Realistic or photo-realism tattoos are inspired by the Realism Art Movement which began in France in the 1850s after the 1848 revolution.
The goal of Realism was to combat the tendencies of the Romantic period, which had dominated French literature and art since the late 1800’s. Realists rejected the idea of Romanticism which focussed on exaggerated emotionalism and drama. The Realistic period instead was aimed on concentrating on common objects and ordinary people and situations, utilizing truth and accuracy and portraying it artistically.
The popularity of the realistic arts grew with the introduction of photography — which created a desire for people to produce representations which look “objectively real.”
Realistic tattoos such as Steve's most commonly depict portraits, nature and scenery that mimic the fine detail of a photograph. Steve prefers replicating photo-realism pieces in color rather than black and grey. It can usually be quite difficult to capture the colors of a photograph which is why some artists prefer using black and grey ink which provide significant depth to a tattoo. But because of Steve's unique style, he is able to capture various different color tones, texture, light, and uses various layering techniques to bring the tattoo to life. Steve's style is also sometimes referred to as hyper-realism or photo-realism.
The popularity of realistic tattoos has grown exponentially over the years and some of Steve's work (shown below) have become viral sensations on social media on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
If you would like to learn more about Steve's work, watch the videos below, Under The Skin produced by SullenTV & Art of Ink series by Paramount Network.