Category: Art

Interview with Tan Van Den Broek

27-year-old tattoo artist Tan Van Den Broek works out of Dark Cloud Electric, a private studio in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and creates beautifully colourful neo-traditional tattoos. We chatted to Tan about her love for hard working bees and a dirty olive colour pallet… 

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How long have you been tattooing? It’ll be my sixth year of tattooing this August, I completed an apprenticeship over three years in two separate studios. I’m currently working in a private studio in Fitzroy, Dark Cloud Electric, with Dean Kalcoff.

What did you do before? Before tattooing I was at university completing a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Drama. Performance and art have always been an important part of my life, so it seemed fitting to do a degree in it. While studying I was waitressing (classic part-time actor job) and continued to waitress over the weekends while apprenticing. I would work five days a week at the studio, weekends waiting tables, drawing every other moment.

How did you start? Straight after I graduated uni, I applied for an apprenticeship in a local tattoo studio that was just opening up. He already had an apprentice, who had a fancy tattoo nick-name and lots of Kohl eyeliner, but I dropped by the studio with my folio of work anyway. He set a two year apprenticeship for me, I spent the first six months just observing and cleaning before I was allowed to tattoo.

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Do you have a background in art? Yes, I was a really quiet child and so I escaped into drawing imaginary worlds and what was around me; lots of flowers, animals and vegetables! I grew up on a organic vegetable farm, and both my parents are avid gardeners. I took on life drawing classes and later completed my drama degree doing as many visual art subjects as they would allow me to do. I stayed in most nights during my adolescence drawing, I guess nothing much has changed.

What drew you to the tattoo world? Music and my sister. Most of the bands I was listening to when I was younger had tattoos and their cover artwork always made me start brainstorming my first tattoo ideas.

My sister got her first tattoo under age over new years eve. She lied to our parents saying it was semi-permanent and that the pigment would fade away after a year. After a year rolled by and more tattoos were added, my parents clued on. Every tattoo she got, I just kept thinking that I could’ve drawn that better for her and made her happier.

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Describe your style, how has it changed? My style is neo-traditional but more on the bold, colourful traditional side. I like bold lines balanced with finer details.

Initially I wanted to be strictly a traditional tattooist, I loved the work produced by Andrew Mcleod and Jaclyn Rehe (still do) and loved the aesthetic. Tattoos that look like tattoos. Bold and badass. Vintage photographs of men and women adorned with ropes, ships, butterflies, women got me going! I quickly discovered I would over complicate my traditional drawings and I could not restrict my colour palette. I liked soft pastels and dirty olives. Neo-traditional was a better fit.

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What do you like to tattoo and draw? Easy! Animals, flowers and Birds! Lately I’ve been tattooing lots of Native Australian flora, which can be a challenge but I LOVE the challenge and the colours of our flowers.

What inspires you? Beautiful gardens, climbing roses, old buildings, lakes, lead-light windows, crystals, Scandinavian towns, autumn leaves, caves and good coffee.

What would you love to tattoo? Monkeys, I love their expressions. Big cats, toucans/horn-bills, fishing birds, flowering fruits and more native flowers.

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Do you have any guest spots or conventions planned? I’m heading back to Hobart for a week in June, then my next convention will be New Plymouth NZ Tattoo & Art Expo in November. Then Three Eyes Convention in Adelaide in February 2017. I’m currently planning a trip for Aug/Sept, fingers crossed I’ll be heading to United States or back to Europe. I miss Vienna and Göteburg.

Can you tell us about your own tattoos? Sure, my left thigh, left sleeve/hand and left side of my neck was tattooed by my amazing co-worker Dean Kalcoff. My sleeve is inspired by my love of Art Nouveau and 1920s fashion. I’ve got a big orange rose on my neck, my hand has another rose and a Mike Pike Teacup machine. My left thigh has a rabbit being constricted by a snake.

My chest was tattooed by Emily Rose Murray, fuck I was lucky to jump in on a last minute availability! That piece makes me feel really beautiful, big soft peony roses and a little bee. I have three bees tattooed on me (so far), I love their meaning of female strength, hard work, self sacrifice and the importance of teamwork for a greater good.

I have four tattoos from my dear friend Clare (Clarity) Hampshire, one is a vintage nurse with red poppies for my G’ma who served as a head nurse here in Melbourne during the second World War treating the returned soldiers and my G’pa who passed due to WWII PSTD. I have only one matching tattoo with my best friend Jen, it’s a little teapot with the words “Tea For Two” We always catch up over a cuppa, and it’s helped us get through the more difficult times in our lives. Tea just seems to help, you know?

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Art Love: Douglas Hale

We’re obsessed with artist Douglas Hale after discovering him on Instagram. He creates clever collages that play with imagery he has found, colour and symbolism. Hale uses contemporary graphic styles to produce fantasy landscapes and unusual profiles. His artwork creates beautifully strange scenarios and often features well-known faces…

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs

Harem Aria

Harem Aria

Secrets

Secrets

Diana Ross

Diana Ross

Dawn Richard Album Art

Dawn Richard album art

Head to douglashale.net to view more

WOW! FESTIVAL PHOTO BOOTH

We were part of something magical that took place back on Sunday 13 March 2016… WOW! Women of the World was a festival that transformed the Southbank Centre into a space buzzing with creativity, conversation and female empowerment.

Our editor Alice Snape was there with photographer Eleni, who runs the wonderful Women with Tattoos blog, to chat to women about their tattoos. Here’s a glimpse of some of the inspiring women we chatted to…

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Hazel
“I was just 16 when I got an arrow on my ribs. The more tattoos I get, the more comfortable I feel in my body. It is mine and I have chosen the way it looks.”

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Carey
“I was 59 when I got my first tattoo. My daughter found Grace Neutral and I knew I had to collaborate with her. I see getting tattooed by her as a collaboration. She draws the designs on with a Sharpie and then tattoos over it. I find it a very interesting approach. I feel better about my body now than I ever have before. I love it because it is art.”

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Aisling
“I got my first tattoo at 24. It’s a feminist tattoo as a tribute to the women in my life. I’m very aware of women’s representation in the media, so I would never get traditional pin-up imagery tattooed on me. I wanted to be marked for life with something that has meaning to me.”

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Sian
“I was just 15 when I first got tattooed; it was on my hip. Since then, it’s been reworked by Woody at Into You, so I love it even more now. I find that women with tattoos are often fetishised. I get comments in the street and people ask me questions. I have a whole list of tattoo plans – they make me feel great about my body. I love my body anyway, but they make me feel even better about it.”

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Ella
“I was 17 when I got a lizard tattoo. The first was a big deal for me, it is self marking and controlling the way I look. We are already marked by so many things. Tattoos are a commemoration of something, somewhere, someone…”

You can view the full collection of images and quotes on the Women with Tattoos blog: part 1 and part 2.

 

Maia Flore Photography

French photographer Maia Flore creates beautiful surreal art that exists in a realm between reality and her imagination, her works are complete fabrications that focus on the sense of touch. In the collection Sleep Elevations (2010-2013) Flore presents girls who are entering into a new boundless surrounding, their contorted bodies portray their limitless imagination contrasted against their physical limitations…

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You, Me & Bones

27-year-old Waan Pivasiri is a candle maker and creator of You, Me & Bones in Melbourne, Australia. We chatted to Waan about what inspires her creepy and cute candles… 

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How long have you been making candles? You, Me & Bones’ third birthday will be at the end of April!

How did you start? What did you do before? It started as a hobby; I wanted to gift my friends one off hand-made products rather than things that are mass produced in a factory. I was a front end web developer at the time and after a year or so, I went part time so I can focus more on candle making. Then a year after that I went full time on You, Me & Bones!

Do you have a background in art? Not really, however, I’d like to think I’m pretty creative. I used to draw, paint, sketch and all that but I don’t think I was ever really good at it. I like all things crafty and I like making’things, I’ve been dabbling a little in cross stitching and well as pottery and I’m loving it!

What is the process behind each one? How do you make them? I brainstorm ideas of what I’d like to make then my sculptor Dan create a master for me and we go ahead and create molds off the cast. Sometimes we have to remake the cast if, say the candle won’t burn down nicely, etc, but most of the time it’s perfect. I then make candles out of the mold! The best bit is the first time you unmold your new design. I get super excited!

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What inspires you? Everything I create or want to create are the things and people I am fascinated with and would like to have in my own home. I find dolls so creepy but I just can’t pull away from them. I have a small collection of random doll parts but I have them tucked away so I don’t see them because sometimes they just weird me out so much. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but things that don’t make sense inspires me.

 Can you tell us about your own tattoos? Apart from my shoulder tattoo (which is also my favourite – done by Lee Stain from Inktricate), all my other tattoos are kind of hidden. They are mostly on my the front and sides of my thighs – I feel like they would hurt the least so I get tattooed there. My sculptor Dan Danckert is also a tattoo artist at Killer Bees Tattoos and he did a beautiful Victorian doll head candle on my thigh. I also have a lot of candle and cat tattoos on me!

Where can people buy them and do you do commissions? You can find my products on my webshop. You can also check out my Instagram for updates and the like. Unfortunately I normally don’t have time for commissions but it never hurt to send me a nice email to ask about it!

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Henrik Uldalen Solo Exhibition “Rapture” @ Last Rites Gallery

14 May – 3 July 2016
Opening Night Reception: 14 May 2016 @ 7pm
Last Rites Gallery
325 West 38th Street
New York, NY 10018 USA

Last Rites Gallery is pleased to announce Rapture, a solo exhibition of works by Henrik Uldalen, on view at 325 W 38th Street from May 14 – July 3, 2016. The opening reception will take place Saturday, May 14th at 7pm. The Norwegian figurative painter’s darkly rendered subjects are cloaked in a dense cloud of charged emotion. Uldalen’s people are often portrayed in frozen, near death-like moments of numbing pain. Yet, his exquisite paintings are ethereal and other worldly.

Henrik Uldalen’s subjects are meticulously produced. His brushstrokes are both expressionistic and invisible to the eye, and his palette of cold ice blues and beiges, ochres and light pinks, is a study in the aesthetics of extreme solitude and suffering. The psychological states Uldalen chases feature subjects who appear to be drifting away from consciousness. Indeed, Uldalen is painting the subtly shifting winds of the human storm – coming to terms with one’s own daimon, the emotional shadow that plays just off to the wings throughout our lives.

“Rapture” is the artist’s painful, but liberating metamorphosis from a set of classical influences he’s grown up with. These newest works, Uldalen says, prevail over the sensation of what he terms a “nihilistic void” that has always accompanied his intensely detailed and emotionally disorienting figurative oil paintings. This series works out a handful of seemingly personal but universal conflicts – from the navel gazing of Narcissus, hypnotized by his own reflection, to the struggles of mythological creatures such as the Minotaur – each indicative of a peculiar state of mind. Uldalen set himself the task of exploring the life-long endeavors of those who recognize they are trapped in the maze of their own ineluctable fates. Uldalen cathartically exorcized these emotionally torn humans with a powerful and clear poetry, a dirge-like refrain perceived in the stoic facial expressions of his male characters as well as the gracious yet dramatic eyes of his female figures. “My art has evolved quite a bit, since I started out painting. I was heavily influenced by classical representational art and Norwegian fairy tales. As a result, the paintings I made back then might be classified as “anachronistic.” While I’m still fascinated by classical art, I have moved away from neo-classical figuration – perfectionism – although what has not changed is the emotional impact my paintings are meant to have on viewers,” says the artist.

Uldalen begins each work with a photo shoot using models, then he experiments with a range of colors that seem to fit the skin tone and unendurable emotion he’s looking to explore. With the last series, Henrik abandoned a previous analytical and structural approach to painting in favor of one more fluid and less mapped out. His portraits are an attempt, he says, to be truer to himself – a looser, more open view towards humanity – but without any dilution of the craft and the expressive technique he’s mastered in the handling of paint.

Henrik Uldalen (b. 1986, Asker, Norway) is a figurative painter based in London, U.K. He has been featured in many publications, including HiFructose and American Art Collector. His work has been showcased across Europe, America and Australia. Uldalen has had group and solo exhibitions at Galleri Ramfjord, Olso, Norway; Thinkspace, Los Angeles, CA; Jonathan Levine Gallery, NYC; Corey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco, CA; Copro Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; BeinArt Gallery, Melbourne, AU; Last Rites Gallery, NYC and Spoke Art, San Francisco, CA.

Henrik Uldalen is also the creator of “Paintguide,” a wildly popular Instagram feed focused on contemporary painting. In 2015 Uldalen curated “Unit’s London Paintguide: the World’s First Instagram Show” for the Unit Gallery in London, UK.

Further info about the exhibition or the gallery, email info@lastritesgallery.com or call Casey Gleghorn (Gallery Director & Curator) at 570-447-5778.

Interview with Arianna Settembrino

Our Italian contributor Ilaria Pauletti chatted to Arianna Settembrino, who works out of her personal studio Skinwear Tattoo in Rimini about what inspires her and how she sees today’s tattoo culture…

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You were one of the first women to stand out in the tattoo world, not just here in Italy but in the world. How did you get to where you are now? I’m very proud of what I have become. My path, somehow, has always been characterized by great commitment and great sacrifice.
I am very self-critical, but very determined. When I was young, I can remember, being given the chance to work in a studio as an assistant/apprentice, and how I devoted all of myself to this job, making the most of everything I was required to do by my mentor.

If you weren’t a tattoo artist, what would you be doing now? Another great passion of mine is education. I would definitely like to work in the school environment, with particular attention to adolescents. I strongly believe in the value of rehabilitation and recovery- I would have probably worked on a project of rehabilitation and reintegration of young people when they leave juvenile detention centres.

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Do you believe that every tattoo artists chooses their tattooing style based on the characteristics of their own personality? It is absolutely true! The style of a tattoo artist and the characteristics of their work are an external representation of their character and of their essence. I would say that on one side we choose the style, and on the other one, the style chooses you.

Who and what inspires you? Is there any recurring themes in your art?
My sources of inspiration have always been tied to classical iconography of traditional tattoos, with bits of Victorian style and religion thrown in. I’ve definitely found my identity and style, and my own self-discipline and awareness have helped me to do this. I love anything form of art that is very graphic, futurist and Gothic or the brilliant works by Bosch- these intrigue and enchant me, even the music.

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What has changed since you started tattooing? What would you like to change and what would you never want to change? It has changed a lot. The tattoo world reflects significantly the society in which we live in and nothing is as it was then.

Tattooing has evolved so much, especially where technology and equipment are concerned. Social media has elevated tattoos to new heights, and more and more people are getting tattooed because of it. But on the other hand tattoos being so available has generated the false belief that a tattoo is easy- people think they’re cool and simple to create. It takes respect and awareness to be a good tattooer, nowadays no one respects the art or their customers. There are so many ‘famous’ tattooers that do not always know the meaning of ethics and professional conduct, and tattoo their face and hands with a carelessness that leaves me astounded. It is an already saturated environment, and in a way it is so widespread that it has lost value. This job is not for everyone, you have to earn it!

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Do you have a personal mantra that you live by?
My personal mantra is “I am present”. I use it every day, not just at work as I need to keep in touch with myself and stay centred.

What do you think of people who call themselves tattoo collectors? What I think of today’s tattoo collectors is that many of them are hurrying to fill up every little blank space, getting tattooed only by those branded and trendy tattooists. Their collection is not a true representation of a story, it hasn’t grown over time, with no life experiences instead it is a mere status symbol- a pre-packaged design. A visual impact that really makes me sick.

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 If we think of the first tattooed people, years and years ago, we understand that tattoo was seen as something wild, forbidden but fascinating. Considering this, how do you see the future of tattoo culture? If once tattooed people were seen as freaks and people paid a ticket to the circus to see them up close, well, today I would say that we have gone the other way. Today is just the non tattooed person to be something exceptional. It is both good and bad, nowadays many people are getting tattooed because everyone else has one! I hope the future of tattoo art will be positive and that it will flourish, I hope that quality will win against quantity.

Nicole Leth: Sex and Ice Cream

23-year-old Nicole Leth is an artist and designer based in Kansas City, Missouri. We chatted to Nicole about her self love journey and her new store which will celebrate the work of hard-working female creatives… 

How would you describe your style? My style is Katy Perry meets Marilyn Monroe meets Jeremy Scott meets Yayoi Kusama meets tween girl in America all wrapped up in a Miami in the 1970’s colour palate.

What inspires you? I am inspired by day to day life and everything that goes along with it. When I first started designing I pulled a lot of inspiration from past relationships and break ups and now I like to view my work as an autobiography or visual diary where I can talk about things I’m experiencing and going through as a 23 year old woman in the world today. I like to translate these ideas and emotions through traditional textile processes, imagery from my diaries, and colour play. I guess to sum it all up: I’m inspired by the notion that everyone has a valid and important story to tell regardless of their age or gender.

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When will your new shop open? How have you made this happen? Do you have a background in retail?  Ah! My shop is opening on May 6th! ( Eeeee! I’M SO EXCITED!) I’ve been working my way up in retail jobs for the past four years and just recently quit all my other jobs to do Sex + Ice Cream full time. How did I make this happen? Hard work. No bull shitting. I don’t take days off — when I was working my other jobs I would work there for eight hours and then come home at night and work on my own stuff for eight more hours, fall sleep on a pile of sewing supplies, wake up and do it all over again.  I think that sometimes people underestimate what it means to be an artist, let alone have your own business, and make it work. I think its super important to set goals for yourself and be your own support system.

What can people expect to see in it? I’ll be selling my pieces that I’ve designed over the years. Everything that is for sale on my online store you’ll also be able to buy in my shop! I’ll also be selling one of a kind items that I’ve hand sewn and hand painted the fabric of. Also, I’ve brought in a lot of work from some of my favourite brands and artists from around the world! Lots of ceramic pieces, zines, handmade panties, patches, pins, and all that jazz. I like to think of it as a badass collective of work made and designed by extremely talented female makers.

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Are there any artists that you’ll be collaborating with? I think collaborating is one of the most important and stimulating parts about being a practising artist. I’m working on a million different projects: doing surface design on clay pieces from ceramic artists, creating handmade candles in candle holders with a candle girl, working with photographers and video graphers to produce digital work, and with writers on zines!

On your website you say that your garments are your personal diary, what do you mean by this? I mean it in both a very literal and theoretical way. A lot of my pieces have imagery or doodles that have been scanned directly from my diary pages and printed on the fabric. Other pieces I literally treat as my diary and hand draw, write, or paint on the fabric to record what’s going on in my life, what is exciting me or making me sad. Designing garments is a way for me to express my words in a visual way.

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Do you see yourself as a feminist? Yes.

How do you hope to empower and inspire other women? I chose to start designing and creating clothing because I had gone through a bad break up and wanted to do something to empower myself and reclaim the person I knew I was. That was a pivotal, breakthrough moment for me and led me to discover something I was truly passionate about and a future that I wanted for myself. Most importantly, it made me realise how I strong I could be on my own, for myself. I think every women should feel that way — like they are capable of attaining anything in the whole goddamn world. I think the thing that a lot of women connect to in my work is the way I tell stories openly, without shame.
Recently, I’ve also been doing a lot of community work with young women’s organisations. I’ve done a few empowerment workshops where I tell my story, talk about relationships and ambitions, and create shirts with the girls.

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Is self love and body positivity important to you? Is it something you want to share? Yes. Its one of the driving forces behind my work and the stories I tell.

Can you tell us about your own self love journey? My self love journey has been a long one with lots of ups and downs. My childhood was filled with endless crash diets and gym memberships. At my thinnest I’ve weighed 120 pounds and at my heaviest I was over 200. I’ve been in relationships that were so tormenting I lost 50 pounds and I’ve been put on medicines that made me gain it all back. It was hard to have a healthy and accurate relationship with my body because it felt like something that was always changing and that I had no control over.

It took years and years and years but over the past two years especially I have developed an intense love and acceptance for my body. It feels really good to finally be content. I think its important to realize and understand that your body is something that cannot be labelled. That your health and self love is not something that can be determined by someone else. That your body is the one thing that has been with you since the beginning and helped you get through every hardship you’ve endured. That your body is beautiful and perfect as it is at this very moment in time.

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Can you tell us about your tattoos? Which was your first, do you still love it? My first tattoo is a big feather that turns into birds on my lower back. My father passed away when I was 17 so it was something I got for him. Since then, I’ve gotten a lot of tattoos — all of which have personal meaning to me. My tattoos act a lot like a diary as well — I get them to record exact moments in time, experiences, feelings that I never want to forget. I have a portrait of my cat Sprinkle on my forearm (she was the first pet I ever adopted on my own, she’s handicapped and the most loving cat I’ve ever had). I have a few matching tattoos with people who I love. I have a diamond tattooed on my ring finger (my love for myself will always be the most important, I will always belong to myself). I have tally marks on my hand counting how many people I’ve truly been in love with in my life (right now there are two, I hope to add more to it someday).

Alex Garant Art

Alex Garant aka. Queen of Double Eyes is a French Canadian artist known for her double-exposed oil paintings featuring beautifully haunting women. 

On her website Alex Garant paintings are described as:

[…] not far from a perfect optical illusion: her protagonists trying to escape themselves, almost possessed by a distinct version of their own individuality, an exorcism of the soul. The viewers shall try to unearth the main figure by focusing on making those multiples into one.

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Way Down

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The Longest Winter 

MakeBelieve

Make Believe 

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Fragments of her Mind