The Hannya Mask is without a doubt one of the most iconic images within Japanese tattooing. The Mask itself was originally used predominantly within Noh Theater (classical Japanese musical drama) and is one of 450 masks used to help tell the often-supernatural tales. It said it represents a women so consumed by her jalousie that she transforms into a demon, but the mask itself has always been a way of portraying a myriad of emotions.
‘The Daily Hannya’ is the result of a challenge Belgium tattoo Artist Len Leye set himself in 2014. The idea was to complete a Hannya mask design a day, every day for 365 days. Len achieved his goal, and the results speak for themselves. He has taken the spirit of the Hannya and run wild with it.
The book starts with more traditional Hannya’s as you might expect, but after a while as Len himself say’s “Things started to go a little crazy! It’s not easy drawing the same subject every day in a different way. After a while you go a bit mental.”
The daily discipline of working with a single subject gives an artist a deeper understanding of it and over time the freedom to reinterpreted and sometimes even reinvent it.
“The Hannya was the first thing I did when I got out of bed every morning. I didn’t sketch it out first; I always went directly with the brush straight into the book. Some times time did not always turn out the way that I might have wanted, but that’s how life is.”