Friday 29 November 2013

Interview with tattoo artist Matt Lambdin (Troy, Michigan)

Name : Matt Lambdin
Location : Troy, Michigan
Who : Tattoo artist at Ironclad Tattoo Co

Lisa Jenson : After learning to tattoo, how much time passed  before you could said to yourself "hey, I'm good tattoo artist"?

Matt Lambdin : Well, I would say that I've only recently found my niche, if that's what you would call it. Within the past year and a half or so. For the first three and a half years that I was in this industry, I felt I progressed very slowly.

L.J. : Put a name to your tattoo style.

Matt Lambdin : That's been a question that all the guys at the shop and I have always had trouble answering. We need SOMETHING to put on the website, so I said Illustrative, or Stylized Traditional. I'm sure there are hundreds of other names to call it.

L.J. : Do you think it's possible for a person who can't draw very well to succeed in tattoo industry?

Matt Lambdin : Of course I do! It's not always about someone's ability to draw (although, it can't hurt). I'd imagine a portrait artist's first discipline is probably attention to detail. But then again, I wouldn't know! Realism is a skill on a whole different level, that I myself can't grasp, but I think someone's design ability is usually what's key. As well as experience.

L.J. : Looking through your portfolio, it seems you can draw everything from animal portraits to mandala and dotwork tattoos. Is there anything about tattooing/drawing that you find difficult or you would like to learn?

Matt Lambdin : I would like to be able to draw the human figure better, and I think that I need to spend more time on faces while tattooing. But, with every project, you tend to understand a little bit more. For instance, horses and dragons don't seem to come naturally to me, but I feel I'm slowly starting to understand them (well, horses at least!). As far as what I need to learn about tattooing; that list could just go on...

L.J. : Based on your experiences, do you find most people have some philosophy about tattoos (meaning, expressing yourself etc), or feel like it's just a picture on skin?

Matt Lambdin : For others, both situations are probably equal in frequency. For myself, I lean more towards the art of the tattoo. What I want on my own body, would be something I admire and appreciate. Not so worried about what story or meaning I can conjure up to tell everyone.

L.J. : Each of your works is a piece of art, but do you ever feel tired and blank? How do you find inspiration?

Matt Lambdin : I think everyone feels void of creativity from time to time, but I feel lucky because a lot of my clients will allow me to run with their ideas. And trust me, a lot of bad ideas come out of my head. Probably more so than any good ones. But I usually find inspiration from older, classical artists. Or from my peers, especially after period of time where I feel I've slipped a bit.

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Sunday 10 November 2013

Interview with tattoo artist Florian Santus (France)

Name : Florian Santus
Location : Paris, France / on the way (check his web page)
Who : Tattoo artist

Lisa Jenson : When was the first time you thought about to become tattoo artist?
Florian Santus : I first started to collect tattoos in 2010 from artists around the world. 
... I think it has been really important for me to realize that you can have a true exchange with people you have never known before. There is an amazing trust that you can't find  in any other job. I think it's something rare and precious nowadays.
I have always drawn as long as I can remember and I spent my childhood in my grand-father's workplace, he was a wood-crafstmen. I have always been passionate about craft and technically nothing has changed since the invention of the first tattoo machine in 1891. I consider tattooing both art and a craft : handmade work where you can put your own vision and style in each creation. Being a craftsmen is a good way to keep both our feet on the ground.
A little more than a year and a half ago I decided to learn tattooing, so I started an apprenticeship, but I left the place four months later for many reasons. Then I "started" tattooing alone at home.

L. J. : I know you've been busy with your studies, so now - congratulations to your graduation! Whats your specialization?
Florian Santus : The last two years I earned a MA in art and design.
I have taken the time to read many books on psychology, philosophy and sociology. 
It was really important for me to understand what tattooing means in society today.
My studies were a highlight for what I want to do.

L. J. : Do you think education is important in life?
Florian Santus : I think education could have several meanings. Education is important to life in society, be respectful and communicate with one another. Education as culture is important to understand what you want to do and why.
Culture in its broadest sense appears to be a need to develop a critical sense .

L. J. : Is there any problems in tattoo industry now? (for example - when people copy your designs, some "trendy" tattoos etc)
Florian Santus : Honestly "trendy" tattoos make your customer happy and your wallet as well. ahah. 
I still think that when people copy your designs it's nothing but a copy. But I haven't been in the tattoo business long enough to have a right opinion. I think the popularity of tattooing has allowed the new generation of tattoo artists to have their unique approach in the business.

L. J. : Do you participate in tattoo conventions?
Florian Santus : Yeah! I did my first one three weeks ago, the Montreuil Tattoo convention near Paris, I was really busy, it was a great experience. Next week I will work at the Eindhoven convention ! I also have many conventions and guestspots scheduled for 2014! It will be a great year!

L. J. : What you think about walk-in tattoos?
Florian Santus : I think it's a good think for both customers and tattooers
As a tattooer you draw designs you would love to do.
And the customers choose the ones they like. 
 I think it's cool because most of the time customers don't have a precise idea of what they want and sometimes their idea is not "tattooable". Walk-ins and pre-drawn designs are really helpful for them. Moreover if you travel, walk-ins are the best way to bring back a souvenir.
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