If you’ve had your eyes glued to This Life, you’re probably thinking, “Fuck i swear that they posted this before”, and you would be right. This interview went live for about 5 minutes before i realised it messed with the whole lay out of the site, so once again i present you, Bunshin Horitoshi.
Upon reading this interview you may notice some spelling mistakes and strange sentence structure, keep in mind that as Horitoshi is from Japan, while his English is excellent, some of our words don’t translate to Japanese and vice versa. With me being the ignorant Westerner that I am, my Japanese is limited to, “Hello”, “Good Bye”, “Thank You” and all the words to the children’s song, “London Bridge is Falling Down” – So with out his excellent multi-linguistic skills this interview would never have happened!
On that note, I decided that I would leave the interview exactly as he sent it to me with out changing any thing to make it easier to read in English.
I would again like to extend my gratitude and thanks to Horitoshi for taking the time to be a part of this, you truly are one of the modern day masters!
What initially got you involved in art, and how did that lead you in to becoming a tattooist ?
My mother took me art classes when i was kid and father gave me a lot of art stuff. I had a lot of friends who has tattoo . I was interesting about tattoo then .My friends had tattoo by Filip Lu, Luke Atkinson etc..So I was in good peoples for knowing tattooing.
Favourite medium to work with apart from tattooing and why?
I’m using orange pencil ,blue pencil and black pen for drawing. I have used marker for loose drawing.
Who taught you to tattoo, and how have they had any effect on your style today?
My teacher had taught me tebori style which i have continued up to this day.
And in saying that, how have your styles evolved since you began tattooing?
I began using machine for outlining.I still continued to do shading by Tebori.
What are your thoughts on Japanese tattooing and imagery widely used through out the Western world?
I appreciate peoples interest in Japanese culture.but it has became Westernized.
Japan has a different history of tattooing . Although it used to have a negative image .I think that is changing.
How do you think certain “reality” tattoo shows on TV have effected tattooing on a broad scale?
I enjoy watching them for fun.But I don’t think it shows the real tattooing process.
You use the Tebori method to tattoo, what are the advantages of hand poking opposed to using a machine? Do you use machines at all?
I was doing all by hand until 4 years ago (outlining, shading ,and color)Recently I have been using machine for outlining .I think colors stay longer with tebori .And healing is quicker.But it takes longer than machine.
How many of your customer actually finish their hand poked tattoos due to the pain?
Most of my customer are still in the process of completely their tattoos.
Greatest accomplishment as an artist/ tattooist?
I can’t choose.
No doubt you have seen some pretty fucked tattoo’s in your time, what is the worst tattoo you’ve ever seen?
I wont say the question, I wouldn’t want to hear someone else comment on my works for bad things.
Favourite place to relax and chill out?
Probably my home.
What was your first tattoo, and who did it?
A tiger on my arm from an elder tattooer.
Describe the latest piece you’ve been working on.
A snake on whole head. im using mostly black and grey with some limited colors. bold line and solid colors, smooth shading.
What’s in your pockets right now?
What are your views/opinions on the World and Society today?
Economies suck everywhere.
Name 5 things you always take with you on your travels.
Cellphone,underwear,back pack,ID,japanese YEN.
How much has tattooing changed since you began, and where do you see it going in the future?
Peoples wanna be tattooer a lot than before. It’s going to survival.
Advice to aspiring artists/tattooists?
Just enjoy your life.
Anything in the mix or coming up that we should know about?
I want to try moving somewhere besides Japan for getting new experience .I will know more Japan after that.
Thanks for taking your time to read this. Enjoy Japanese tattooing!! Cheers!
Word association, you know the deal, say whatever comes to your mind when you read the word.
Australia – Great Barrier Reef, beef, koala, kangaroo, Ayers Rock.
Kevin Rudd – Sorry I have no ideas…
Japan – Zipangu
Yukio Hatoyama – Done…
America – Freedom
Obama – President, pioneer.
Religion – Buddhism.
Time – is money
Greed -Double edged sword
Humanity – Human
Peace- – Peace
Freedom – I needed!
Tattooing – Irezumi.
Art – Huge.
Life – Story.
Happiness – Keep finger crossed!!