Inked Belle by Joel Santana (photo: Joel Santana)
We’ve seen Disney princesses without makeup, getting their period, taking selfies and as different races. These classic images are familiar and yet the alterations speak to how our culture evolved. Florida-based artist Joel Santana is the latest to have his day with the princesses, this time using their skin as canvases for elaborate tattoos that tell a story.
“This concept of redrawing Disney characters in modern day situations has been done before but I wanted to try and tell a story with my illustrations more than just create a pretty picture,” Santana tells Yahoo Canada.
“Belle isn’t just posing, she’s reading, which any fan of the film knows reflects her love of books,” Santana says of his popular Inked Belle portrait. "Not only is she reading a book but she’s also sitting on a pile of books while being inked by her ‘Beast’ who is in the shadows, subtly referencing his dark side. And the tattoos themselves as well as the chipped cup in the foreground call out elements of the film to give the piece dimension.”
Inked Ariel by Joel Santana (photo: Joel Santana)
Inked Belle is the third (and most elaborate) illustration in an ongoing series of Disney princess-inspired works by Santana. Earlier iterations include Inked Ariel and Inked Snow White.
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“I do plan on expanding the series, creating most of the top female characters – not limited to princess,” Santana says. “Jasmine is up next since she has the highest demand from my followers on Instagram and Facebook, probably followed by Alice.”
Inked Snow White by Joel Santana (photo: Joel Santana)
Santana was born in Manhattan but now lives in Florida with his two toddlers. By day he works as a Senior Art Director at the Dunn & Co. ad agency in Tampa and at night focuses on his art prints and comic con shows – he’ll be at CTN Animation Expo in November and Miami Magic City comic con in January.
Concept sketch for ‘Inked Jasmine’ (Instagram/themaddhattr)
Santana’s work is greatly influenced by the Victorian era, 1950’s and Steampunk – a sub-genre of science fiction that looks at technology, particularly steam-powered machinery from the 19th century.
“I love creating worlds, characters and stories that people can connect with and hopefully find memorable,” Santana writes on his online store about page. “Some of my work is humorous, some of it is dark, and others are sexy. Nevertheless it is all genuine and an extension from my imagination. I hope you enjoy it!”
With more than 1,000 likes on his Inked Belle post, I think it’s safe to say that we’re enjoying the series so far.
What do you think of these inked princesses? Let us know by tweeting @YahooStyleCA.