Tattoo Artist Interviews with Ivana, Kaija Heitland, Markus Lenhard, Stef Bastian, & Jesse Smith


Fit and flow those are two things that
always attracted me to tattooing. My big interest was the idea that you could
lay out a bodysuit on somebody, that was the coolest thing in the world!
TattooNOW has been helping connect tattoo collectors and the curious with
world-class talent from all around the globe since the mid 90s. You are invited
to join us as we dive into the heart of TattooNOW! How goes it? I am ecstatic to
be back on the air with a show or I guess on the Internets as the case may
be. This is the pilot of our TattooNOW reboot show and we have to get this out
so that we can plug two awesome benefits. One that’s happening at the London
Tattoo Convention and one that’s happening in Richmond. Both of them are
also happening online. We have a lot of great amazing interviews already recorded and
I am busy editing them so if you enjoy get ready, there’s more coming. It
feels amazing to be catching up with artists who are truly pushing boundaries
and bettering themselves and bettering their clients. It’s very inspirational
and invigorating. This episode we have a stellar international lineup of
brilliant tattooers. A couple of surrealists, an illustrator, and a traditional fellow from Europe. One thing they all have in common is they love tattooing and I’m excited
to be able to bring their thoughts to you. I’m not sure where you’re beaming in
from, but TattooNOW.com is the home base for all of this content. You can catch up
updated image galleries, full interview videos, all the show notes, and all that stuff TattooNOW.com. In this episode we have a stellar set of international tattoo
artists, all brilliant with amazing things to say that you’re going to be
excited to be able to tune into. Ivana is a world traveling international
superstar of a tattooer currently in California and she beams in to talk
about her amazing tattoos, and the way that she keeps control of her
artistic career. She’s very self empowered. It’s amazing to watch her
carve her path and everybody will be able to take inspiration from her. Her
message is definitely one of love which is great. It does seem like
California has a center of love. The point being it’s a great interview and
we have a good clip of it as well as Marcus Lenhard and Kaija Heitland. they beam in from Canada. They are biomechanical abstract masters of both of large-scale
tattoos and other arts and different mediums.
Marcus is a longtime friend with whom it’s always great to catch up with. Very smart.
And Kaija is also an intellectual coming from Canada so it’s
great to hear about her getting into the scene there. I am excited I will be
catching up with them in October for a Reinventing the Tattoo live event that is forming
as we speak so TattooEducation.com if that piques your interest. Then we have
two insane benefits benefit art shows to talk about. Stef Bastion is putting one
on that is debuting at the London Tattoo Convention that includes the likes of
the Lue family and Filip, Robert Atkinson, Jojo Ackerman, and all sorts of
amazing luminaries of tattooing at the London Show and Jesse Smith is hosting
a live painting benefit. The paintings are being auctioned off. The Giving Arts Benefit includes the likes of Dan Hazleton Easo Andrews, Gary
Vivirreal, Humble, OG Abel, and many more. Both of these art exhibits are also available to bid online so if you are watching this then I will to give you the
information to go to their website or they’re going to give it to you so that
you can bid on these amazing masterpieces and donate to great causes.
Then we’re going to close the show with some thoughts about how tattooing can
truly help us become more complete better people and in some ways, or not in
some ways in many ways, and also in scientific ways tattooing can actually help
the world become a better place. I know it’s kind of hokey but if you watch
the end you’ll get to hear all about the Hokey. For now I’m your host Gabe Ripley. Find out about me at GabeRipley.com I’ve got some videos, seminars, links out
to interviews, and whatnot. I was recently at the New York City tattoo convention
catching up with people, excuse me, the Empire State tattoo expo in the
heart of New York City and it’s amazing to be able to catch up with everybody.
Guy Aitchison was there. He did a couple seminars and we’ve got some recordings.
Like I said, I love going to tattoo conventions so if you see me say hi! One thing
for certain, I have opinions about everything and I love to talk, and
love to hear, and engage in conversation so let’s let’s catch up. Speaking of
upcoming events that I have scheduled, October the 14th in Rockford
Illinois the Reinventing the Tattoo live event is happening. The details are coming in as we speak. TattooEducation.com and you’ll
find out more. If you’re in IL or you can get to Chicago, the airplane
tickets are dirt cheap, then maybe we can catch up there. We will also be
webcasting that – TattooEducation.com Then I’m headed over to
Bucharest November 1st to the 3rd for the 10th annual a Bucharest Tattoo
Convention in Romania. Costi puts on an amazing show, I’m ecstatic to be able to
get over there to catch up with my European friends. It’s been a long time! It’s
not too late – November 1st to the 3rd TattooConvention.ro for the
information. I’ll be bringing my equipment and doing some interviews
and whatnot definitely going to some castles. The venue looks amazing
and the lineup is awesome. I’m gonna catch up with Bob Tyrell is gonna be there ,Tommy Lee,
Emilio Gonzalez, Barbora Sharuzen Gazurova , sorry about the pronunciation, AD
Pancho, Jose Gonzalez. It’s going to be awesome! I’m ecstatic! So if you have any
questions for any of those folks let me know and I’ll get the camera and maybe
They’ll be kind enough to do an interview. I do love to travel and share about
tattoos so if you’re a convention or a studio and are might be interested in
bringing the theTattooNOW show or some seminars or professional development to
your neck of the woods then give us a call (413) 585-9134 or [email protected] This show is brought to you by
TattooNOW. For over two decades we have been building websites for tattooers. I
keep hearing artists arguing about the Instagram and Facebook algorithms
when it’s Google who wants to deliver the highest quality content that it can to people that are
searching for it. Google is designed to deliver your content. TattooNOW.com
will help you build websites. We also do consulting if you are an artist and are
looking for a boost in your career, a studio, or a tattoo supply company boom we have decades of documentation at our disposal
to help you connect dots, connect opportunities, and it’s exciting to be
able to take the lessons that we’ve learned and to be able to pass them off
to everybody else. Think about TattooNOW for your tattoo shop, tattoo
career, tattoo supply company, or event consulting. TattooNOW.com facilitates
both live and recorded webinars. There’s over two dozen webinars for tattoo
artists that want to learn how to better their tattooing. We can’t teach
you how to tattoo but we can have a master tattooer potentially teach you how
to tattoo a little better. We also have original art seminars perfect for
apprentices who want to create art that is symbiotic with the tattoo world as
well as business seminars. I have the building the great tattoo business
seminar as well as a couple others so check it out TattooNOW.com/webinars TattooNOW is actively helping recruit and place awesome
tattooers. We have relationships with dozens of amazing tattoo shops all
around the world who are always looking for high-quality, positive, hard-working,
ethical, and moral tattooers [email protected] or give us a call (413) 585-9134 We can talk about the possibilities and what it might take. We do love to be able to match amazing
tattooers and awesome tattoo shop environments so if you might be a
shop or an artist interested it definitely can’t hurt for you to get in
contact. If you are a tattooer or an apprentice – Reinventing the Tattoo is
basically required reading. If you haven’t read it know that there are thousands and thousands and thousands of tattooers that are
critiquing your tattoos through the lens of Reinventing the Tattoo. Not only
do you get access to Guy Aitchison’s fucking amazing brain, but he’s bringing in guest
artists for guest chapters and guest lessons all the time. ReinventingtheTattoo.com
if you are a tattooer or an apprentice. Tattoo collectors and artists should be heading
to Richmond every year for the Richmond Tattoo and Arts Festival. It’s happening
every September. Jesse Smith and Kenny Brown are putting on an amazing
show and revitalizing it. Brilliant lineups. The Richmond Tattoo and Arts
Academy is happening too, Jesse is bringing in amazing artists to help
teach so if you’re a tattooer or apprentice it’s a
great spot to land to learn. Do not miss it in the future. RVATattooArts.com
is the website. The last couple of videos we uploaded were just short clips. We
have Marc from Needlejig Tattoo Supply talking about the round magnum tattoo needle theory and some of the
traditional morals and ethics of tattooing which i think are pretty
amazing and Josh Paine in in a short but sweet interview. He’s an acutal ink master and
he’s a great guy so you can check those out on our YouTube channel
TattooNOW.com/youtube okay so let’s catch up with Ivana. I first saw our next
guest’s work over a decade ago online. She was in Australia at the time although
she grew up in Slovakia. When asked though – she’s truly a world citizen who
lives everywhere. She’s always tattooed, to the best of
my knowledge hasn’t had any other job. If you follow her work it’s a style that is
constantly evolving but she has a signature that’s always there because
you could tell that it’s her work. You definitely want to check out her awesome
YouTube channel. It’s filled with professional videos. She’s taught
seminars and has recently been working on merchandising her artwork which we’ll
get into a little bit. She tattoos at friend’s studios all around the world so
you can catch up with her on her website to see where she is. It’s always fun
to catch up with her in person. She’s got an amazing tattoo sleeve from Boris and always schools me in with her sense of style. I’m very honored to be speaking
with Ivana! You can find her at IvanaTattooArt.com and @IvanaTattooArt on
Instagram. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview! Thank you. Absolutely,
so we’ll start off with a simple question – what do you love most
about tattooing? I I love the connection when it comes to skin,
absolutely my favorite mediums. I love that life connection between my
clients, pretty much that’s my absolutely favorite. That it is always different, I
never know what to expect, I never know what I’ll get. it’s always challenging and
like I said it’s always different. So I think I think that’s my probably
favorite. And like I said, the connection especially. Do you find
yourself being part of a larger story with your clients? Every person for me has different energy and that’s what I
find very interesting. I feel very honored for example to take to
somebody for life or create something for them so suitable for them.
That’s what I mean when I talk about connection. This is part of it. Yeah, I mean, for me watching
the magic of a tattooer helping the client become who they want to
be is amazing. Absolutely, I’m making statement piece for them. Very suitable for
them. Something that represents them. It’s their work and I never repeat my tattoos
I cannot even actually copy myself or repeat after myself because I love to
create something spontaneous at the at the moment. Something exactly how I feel or how
everything goes that’s what’s gonna happen and that’s that’s the statement
piece my clients gonna wear. what’s the best process look like for you? The best process for meeting my client – I only do
consultations by email. My consultation is tell me one two words
that’s it. If you want a little bit, include something if you see some particular elements you would like to put there, because some people
like to combine let’s say few things together, but I don’t need too much
because I get overwhelmed. so let’s just keep it very simple and clean. So
let’s say my clients say okay I want a portrait of this animal on my back. Ok,
tell me particular animal and that’s all and I will go from there. So I
prepare references online and when I see the client that’s how the colors come
to me, that’s how the dynamic of the piece comes to me, so I really don’t
prepare anything in advance. I only need references that’s all, so I can get
better ideas sometimes. I have to do my search obviously like some somebody
tells me oh I want to get I don’t know maybe like some animal but I don’t know
anything about this animal or some particular piece of something so I will
search a little bit so I know exactly what it is so I can I can have a very good
description or better imagination of the particular picture or piece
and I will go from there. So I collect let’s say say five to ten images and
when I seen my client I can see the colors I can see how my clients fit my
eye I can just fill it out and based on that. I will match colors. I will match
the dynamic of the piece sometimes it can be more whimsical and playful
sometimes it can be more bold so it really really depends how I feel about
particular client that’s how I do all of my tattoos. How much do they get to
see of the finished design beforehand? They don’t! They don’t see
anything, they trust in me. I’m very lucky with my clients, I
think because of my style, it’s a little bit… I would say unique.. I’m
different and it’s a nice very specifically so for this reason the
clients I’m attracting, they are open-minded. It’s like this – I would say this group of people you know… They say like you attract
your own tribe, so when they come to me they they already have the idea. I just
okay. You know and sometimes I can pick
placement, sometimes I pick the size. Actually most of the cases of placement I
can be flexible, of course, because some people don’t want to have it too
seen or something. So we can talk about it but most of the time really my
clients give me absolutely freedom. How long did it take to build a clientele that trusted you like that? I would say for the past
five years. I’m tattooing about 19 years now.
What year did you start? I don’t mm maybe 99 I don’t
remember it goes around so maybe I’m taking maybe around 18 19 years. You’re
self-taught and I imagine that you pick up techniques when you when
you’re guesting with other tattooers and sharing for the most
part, but did you ever go to art school? No I never had any formal art training
never with any art school I was to draw since I was child just for fun and later
I used to do graffiti. Always drawing in the school… always drawing. That was
kind of my my hobby or really something I enjoy and write about when I
was finishing school tattooing just came to me.
My friend committed to me asked if I wanted to try to tattoo? I was like sure!
That was it for me. Right about I finish my school and did my graduation. oh yeah so I did all of my my school and I started to my
tattoo friends, my family, and that was in Slovakia.
Back in Slovakia and I didn’t know anything about like how to put a tattoo machine together… Actually it was machine for permanent
makeup it wasn’t even particular for tattooing. It was a one coil and I
didn’t know that I have to replace needles… I was thinking oh one needle is
good enough for like whatever you know. So the skin was bleeding and it was just
mess. I didn’t have gloves like I don’t know anything about hygiene
at that point and and there wasn’t a tattoo Studio I could learn from,
anybody in Slovakia at that time. Some of my friends, they were going to
Germany, so can you please bring me something to make tattoos with. so sometimes
they they bought me some tattoo magazine and that’s how I saw like how the
machine is built how to put the rubbers around the needle and everything so
somehow I put it together in. It took me longer to figure it out.
Later on of course I visited overseas some tattoo studios. I was
trying to look and ask questions and that’s how it was in Czech Republic this
particular one I forgot the name of it was like a 7 years ago but there was
this nice guy and I was asking him like any please like give me a little real
advice or how to like set a tattoo machine properly and how it works so he showed
me as he was that tattooing that time he was working and he was kind enough to
show me how how the machine works and everything for a few minutes and that
was for me of course game changer. Like, ok, I got it. It’s very different that time and I used
to use coil machines. I used to do my own needles, and setup my machines every particular
like scheme was different so I have to learn how to set up machine but that was
on I cannot even compare it now with this new rotary machines it’s so easy
it’s like drawing with a pen basically. Sure the technology and its
impact on the tattoo world is amazing. Do you use many computers for your
design process or you draw mostly on skin? but as far as preparation goes… I I think very old-school like I said I just find some image online and
even stencil I do by hand because I don’t know I I’m focusing more on shapes
when I tattoo… not to have necessarily all the details it’s a
little bit you know combination of ups trial and painting in whatever so for me
is the most most important proportion and I I really like to work from the
photograph so I can I can see very sharply when it comes to for example
animals or flowers or faces I need to have the clearest image possible so I
mean so I’m looking for the large high-resolution images and the rest I
draw it by hand directly as I print it out I draw it by hand and then I’m just
making it up on the skin so when it comes to everything like in shading or if
I need to add something there and backgrounds I just make it up. When you came to do guest spots it’s almost like you weren’t done with
your day until you’re on your computer posting up your tattoos
into the right spots and and I imagine for the merchandise you’re on the
computer a bit, or do you work with other people? I work with other
people because honestly I don’t know too much about computers. I’m just happy to
do my emails and all of this. I don’t even want to spend much time on it. It’s not
my profession so I work with four different designers but but what I do
again on school I just draw something on the paper or I do kind of like a collage
I cut it I print out something they carried and I write down what I desire
or I just explained to them what I desire to achieve what kind of look. I created ITA
Los Angeles is a clothing company and I’m having my first sweats right now and
the t-shirts and the heads that everything is out already I don’t have
it on website yet except heads but the sweat and everything is for sale but
people would have to direct message via Instagram or send me e-mail at [email protected] I have a few different styles a few different washes
few different cuts few different designs as of now I release three different
designs it’s a our biomechanical heart and a leopard and
so it’s more like a contemporary high street fashion those are also more
expensive pieces because the process was it took me over one years just create it all
and find the proper company and everything everything had to be on point
so it’s like these trays and it was like three different procedures how to how to
do it and the t-shirts I have “Just Love” so I I published book one year ago just
love tattoos and sushi so I created kind of merchandise
company. I have a t-shirt I have hats I have stickers temporary
tattoos I’m gonna have a keychains so the latest one for me is the clothing
and I’m definitely going to take up on this direction that’s pretty much what
I’m spending the most time right now. Hopefully next year everything should be
like nice on the web site and with the merchandise I have
animal pins I have temporary tattoos I have stickers I have books I have art
prints so there is lots of other stuff also coming in the future but the next
year but this is just like little little stuff I created on the way. Awesome they
look great, like I said when I saw you in Vegas the colors are very bright and
you could tell that you’re taking the care to make sure that the ingredients
that go into the merchandise are top shelf. oh absolutely
Everything that I create has to be absolutely top shelf so yeah and
everything is made in USA also. So I’m not working with any other companies
besides here everything. I have full control over
it if I need something I just go there in person. On the t-shirts I’m just I’m still doing the labor work on them. Ivana’s
inspiration is infectious the power of positivity and love combined with
direction and focus again truly inspiring. It’s great to catch up
with her, the rest of that video can be found go to TattooNOW.com/interviews Since we had our interview with Ivana we found out she’s won some
prestigious awards over in Europe so we will be catching up with her again. If
you have any questions let us know in the comments. Tattooers, you’ve been asking for
membrane tattoo cartridges, now they are coming out. Marc, do you want to tell us about them?
Yes, the dynasty membrane tattoo cartridges took a little longer but we used that time to
approve the design and overcome some issues others were having rather
than rush to market. So what makes dynasty cartridges different from other
brands? We spent a good deal of time and money to get the tension of the membrane
to be very similar to our Legacy O Ring cartridges so your machine doesn’t have
to work that hard yet they’re still strong enough to prevent backflow and
contaminants and ink from getting back up into your machine. The needles are
angled slightly back in the tube tip to prevent needle flow like you see in some
other brands. The easier cleaning clear cartridge bodies ensure that you’re able
to tell that your needle tip is clean properly between colors. So how do
tattooers get them or buy them? Well you can get samples on the NeedleJig.com
website or you can hit us up at any one of the dozens of shows we’re at each
year. If you’re ready to buy them and are a verifiable professional, just go to
NeedleJig.com I’m Fernando the marketing director at NeedleJig, this is
Marc the founder and president. Thanks for watching. Our next two tattooers beam in from
Vancouver British Columbia Canada. She’s awesome she’s into bio tattoos also
makes jewelry has awesome pictures about foraging has been in the the sketched
out sketchbook with a hundred other artists you know and frankly anyone who
can converse with Marcus Leonard for hours and days at a time is a friend of
ours. On Instagram @tattoosbymisskaija @tattoosbymisskaija kya hate hland How are you? yeah I’m doing really well.
Well thanks for for coming on the show and let’s let’s start with some
softballs uh do you mind talking about the Canadian tattoo scene a
little bit and how you got into it? Sure of course um I started tattooing
just over ten years ago on the Sunshine Coast which is just outside of Vancouver
super small town. No other tattoo shops except the one in
C Scheldt and I got a summer job working there when I was like 17 and the guys
both kind of partied a little bit and needed somebody to do line drawings for
them in the morning so that’s how I showed that I was good enough to to draw
at least and so I put a get put together a little bit of a portfolio and they
took me on Piutt Barker and Sean Headley was working there at the time and then a
year later machine builder named Jesse Young bought the shop so he kind of
bought me along with the shop. He never wanted an apprentice and kind of yeah I
was kind of part of the package deal. I ended up apprenticed under Jesse
Young. About how long did it take to tattoo on the public? It was a couple of years actually before I started tattooing anybody. After
I started my apprenticeship like I said Jesse bought the shop and so there was a
bit of delay because he wanted to kind of like… re-teach me a few things
but it was a really traditional apprenticeship.
Jesse’s a quite but a well-known machine builder fabulous machine builder here in
Canada sells machines through Good Guy Tattoo Supply and him and Lucas Ford worked very
closely together. They use very similar geometry so
they do a lot of work together in the past that done quite a bit of work
together oh yeah yeah yeah I think I think Jesse does the winnipeg convention I’ve done it for the last couple of years as well. oh yeah it’s
phenomenal phenomenal show and Rich the guy puts it on is second to none like his
ability… his promotional abilities are fantastic. Like great personality
ideal for our community here in Canada to be putting on a show because you just
he knows everybody he’s so charismatic and so just super welcoming like he
really wanted to put together a really family-oriented show. so like it is a
little star-studded and a little intimidating for that reason but like
it’s it’s very close we’re all very close here in Canada. Our
community is traditional in that sense. we have
traditional values that kind of seep into our tattoo community. You could
tell from his show that obviously there was a lot of care and love the craft in it. A huge
amount yeah and so like yeah Rich was actually one of the first tattooers I met. He was really good friends with Jesse
both Jesse and Piazza I went to some I went to quite a few conventions in the
prairies like the regina and convention smaller conventions like more
like biker run conventions and stuff for the old-school kind of communities. So
like all of these guys were people that I knew right from the beginning so I
ended up not really having… I don’t really have any peers that are my age. All the guys that are my friends in tattooing, all my colleagues, are all
you know 40s and their 50s and stuff. Which is pretty cool and that
you know with my apprenticeship and stuff like that they were really really
stringent actually about like how much exposure I got to the internet and
magazines and stuff like that like. Of course we still like had tons of
magazines around the shop but they were really adamant about me
just doing conventions like right from the very beginning else doing
conventions before I started tattooing and and like a huge emphasis on like
machine building putting machines together the kinetics of all that and
like I built needles ahead we still used steel tubes the shop I scrubbed all the
tubes and everything like that so they were they were pretty adamant about
making sure that I… you know… they already saw the shift happening and they
were really excited about having somebody in their shop who was a worker
and really wanted to do all those technical things like learning about
mixing ink and building it. So you’re into the bio, was it
something that you were always into? Where was your introduction to the style? You know what? Honestly the bio from the 90s
and tribal were the two things that made me want to get into tattooing in
the first place. Those are the two things that I I think probably resonate with
the most as far as like just fit and flow those are two things that always
attracted me to tattooing. I wasn’t ever really interested in doing small tattoos
but I mean for the majority of my career that’s what I’ve done is small tattoos.
Generally being the only woman in a tattoo shop you are afforded a
very particular clientele usually right so which was I mean
that laid all the groundwork for all my technical skills that I think that I have
and but that’s obviously all based on yeah doing small small tattoos and
stuff but my big interest was the idea that you could lay out a bodysuit on
somebody. That was the coolest thing in the world and like the only two real
types of bodysuits I saw like when I was in high school when I was growing up
was biomech and tribal. Those are the two things that I absolutely like. Guy aitchison’s
stuff obviously. My dad! When I was still living at home my dad
got me a copy of Organica in 2004. The year that it came out and he gave it to
me for my birthday. Oh shit I’ve got it it’s like yeah right around the corner
here! Yeah and I was just excited, that was
one of my first introductions to tattooers who were also artists as well.
And my dad just he had seen this book and I was super into my ecology I
absolutely love mushrooms and mushroom foraging and stuff and he just
recognized right away I like all of that like mycelial structure and fungus and
all this stuff in Guy’s work and he thought I would absolutely love it. so
like Guy’s book that that one I particularly like, all the Reinventing the Tattoo
stuff and you know obviously like those those I got all those books before I
started tattooing. Awesome! Before I ever got a job in a tattoo shop so I was kind
of always what I want to do and then Aaron’s stuff obviously I was kind of
obsessed with – when I was like 15 16 and just drawing in high school like
absolutely loved her Aaron Cain’s stuff. Cool so what kind of tools are do you use for
your for your tattooing prep, are you a digital person? you still do everything
on paper? what other original mediums are you using? Well for tattooing I very recently, like
within the last year, got myself an iPad and it’s really revolutionized the way
that I do my drawings for my tattoos because now I never finish a drawing. I
basically to like rough sketches and then I pull the line work off and I can
do like really really intricate really elaborate line drawings where I don’t
have to this huge amount of time doing a full
illustration because I definitely like in tattoo… the guys that
trained me to tattoo are like super talented illustrators like comic booky,
really natural artists like both of them are phenomenal artists even though
they’re, you know, very traditional as far as tattooing goes and uh and I
was encouraged to absolutely draw and render and do color studies for
absolutely everything and now especially with biomech digital just makes all the
sense in the world to be able to manipulate, do really simple sketchs
and then cut and paste everything like that it makes way more sense to be
able to do that digitally you save so much time and with the amount of
traveling that I do there was there’s no comparison like I don’t have to bring
giant sketchbook and like a pack of pencils… my pencil sharpener… like try
sharpening a pencil and a plane is just one of the Bane’s of my existence! I
never have to do that again! Like you having an iPad and like being able to
bring everything with you and and I do some logo design
and sticker design and stuff like that for like outside of tattooing as well
like I do a little bit of graphic design for people as well so it it’s uh
it’s way easier designing a logo on iPad then on paper and doing like rendered
sketches for somebody who’s probably gonna you know only pick one… yeah. I don’t illustrate as much anymore by hand I
really want to get back into that but painting I do a ton of painting oils or
acrylics both I recently just got into into doing oils I’ve been using some
water mixable oils and I know that that’s a little bit of like a no-no for
people who are really into using oils but I find that just having a
small apartment it’s a lot easier than using all the solvents and everything.
But yeah I love painting and acrylics. I’ve painted
in watercolor and acrylic most of my life and and now having somebody to
paint with is pretty pretty amazing too. So actually being able to do like
collaborative sculpture and then painting it and then being able to paint
on campus with Marcus is pretty remarkable.
it’s something that he doesn’t have a lot of background in so it’s nice to
like pull him into that a bit. into the real world. Shall we pull him into the to the
interview now? yeah. yeah. Do you want to chat about how you met? Sure yeah
we can do that for ratings, that’s what we’re trying to get here.
haha We met online. yeah yeah I Facebook and Instagram
We became pretty enamored with each other’s work and one of the things that when
people ask one of the things that we talk about a lot is like as soon as I
saw markus work, I’ve been following Markus for many years, but when I look at his work
sometimes it’s really difficult to not understand how I can look at something
and feel like it was something that I did and I don’t have any memory of doing
it. Like there’s so it’s really bizarre sometimes I think we both have that
where yeah we’ll just it’s so intuitive and the we have such similar shape
language we use the same words we use the same kind of diction same sentence
structure and like anybody who’s familiar with Markus’s seminars… that’s
some terminology he uses for like shape language. The way you
structure a sentence the vocabulary that you use like the language that we speak
is really really similar. What’s crazy I can remember the first time that I saw
your work and it like immediately resonated in a way that is
very familiar you know in a way like you see somebody walking in the streets and
that person looks familiar and you can’t and you know you talk to that person
it’s not only like a familiarity but you know that you talk to that person and
then as you are thinking about like where do you know that guy you actually
realize like oh shit that guy looks totally like me.
You know that doesn’t ever happen to you? You know where you look at somebody and
you realize way later because you’re not used to seeing yourself, right… You’re not
used to having like an outside view on yourself except if you see yourself on
video all the time… And I saw I saw some of her sketches for
the first time I was like holy shit that looks… okay….. I’m gonna I’m gonna I’m gonna
unpack that differently because it’s so abstract and I think that we… we… we
understand this really well between us we don’t need a lot of words to explain
that to each other. We also don’t need other people to think
we’re crazier. No exactly, I think when you look at biomech and especially if
you look at somebody who does biomech really intuitively there’s a lot of
honesty in there. There’s a lot of… it’s like your handwriting. You don’t really
think about how to change your handwriting into something that other
people might like necessarily and I think once you are at a certain level
with bio mechanics sketching or the the biomechanic like media there is a
certain honesty in there that really reflects your thought process and
to think that you know about your subject matter like the things that you
know about biology the things that you know about mushrooms if that’s something
that leads into your sketches. The things that you know about
physics or whatever. Physics is a big one that comes into it. Like dimension
dimension and fit and flow and everything like that it’s all it’s all
physics. You can definitely tell when a person doesn’t have that background
and is attempting to to draw a lot of biomech. You can you can tell that
there’s definitely a big part of the grammar of that language missing and if
the grammar is missing things look a little skewed and scrambled you can’t
understand it. but it doesn’t it’s not elegant. It’s a really hard thing
to reverse-engineer. yeah. And that’s like and it’s not impossible at all
like you can totally start by like learning you can start by learning like
texture and general shapes and stuff like that but unless you like unless you
have that kind of concept of of where everything is coming from you are
actually just saying a bunch of words. Nature is very equationy. It’s so
formulaic. that’s the thing too. equationy, we’re making up words extremely equationy! That was amazing, the full
interview can be found at TattooNOW.com/interviews and it was a lot of fun
meeting Kaija for the first time and talking about the biker conventions
tattoo scene up there in Canada and how she navigated being the only female in a
tattoo shop and again what Markus is uh he’s always a fantastic conversation so
go to TattooNOW.com/interviews for the full interview. Next up we
have two clips with interviews from Stefbastian who was beaming in from
Germany. He’s from Italy and Jesse Smith, who is currently in Richmond, and I think he grew up in a military family I know he’s
well traveled and we will be talking about their awesome benefits. This is
the highlight for me not only being able to plug art and artists but to be able
to plug benefits because those are two of my favorite loves and if you have a
benefit that involves art then email it over [email protected]
for consideration for us to plug it. Let’s catch up with Stefbastion. Now? Yes!. Ok my
name is Stefbastion and I started tattooing early 2000. Like 2000 and 2003
so it’s like 15 16 years and I’m from Italy. Lets hear about the projects that you’ve been working on, last year you did a great benefit
that was hosted at the London Tattoo Convention and you have another one
going on this year so let’s start by maybe reminiscing about what was
happening from the previous event while I fire up the website. Yes,
so basically, everything starts with the fact that I
need to do a lot of things at once. If I get only one I get kind of bored I
have all these ideas and I need them to like come to life otherwise I get frustrated.
and so one was this which started as a as a silly idea of decorating something
and then I always tend to think big so I wanted to involve, because I love
collaborations, I love to put people together to do things with people you
know because then you get stimulated… you stimulate other people and something out
of this unity you know out of this group always new comes out so I started with
the idea of having like a small group of people that I could buy those dolls and
give to to decorate and then I thought no let me call more friends and
more friend and then in three days I had a hundred people. From all around the world I
was like wow okay so I thought okay this can be can be big so perhaps I can make
an exhibition. it’s like sequential you know it’s like one…
you get one step you realize and then you get another idea and then you
realize and then it keeps growing so you don’t have the whole picture from the
start so I had all these people I have these ideas I said okay now this can be
a project coherent and then I can perhaps do an exhibition. So I
contacted Miki Vialetto and he liked the idea so then we had the
exhibition and then again the next step has been the charity which came kinda
natural because I try in general with everything I do to have one thing in
mind always which is contribution. Which is to give back something to tattooing
because I feel that it gave me a lot and I can’t remember who told me this but
made me think a lot over the years and I always remember what do I give to
tattooing? You know, instead of just taking and being another part that is
sucking from this world I was like how do I contribute to make this a little
better than I found it? People can find more information about this this past
benefit as well as the future one on stef_bastian_presents Instagram is
that the best place? Yeah you could go on the Instagram because that’s where you
have the updates so you have all the new okay the next step is going to be Daisy
can find it here that’s how you gonna do it so you have the updates or if you
want to have a bit more of a wide understanding of it and to see the
results you can go to my web site Stefbastian.com and then there
have like a more compact explanation of the project with links and stuff so
perhaps is more easy to to to grasp at once.
Stefbastian.com So yeah so I’m here now
and we’re checking out this year’s benefit. yeah so that’s happening in
2019 at the London show do let’s let’s talk about that a little bit and then
we’ll zoom over to the to the benefit yes so like I was saying I tend always
to think big so once I manage to realize this little dream that I had with with
last year project I thought okay what’s next you know so I thought okay busy I
had to be even bigger and it coincided with the fact that this year is the
fifteenth anniversary of the convention so I wanted to represent loudly you know
I said okay you know what I’m going big so I contacted over 200
artists so so far is 215 and from more than 25 countries in the world so
they’re scattered all over and so you have people from last year and new
people as well like Robert Atkinson and Jojo Ackerman and one point there you
know like big big names big names so the idea is a little different concept is
kind of the same but different so this year’s gonna be Japanese paper fans
called Uchee WA and there is a concept this year behind the exhibition. Last
year was more of a free interpretation. This year the concept is called a tattoo
fanclub because I wanted to somehow celebrate the people that came before us
and made possible for us to do things the way we do because as I said
contribution and gratitude are two very points are two points that I’m really
firm on very very found up so this idea came as well by the fact that I travel
so much and often I meet the younger generation
early twenties debated for years or something and sometimes I I hear things
talking to them like Filip Lue I dunno who that is like Tata whoo so I’m like oh
man we talk about the foundation of this which means we’re talking about in other
names as well you know so we’re talking about Sailor Jerry so we’re talking
about the people there perfected or came up like Ed Hardy or something you know
the or came up with certain solutions that could be artistic or technical
there you are using today you’re unaware of so you don’t know where those things
come from sometimes I don’t want to put again everybody in the same group but
sometimes you know perhaps because people are new and you know now that the
meaning of acquiring information are a bit different so they’re unaware of and
I think is important not for the sake of it not to be you know to learn by memory
all the history of things just for the sake of it but because when you know
where things come from you appreciate it. Last year I started the Giving Arts
Foundation you know ever since I’ve opened my
shop we’ve done tons of benefits towards you know just raising money for various
causes. I remember one of the first ones I did I we were raising money
for one of my teachers who passed away from brain cancer and so what we
did is we took all of his designs and we kind of figured out which ones would
make the best flash art and then we made these flash sets and you know we
spent a day tattooing all his little flash designs on the people who
loved him and then anybody who loves lose screw and basically we just gave
all that money to his wife and kid. You know so that was kind of one of the
first ones. I get so much out of my career you know like people just give me
stuff all the time I mean I show up to work and I’ll have three packages of
people have sent me t-shirts and stickers and you know just things
sculptures and stuff so you know this the the career that I have is giving me
so much it’s good to be in a position to actually give stuff back. You know it’s inspiring to see you do so much, I think you had one
benefit already this year and there’s two more on the books.
It’s very inspiring for for us to see you guys working so hard to benefit the
community that you know you know that you’re working with. Yeah well the good
thing too is now that I have a non-profit you know I can do stuff but
then we can also bring other people in to do stuff. My partner from Richmond
Tattoo and Arts Festival, he’s gonna be doing some benefits as well so it’s just
good to be able to like have this this place where everything can be collected
and you know before it was kind of like we would do these benefits we’re just
like oh we’re gonna do a benefit and then we would just collaborate with
another nonprofit charity problem with that is we would say something like you
know a hundred percent of the net proceeds go towards this benefit or it
turns this charity and then we would give the the the proceeds but then we
would have no startup money for the next benefit. we were gonna throw first so now
what we can do is we can map money in and then we can organize and figure out
where that money’s gonna go to best to benefit the bigger picture verse these
small little benefits being individual. Awesome that’s wicked exciting! I
imagine that people can go to Loose Screw Tattoo and contact you if they’re
interested in either participating in these benefits or getting tattooed at
one? Yeah yeah I think right now Loose Screw is probably the best place to go
you know I drew up a logo for the Giving Arts Foundation hopefully we’ll get that
website up here soon. get an Instagram up all that good stuff
you know make it a little more legit. but you know the paperwork just went through
I think middle of January which seems like a lot of time but with all
the stuff I got on my plate it’s definitely not a lot of time. Stefbastian and Jesse Smith’s featured interviews will be in future episodes
for now we just wanted to plug these benefits because they’re happening like
next week! Tattooing truly has an amazing strong
power to change you and it will regardless of whether you believe it or
not. That can be for the good or for the worse, let’s make sure that it’s for the
good! Right, tattoos literally change you on the outside and with varying levels of
public display as well as on the inside. This is inevitable,
and it’s amazing. As I started collecting I didn’t really believe it
right. I’d see people get tattooed and they’d puff up their chest or they’d feel, you know, more beautiful and I was like beauty’s only skin-deep, you are the same
person that you were when you left then when you got here… and it’s amazing because,
you know, the first tattoo I had got in a couple years earlier I couldn’t
afford the parrot… my very first tattoo I got at the biker shop and I was underage
I thought I was a badass and I couldn’t afford the parrot so I got the dove you
know like a little dove on my ankle and I felt badass I felt rebellious I was
like yeah I’m fuckin I got a dove on my ankle! I got a tattoo! Again I was
watching that happen other people and I was criticizing it you know I didn’t put
it all together in my head yet. I’m like you’re just the same person as you were
why do you feel better about yourself? You know like I said I was critical but
at the time through the course of this period I was getting highly visible
tattoos. You know neck and arms and legs and I realized that if I was an asshole
to everybody that was talking to me about them then I would just be an
asshole dozens of times every day. You know this is how I naturally was…
I was relatively anti social I grew up antisocial half on the
streets and, you know I thank my early friends for sticking it out
because I definitely had to learn how to communicate by trial and error.
you know and I was like I said I was wicked antisocial so I didn’t really want
to talk to people and just very unpleasant to be around. I know it doesn’t work
like this for everybody, but for me, I was like, I guess I have to learn how
to be nice to people every time they talk to me about
tattoos like I said otherwise I’m just gonna be a jerk dozens of times every
day cause I want to get these tattoos and they’re the birds and you know pretty
things I realized you know years later as clients are coming
back they had felt better about themselves so they started acting better
about themselves and tattooing was teaching them the same lessons that it
was teaching me but this was a whole community of people who were actually
becoming better people through the art of tattooing that allowed them to
become more complete it allowed them to move ideas that are on the insides and
bring them to the outsides you know to literally transform their bodies and
again this also transform their their minds in it you know anyone that’s been
tattoo knows immediately there’s a difference you know as the
transformation is happening during the process immediately afterwards then you
know days and weeks later the the effects changes you know it’s not the
same effect but it still there and it’s there until the day
you die it’s the only art one of the very few effects and forces that you can
you know do yourself now that will affect you until the rest of your life.
You know that effect is either going to be good or bad, what we want to do is
make sure that we are involved with amplifying positive tattoo experiences
because they’re very powerful. Over the course of the last two decades I’ve
watched countless people improve their lives through tattooing. Tattoos
mark a time and place they are memorial tattoos for loved ones lost literally
trying to keep their spirit as close to us as possible or tributes to living
people whose spirits you’d like to conjure or feelings from the inside that
you want to manifest and make part of yourself now and it into the future
you know tattooing is amazing you get to remember the past and also hopefully
predict or kind of try to cast the spell for the future tuning into this positive
effect that tattoos has is tremendous because positive tattooing helps people
become better people and it happens as a group. It’s like almost every business is in the business of “changing the world for the better” but in tattooing if
you’re deliberate about it, you are literally changing people for the better.
it’s unbelievable to have helped and to watch countless clients use the power of
tattooing to transform their bodies and to who they feel they really truly want
to be. To watch people use the positive effects of tattooing to Commission
world-class pieces of artwork that they get to view every day, but also other
people looking at them get to experience these pieces of artwork to feel better
about that energy and the connection. It’s literally like an exchange of
positive energy dozens of times a day. You know imagine that effect both on the
wearer but also on the community. and in general infectious it’s it’s so
unbelievable I’m so thankful that people appreciate this art and that it’s really
truly exploding the way that it deserves. The more people that can experience
the compounding positive effects due to awesome tattooing than truly it could make a dent in the negativity in the world and in the power
structure. That is, tattooing is truly enabling both for
the clients who are becoming more of themselves, who they want to be, and then
for people that are working in tattooing whose livelihood is made through making
people more complete and better people. It’s unbelievable, ultimately it’s why
I’ve dedicated my career and over 20 years to help amplify the the
positive voices and the positive effects and you know tattooers, they’ve inspired
me to help create experiences both online and in the real world to help
inspire both collectors of art and tattoos as well as tattooers and arn
artists to inspire them themselves and their peers and to to create these
unique places and space and time to share you know some of the very best
that this art has to offer to be able to manifest energies tattoos have an
incredible power unlike anything else. That is in the world really I mean it’s
very unique to to humans and to us it’s pretty amazing although that said again
tattooing transcends all cultures. It transcends all political persuasions and
thought processes everyone likes to get tattooed. Everyone. It is shamanic, it’s
it’s sacred… in a very secular way. But uh you know it’s a process that will
affect its clients you know the people who are getting tattoos for the rest of
their lives it’s so intense I know I keep repeating myself but it’s important
to stress that it’s why it’s not to be taken lightly it’s why research and and
patience is is, not *required* to get an amazing tattoo, but kindof is… it’s a
amplifying effect you know and the more patient you are and more research you do
the better the quality of the tattoo. You’ll get a better compounding
positive effect you’ll see out of it so Ultimately the more intune the
collector is and the tattooer is with these natural forces then the better the
experience and the more positive effect we’ll all see out of these
great tattoos that are happening. Again whether they’re small or the
full bodysuits you know as long as it’s an amazing experience a
thoughtful experience that’s a positive one then ultimately yeah that’s what
we’re looking for right more great positive tattoos out there in the world. Now I get it this kind of spiritualy shamanistic stuff isn’t for everybody.
Some people are just looking to get tattooed and that’s cool.
Tattooing is wide open and available for everybody to engage in. Again the more
people who get tattooed no matter what it is no matter how cliche or entry-level
the better. They might not know it now, but that is the start of the path to
getting an amazing collection of tattoos. So ultimately I’m here to help you get
the best tattoo you can [email protected] if you’re looking for an
amazing tattoo we’ll try to get you to the right tattooer and or if you go to
TattooNOW.com and check out the image galleries you’ll see a lot of great
tattooers there from all around the world. This is just the start of the
conversation, find me in person and we could have a tasty beverage, a safety
meeting, a tea, or coffee and we could talk about tattooing as a cultural trojan
horse. Again we could dive deep in all this stuff I love taking the online
energy and turning it into real world connections so please let’s catch up and
yeah let me know in the comments section how tattooing has affected you positive
negative how long ago do you feel all this energy stuff going on or was it
just much more simple than that so that wraps up our pilot show hopefully you
enjoyed let us know all the positive things in the comments or constructive
criticism [email protected] Trolls will be banned, if you don’t like
tattoos it’s none of our business, but just don’t crap in our fucking living
room. Please send future ideas and artists that you might want to see
interviewed in the comments or shoot us those emails.
Thanks again hopefully we’ll catch up with you on the road somewhere. Cheers!
whether you’re a collector or a tattooer Whether you’ve seen this video or
not go to the Nick Baxter video it’s all about critiquing art and if you are
producing art on people it’s great as certainly if you haven’t seen it yet to
watch it or if you have just kind of refresh it’s pretty amazing and Nick is
a great painter and tattooer so it’s it’s well worth your time also subscribe

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