WHERE DO VOU THINK YOUR INTEREST IN TATTOOS AND TATTOOING COMES FROM? DO YOU THINK IT WAS SOMETHING THAT YOU MAY HAVE KEN BORN TOT
I don't really know exactly, I have always loved to sketch and create something which is always an original and that will leave an individual footprint.
AT WHAT AGE DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST TATTOO AND BY WHOM?
My first tattoo I got quite late in life at the Bregenz-Tattoo Convention. Tommy Lee was the artist, and it brought tears to my mother's eyes, Guil Zekril introduced me to tire wonderful tattoos of Tommy Lee at the opening of his tattoo studio.
WHEN YOU EVENTUALLY PICKED UP A TATTOO MACHINE; HOW HARD WAS IT TO TRY AND TRANSFER WHAT YOU HAD BEEN DOING ON PAPER AND CANVAS TO SKIN?
The actual tattooing was easy for me but getting started wasn't that easy. I started studying graphic design but my heart wasn't in it. I spent all my spare time drawing abstract tattoos. My best friend gave me the money to get my first tattoo macliine etc. and then I took off from there. I gave up graphic gesign and started tattooing.
I have not done an apprenticeship. A friend of mine put me in contact with a tattoo designer who runs a tattoo studio on the Isle of Sylt, a small German island. So I packed my suitcase and went to Sylt. In the coming weeks, he taught me so much and I designed my first tattoos there.
Then I jobbed at the Talisman Tattoo Studio to help expand my knowledge in tills field by tattooing friends of mine and at the same time, continue my studies. This was a great time, as I could work on both my passions, the art and tattooing. Six months later, I realised that tattooing was my real passion and from then on I devoted my entire focus on tliis area.
YOU WERE VERY LUCKY TO GET A FOOT INTO THE DOOR, SO TO SPEAK, BUT DO YOU THINK AN APPRENTICESHIP IS THE BEST WAY TO LEARN THE BUSINESS?
Well like I mentioned before, 1 myself have not completed an apprenticeship. In my opinion good tattooing is a combination of two components; the technical proficiency of technical aspects and the other component is the passion for art. You can learn the theory and some technical skills in an apprenticeship, but you can't learn passion. This is something you either have or don't have. I learnt a lot from Guil Zekril and Frank Dietzel.
WHAT'S THE ATMOSPHERE AND AMBIENCE LIKE WHERE YOU WORK?
The atmosphere in the studios I have worked for have always been very whacky and lots of fun. I love my work and I find that this atmosphere inspires the people who come to our studio.
HAVE YOU WORKED AT MANY CONVENTIONS?
Yes 1 have worked at a lot of conventions and I learn so much at each one. You meet so many interesting people and create your own network existing of all kind of artists and interesting personalities. Sometimes 1 also have a new tattoo done.
Those who are interested in extraordinary tattooing are very interested in my work at the shows and love to check out my sketch folder©
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TTv with various motifs. As I mentioned, before I love to have a unique footprint and this is to be seen when you see my work.
You also have those kinds of people who are only interested in mass tattooing, like stars, they tend to move on pretty quickly.
DID YOU PICK UP ANY ADDITIONAL TIPS AND THICKS FROM THE ARTISTS WORKING AT THE CONVENTIONS?
Well yes, sure, even if it is just a new idea which is triggered by talking or watching artists working. That is the good thing about conventions.
HAVE YOU WORKED OVERSEAS AT ALL AND 00 YOU FIND THAT CERTAIN STYLES ARE PREVALENT DEPENDING ON WHEREABOUTS YOU ARE?
I frequently travel abroad and also visit many exhibitions in foreign countries, I would say so, as every country has its own culture and fashion. So based on this you do notice different trends. In general one could say that the French people are more open for crazy motifs and designs and the Germans like old school!
In my experience England is very welcoming to tattoos as the British people have a cool attitude in terms of "live and let live".
HAVE YOU HAD ANY KIND OF FORMAL ART TRAINING AND DO YOU THINK THAT FORMAL ART THAINING IS BENEFICIAL TO A TATTOOIST?
Absolutely! I would say that this is one of the key success factors. With art training you are able to put every motif "into place". It can though also slow you down, if you can't let go and let thoughts flow. This depends on your own attitude what you make out of your apprenticeship, art studies or education.
WHO WOULD YOU CITE AS YOUR MAIN INFLUENCES, INCLUDING BOTH TATIOOISTS ANO THE MORE TRADITIONAL ARTISTS?
I am very impressed and influenced by the work of Wim Delvoye.
He makes crazy things like tattooing pigs. He has a really cool attitude as he does what he wants to do and not what is commercial. French and Belgian tattooists also inspire me a lot as they have taught me to be open-minded for new and crazy ways of working.
As to my own style, I like to create abstract motifs. It can even look a bit child-like, as I don't like to stick to benchmarks. My aim is to create something special and unique by letting my thoughts inspire me. Sometimes this is not the easiest way, but it is my way. I like to work in a crazy way, choosing motives that nobody else would even think of using. I have chosen say, shopping bags, "holy" toast or a sunflower with teeth! I also like to experiment with different kinds of techniques. Creativity has no borders and with experimenting you can define and develop new styles or ways and suddenly it can turn into a trend. Maybe one day, even a benchmark.
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT DESIGNING A TATTOO? WHAT PROCESSES DO YOU GO THROUGH TO GET FROM THE INITIAL IDEA TO THE FINALISED DESIGN?
I do not have a specific pattern. Creativity is like I mentioned, infinite or unlimited in my mind.
I LIKE TO WORK IN A CRAZY WAY, CHOOSING
OF USING. I HATE CHOSEN SAY, SHOPPING BAGS, "HOLY" TOAST OR A SUNFLOWER WITH TEETH!
There are many methods which lead to good results. I keep a sketchbook with each tattoo design I have made and these I take along to exhibitions. These sketches often inspire my clients and lead to new ideas for tattoos.
And at the same time 1 also have another sketchbook, which is not related to tattoos. That way I keep a specific independence and open-minded attitude. At the same time my subconscious is always working on solutions how new ideas or even techniques can be designed or developed.
WHAT WOULD BE THE U IT I MATE TATTOO FOR YOU TO CREATE? WHAT SUBJECT MATTER/PLACEMENT/ TECHNIQUES WOULD YOU USE?
Wow, that is a very interesting question, something I have never thought about yet. Well if a client would have total trust in me and wanted to liave a huge tattoo, I think I would create sometliing that would only exist of one - or at the most, two subjects - it would be asymmetric and would involve the entire body. No other tattoo should be involved as this could demolish tire harmony completely. I would even consider developing different needles and creating new tattooing methods. Have 1 triggered your interest? Then contact me please!
WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE ON WHAT YOU WILL AND WON'T TATTOO?
Today, 1 would draw the line - in my opinion - with stupid ideas. With designs that just do not fit to my style. I also draw a dear line when it comes to the first tattoo somebody wants to have done. Regardless of what they are doing
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