the Traditional Japanese Tattoo name of ‘Shodai HORISUMI’ – but I am better known by – Kian Forreal, I consider myself more of a craftsman in the field of Irezumi/ Wabori than an ‘artist’, regardless and what we call it I aspire to create lasting authentic tattoos in the Japanese Style with a ‘shokunin’ work ethic.
I also write regularly for tattoo magazines on current affairs, tattoo culture and tattoo history as well opinion editorials. Another passion of mine aside from tattooing is researching the Japanese tattoo culture and from time to time I give lectures and seminars on Japanese tattoo art, history and culture and do tattoo public demonstrations. I have presented at the prestigious Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Japan Foundation in Sydney and and I have upcoming event at the Newcastle Museum of Art.
A look inside the studio and the work of Horisumi Kian Forreal.
My latest collaboration with Archie Rose Distillery Co. in Sydney
The first two of four Rare Gins in the 893 Horisumi Collection based on the Japanese seasons..
this is ‘Autumn’ and ‘Winter’ and they can be found here on the Archie Rose Website
I learned how to tattoo in Toronto, Canada under the tutelage of David ‘Crazy Ace’ Daniels. I began studying, researching, drawing, and learning to tattoo with homemade tools and equipment on my own in 1986 and I have been tattooing professionally worldwide since 1993 after paying my dues working for real tattooers in real shops for 5 solid years doing ‘flash and walk-ins’. Coming from a Canadian background and having lived in Europe for many years my inclination for travelling the world and seeking ‘more’ came very naturally and in doing so I have worked with and learned from some of the best tattoo artists living today at some of the finest tattoo shops around the globe . I was given a traditional Japanese tattoo name in 2013 after 20 years of tattooing.
The name I was given by Japanese tattoo master Horiyoshi III is Horisumi. All traditional Japanese tattooers have a ‘hori’ name, hori means ‘to carve’ and a tattooer is a ‘horishi’ or carver, this a throwback to the woodblock print or ukiyo-e days when block carvers would also do some tattooing on the side. Some of you may know that ‘sumi’ ink is the old traditional ink sticks used in Japan that were/are used for not only brush painting and calligraphy but also traditonal tattooing, hence the term ‘irezumi’. There is also a play on words as the character for ‘sumi’ is also a character meaning ‘truth’ and since my last name is Forreal the master was inspired to give me a name with meaning relevant to my personal name.
In an informal and sometimes formal way I personally studied under, worked with and learned from such living (and deceased) tattoo legends as Crazy Ace Daniels, Henning Jorgensen, Trevor Mcstay, Greg Orie, John ‘The Dutchman’ van ‘t Hullenaar and Paul Braniff. I also worked with and learned a lot from my esteemed contemporaries and friends, Marco Serio, Regino Gonzales, Aaron Bell, Neil Ahern, Jeroen Franken, Sasha Sevic, Will Card, Clay Decker, Joao Bosco, Seth Arcane, Megumu Kamata, Ian Forlife and many more.
Somtimes it was just a little thing I learned from them, how to make a better needle or shade a dragon in a different way to show more volume, or a life changing drawing technique that would alter my whole approach to my craft, whatever it was I would not be where I am today without these artists. If you get the chance, find them on the ‘google’ and check out their work and their stories. I am forever indebted for their guidance and kindness in helping me out.
I am also greatly indebted to all the great tattoo artist, craftsmen and painters, living and deceased, whose shoulders I stand on and am continually inspired by on daily basis; Horiyoshi III being foremost for constant drive and perseverance and creativity, Horikitsune for being a great friend and source of support and inspiration, Horitoshi (Family) for being as Traditional and real as it gets, Gifu Horihide, Horikyo, Horikazu, Chris O’donnel, Mike Rubendall, Paul Jeffries, Mick, Ivan, Hokusai, Kuniyoshi, Kunisada, Yoshitoshi, Kyosai! and many many more whose work I love and admire.
If anything, my work is a tribute to them
I focus on and specialise in Traditionalist Japanese Style tattoo (Irezumi), with my preference being Japanese bodysuits i.e: large works such as full back, sleeve, ribs, chest and legs all joined together using seasonal and natural elements. I very much prefer starting with a full backpiece and building the bodysuit from that. I give priority for clients wanting bodysuits starting with full backs. The wait times for this is substantially shorter than starting with a sleeve or something smaller. That said, I do enjoy all Japanese tattooing and am more than happy to do a 1/2 sleeve with chest as a starter piece if that is what you are after… I love it all so please don’t hesitate to contact me with your design ideas!
If you have already been tattooed by me with large work you do not need to wait again and usually only have to wait for the next available slot to get a consult. Wait times for getting tattooed by Horisumi
Small one-point one session tattoos (including lettering) – 0-3 months depending on availability
Large Japanese style work – sleeves, legs, chest, ribs etc – contact via email for availability
Full Traditional Japanese Backpiece – face to face pre-consult next available slot – contact via email for availability
Full Traditional Japanese Bodysuit – Next available consult to discuss ideas and commitment.
For more in-depth information of Horisumi – Kian Forreal please visit his personal website – www.kianforreal.com
Email me through the contact form on the right side of the page for more info and arranging to get on the wait list for a consult, or drop into the shop to have a chat with one of my staff and view my portfolio in person. Thank you