First steps

About me:

I`m thirty years old, living in a city in the south of Germany and I got the chance to learn to be a tattooer. That means no scratching around in the skin of my innocent friends, no tattooing at home, but learning it step by step in a credible studio.

Before I started this new (not so much of a) career, I studied American Studies and finished with a master degree, working in a skate shop all the time to make ends meet. After university I continued to work there as a store manager, so I`m not so much of a dreamy artist, more of an educated moron. I`ve always been drawing, I got my first tattoo one day before my eighteenth birthday and I used to follow different genres of art, from comics over modern design to classic art from my early teens on. But seriously, skateboarding was the one great influence: The graphics on the boards, the layout of the magazines, the all around open mindedness, the different styles and personalities, the music … believe me, I listen to music religiously. I cannot survive a single day without listening to it, the vast range of artists keeps me searching through record stores every week. …INSPIRATION!!!

So now I hopefully will become a tattoo artist and I have two amazing personalities to teach me:

Oli, owner of the studio, proud son of the working class, self taught tattooer, inventor of his own style and a loud, foulmouthed motherfucker. He is all you think of when you think of a tattooer: A big chunk of a man with mean tattoos, he loves his metal-soundtrack loud and his motorbike fast. He adores his family and he will kick your ass if you don`t behave… but most of the time he is the one to make everybody laugh, with a bag of jokes, strange noises and funny faces. Still he has a brilliant mind and knows more than I ever learned in university… I still am a little scared of him.

The other tattooer, Billy, is the perfect mismatch to Oli. He is a skinny, silent guy with a calm and friendly behavior. He is almost shy, stays away from parties and people in general, he rather paints or goes skating by himself. He only tattoos for three years, but he is one of the best guys in this area… I`m always happy to share a cup of coffee with him and talk.

So here we go, I`ve got a lot to learn.

Week 0

I had an appointment in the early autumn of 2010 in the Studio to finish my sleeve. Waiting for my turn, I flipped through their guestbook and noticed everybody just scrawled in a short note like “Good luck” or “Thanx”, using up entire pages, so I decided to draw something in there. I ended up doing a skull with crossed pens and a banner saying “keep going!” Billy came by, looked at it and said: “Put more emphasis on the outlines” but he made Oli look. He took a short look and said something like, “Yeah, that`s balls!” Later he invited me to come by and show him some of my sketches, which I did. Olilooked at my stuff and was like: “…not perfect, but there sure is some talent, why don`t you come here once in a while and learn something?” Of course I happily agreed, becoming the factotum of the store and I drew my ass of.


Meanwhile the situation in the skate shop got out of hand and after more than ten years there I finally quit. After a short talk to Oli he accepted me as his new disciple, not without warning me that I`d go through a lot of shit, that my life would drastically change but with the promise of him taking good care of me. So there I went into a new part of my life.

Song of the week: FUGAZI-Arppeggiator

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~ by gravesnbg on May 16, 2011.

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