What is the Trash Polka Style?

polka trash art

We’ve been looking forward to this post, as the Trash Polka style has a great story and few people are aware of it. This unique, yet young tattoo style is noticeable from a mile away, and it deserves your attention.

Trash Polka Style History

You’ll be surprised to know, that this style was an invention of two people, the tattooists from Buena Vista Tattoo Club in Würzburg Germany, Simone Pfaff and Volko Merschky. While some artists prefer to integrate their own artistic vision into already existing style, these two creative souls made a statement, since the opening of their studio in 1998. Since then the Trash Polka style became an unofficial trademark, today used by many other artists.

trash polka men tattoo
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There are two versions about the origins of the name of the style. Some say the name comes from a music piece by Johann Strauss II called Tritsch Tratsch Polka, which the artists related to the style because of the realistic genre it follows. The other version about the name states it comes from the term Polka dots, which means halftone / a printmaking technique for creating shades and tones with overlaying dots.

trash polka women tattoo
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Trash Polka Tattoos Specifics

Trash Polka is a truly memorable artistic style. It uses collage techniques, including realistic images of people and scenes, combined with text, abstract strokes and paint drips. It might seem chaotic at first glance, but it keeps its inner harmony, basically thanks to the skill of its artists. The style uses mainly old vintage photographs and imagery, completed in a realistic manner, blending in smudged edges, blurred and fading boundaries and bold brush prints. Part of the images are realistic; another part is completely abstract. What’s most prominent about Trash Polka is the usage of only red and black, the primal colors of tattoos..

trash polka arm tattoo designs
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You can find its typical “trash” or grunge effect today in many digital graphics, posters, and covers from 90’s. The style also includes stencil overlays and graffiti elements, which keeps it up to date with street art. Trash Polka is meant to be as disturbing and all-embracing as possible.

trash polka tattoo eye
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Trash Polka Typography

You will most often see typewriter fonts such as in newspapers. Think about the Sex Pistols signature logotype, and you’ll know what we mean. Some other typefaces most commonly used in Trash Polka are the classic fonts like Times New Roman or Courier. Sometimes letters are blurred, disappearing or distorted, but they still fit into the chaotic picture.

trash polka tattoo style
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Trash Polka Subjects and Themes

Trash Polka spins around almost every theme you can think about. There are no limits for subjects, as long as they fit into the concept of something rebellious. Trash Polka can be quite sarcastic as well; you can see contemporary icons, like Mickey Mouse, Superman’s badge or clichéd characters from movies. One repeating motive is the skull, but often you’ll see dripping paint, screaming faces and a lot of geometric patterns in the newer designs.

Some people believe the only real Trash Polka tattoos can be inked only in Buena Vista Tattoo Club, as they are THE creators. Any other tattooists, who like and follow the style are considered imitators. But having in mind the broad circulation of the style and the many improving artists, it a matter of preference to decide, what’s the real Trash Polka.

trash polka tattoo design
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trash polka men tattoo
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trash polka arm tattoo
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