Coen Mitchell – Aurora Tattoo Studio | New Zealand Tattoo Artist

Coen Mitchell – Aurora Tattoo Studio | New Zealand Tattoo Artist


My name is Coen Mitchell and I’m from
Auckland in New Zealand. Currently I’m travelling full-time and at the moment I am guest spotting at Aurora Tattoo Studio in Lancaster. I’ve been tattooing for four and a half years now. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had a love and passion for art and any sort of art practice. I started
off just drawing with pencils and crayons and stuff through I was a kid, and
making presents and gifts and things like that for people’s birthdays and then I kind of just developed from there. I started playing with different media and then all through high school I started picking up all the different art
classes: art history, photography and things like that, and then I always
thought that when I would grow up that I would become some sort of draftsman
until I fell into the love for tattooing. I got into the tattooing industry when I
was about 16. I went into the local tattoo studio when I was in high school
and to have my first piece done, I was just in the chair watching the artist at
the time – his name was Richard Warnock in Palmerston North. It kind of instantly
clicked then when I was just looking down at my arm while he was working on
me that tattooing could be a career for me to pursue my love and passion for art.
So basically I just followed from there and studied at university and was
lucky enough to fall into an apprenticeship and yeah it just took off
from there. What inspires me in my tattooing career? Basically the different styles and patterns and different techniques that I approach when I tattoo
and using things involved with tattooing. It isn’t just artists that I see or look
at on social media, like a lot of it is involved but especially coming from New
Zealand, a lot of like the Tā Moko and Māori styles influence a lot of my work as well, especially a lot of the korus, and the spirals and the swirls. Sometimes
I can take those sort of art forms and put them into work myself, kind of more
of a contemporary spin in that sense. When I was a kid, we did a lot of school trips to meet and look at the maraes and the
architecture and the shapes and the forms of the buildings, so even just seeing all the beautiful wood carvings and all the different kōwhaiwhai patterns and
stuff on the ceiling, a lot of that I just always remember and can kind of
reference back. I have a big appreciation and understand a lot of that sort of art form and just overall admire a lot of that sort of shape and fall in the Tā Moko art world. The highlights of my tattoo career are basically, like, having the privilege to be able to travel and meet different people and tattoo all
over the world. A lot of careers you can’t really do that with so definitely
traveling has been a big highlight in my career and I’m still looking forward to
doing that a lot more of that in the future. For my two different styles,
the realism and a lot of the mandala and line work, my main favourite and
inspirational artist at the moment would be Carlos Torres with his black and grey.
I’ve watched him work a lot in person at different tattoo conventions and
just the way that you can definitely see that he has a passion for what he does
and he loves what he tattoos. Just seeing the way he applies the different grey wash to the body and the way he makes his pieces smooth and the flow and the
placement on the body is just is quite inspirational in that sense. And then
when you come over to the mandala and the line work type side, there’s a guy called DotsToLines. The way he shows himself as an artist via like social media,
the way he presents his art. You look at his work and it’s just a lot of line
work and it’s perfect and it’s pristine, so when I kind of look at that, it’s kind
of what I want to take my art form to in that sense is getting it as perfect as
the way he does it so it gives you a drive to want to be like someone who
does what you think is perfect. So, yeah. My advice for anyone wanting to get into
the tattooing industry is: do a good apprenticeship. I definitely believe that you should be put through a hard apprenticeship and to do the hard yards
in order to become a successful and well-built tattoo artist in the future. My apprenticeship was hard but
I learned under the right people and the right guidance in order to get me to
where I am today, so having a good apprenticeship, I think, is one of the
biggest things in starting. Over the next 12 months coming up, I think that I will probably just keep continuing to travel like I am now. I’m not based in
a studio full-time at the moment, I’m just sort of travelling around booking
each month as it comes. I don’t really book years in advance or
anything like that. I’m just travelling, living out of my suitcase, tattooing in all different studios. I think right now for me that sort of freedom is what’s
going to be best to grow as a person and as well as an artist

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