Bits and pieces..
So i’m the new recruit here at This Life, and i’m pretty stoked to be a part of it. I’ll help these chums post on, well whatever. Skateboarding, Music, Art, everything This Life, in my life. Here are some photos I took at the House vs Hurricane and Antagonist AD gig in Ballarat at the Karova lounge, Both are really sick bands with a raw, positive attitude to hardcore, and really good live.
Meet Johan, AKA Big Fat Joe. Johan is not really big, nor is he fat, but he is a damn fine tattooist.
I’m really digging how he puts his own spin on “traditional” tattooing opposed to churning out the same shit that everyone else does.
Johan tattoos at Art By Fafnir, in Stockholm, Sweden.
Check out Joe’s Myspace HERE
Thank you for your time dude, what’s been happening?
No problem. I’ve been tattooing my ass of and playing records in the weekends. I’m just starting up a new Rhythm and Blues club called Rhythm Shack here in Stockholm and sorting out what conventions to go to this year.
For those who don’t know, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure. I’m a 34 year old married tattooer and DJ from Sweden. I have been tattooing for almost 3 years, so i am still pretty new at it. Before that I worked with computers so i’m really glad I changed my path in life. Haha.
How does a typical day in your life usually unfold?
On a typical day I get up at nine, get a shower and pet the cats. After that i walk in to the studio to draw the tattoos for the day and have a quick salad. The work all day til seven or eight, clean my gear and sterilise and finally walk home. That’s my weekday. On the weekend I play rockabilly records in bars and drink a few beers.
What initially got you involved in art, and how did that lead you in to becoming a tattooist?
I have always been fascinated by my dad’s old tats and my mom’s painting and when I turned 18 I walked into a studio with a drawing in my hand and got my first tattoo done. Through the years i got more and started to draw tats for friends, but i still didn’t realise I could become a tattooer. One day i got the chance to tattoo an tattooer and instantly got hooked!
Favourite medium to work with apart from tattooing and why?
My favourite medium is water colour and ink on paper.
Who taught you to tattoo, and how have they had any effect on your style today?
At first it was Tomaz at Diablo Tattoo here in Stockholm. He showed me the basics and helped me into the business. Then Porky Pete and Jolly Jonny from my present studio took over and showed me more about traditional tattooing. Both of those guys take tattooing old school to a new level. That showed me that you don’t have to do what is expected. Today my style is still evolving with more and more motion and detailing in my motives
I guess you could say Tattoo’s have become accepted in today’s society, possibly even expected, obviously there being more people for you to tattoo is a good thing, but do you think there is a downside to it?
The downside is that everyone wants to be a tattooer these days, without having to put in the hard work. And yes it is hard work. Not the rock’n’roll star life you see on TV.
How do you think certain “reality” tattoo shows on TV have effected tattooing on a broad scale?
It definitely has gotten more people interested in my favourite art form, not necessarily in a good way though.
What’s been pumping through your speakers lately?
Old style Rhythm and Blues from the 40s and 50s
Greatest accomplishment as an artist/ tattooist?
Making people a bit more happy
No doubt you have seen some pretty fucked tattoo’s in your time, what is the worst tattoo you’ve ever seen?
Hahaha yes! I think I have to go with a fantastic attempt to go a portrait of a beautiful girl. Just google “ugly portrait tattoos” and see for yourself. Haha
Favourite place to kick it?
At Vampire Lounge. The best cocktails in town!
What are your thoughts on the resurgence of traditional tattooing?
I just love it. We have some really good traditional tattooers here is Sweden that do the coolest stuff.
What was your first tattoo, and who did it?
It was a pattern that i’m removing now. Made by the apprentice of the legendary Doc Forest called Morty.
What inspires you to create?
My clients and their strange ideas!
What’s in your pockets right now?
Coins, a comb, my wallet and a memory stick
What are your views/opinions on the World and Society today?
It’s going too fast
Name 5 things you couldn’t live without.
How much has tattooing changed since you began, and where do you see it going in the future?
I haven’t been tattooing for such a long period of time but it seem to be going more towards realistic, colour and custom. So my advice to aspiring artists is work hard, because a lot of tattooers are really goooood.
Word association, you know the deal, say whatever comes to your mind when you read the word.
Australia – Really big country, nice beaches, big cities and fantastic wild life. Good
rockabilly bands and great traditional tattooers from what i’ve seen
Kevin Rudd – Who? (Exactly!! – Ben)
America – Home of the blues. Just went there for my honey moon
Obama – The president right?
Religion – Leads to wars
Time – Good thing to help you keep track of stuff
Greed – Sad to see
Humanity – Mostly nice
Peace – That would be something
Freedom – Is sweet
Tattooing – My passion and job
Art – Expression
Life – Must exist somewhere else as well
Well well well, it seems like an age since i last updated! I hope everyone had a radical festive period, everything will be back to normal from this end from now on, and it’s safe to say that 2010 is going to a massive year for This Life!
I thought with Bryan being my tattooist i’d take the chance do this interview in person, so when the ever amazing and beautiful Nicky went up to get some work done on her leg i came along with computer and camera in hand.
Brian is an incredible artist as well as an incredible tattooist, perhaps the biggest testament to his abilities as an artist and a tattooist is that in the two and a half or 3 years i’ve been getting tattooed by him, not once has he done a tattoo on me that wasn’t freehand – fucking rad.
Bryan tattoos at his shop, Conspiracy Ink in Wagga Wagga, hit him up and go get tattooed!
When did you first discover your talent for art, and how did that lead to you becoming a tattooist?
Fuck, I dunno! I was in Grade 7 at school, it was raining and i had nothing to do, so i copied a picture out of a book at school and thought, fuck that was easy. I’ve always drawn, I never really pursued tattooing until I was 30, I just thought it’d be a way better job than driving trains.
Who did you apprentice under?
I did the apprenticeship of hard knocks hahaha. .I taught myself.
Internal graphics in Brisbane, 23 years ago.
I guess you could say Tattoo’s have become accepted in today’s society, possibly even expected, obviously there being more people for you to tattoo is a good thing, but do you think there is a downside to it? And in saying that, what effect do you think reality TV programs have had?
I think a lot of people use tattooing to be cool, there are a lot of people getting tattooed simply because they saw someone else with it and think that it looks cool.
Every dick around the world now thinks they are Ami James or Chris Garver, now with tattoo machines being so accessible on the internet, everyone thinks that they can tattoo, they realise they can’t and sell the shit to their mates, and it continues..
What tattooists do you admire and look up to?
Guys like Filip Leu, Brian Everett, Jack Rudy …The guys that started Black and Grey…Jack Rudy was one of the guys that got black and grey Chicano jail orientated tattoos started, Freddy Negrette is another one.
Favourite Style to tattoo?
Anything but tribal, hahaha. .Japanese and black and grey.
Favourite medium, apart from tattooing?
Water colour, a bit of acrylic, i’m not really a painter as such, I never really ever learnt. When I was working in Holland, was the first time I ever had anything to do with painting, and that’s because all the guys I worked with were into all sorts of painting, be it oil, acrylic, whatever. Mr Wasabi got me into doing water colours he did a lot of traditional water colours. So many people over there that do that sort of stuff, A friends wife in Holland is an art teacher and she always encouraged me to get into painting
I just paint whatever is in my head. A lot of my paintings are oriental themed, and Asian influenced…That’s probably why I’m in Thailand so much..Hahahaha…
What’s been pumping through the speakers lately?
I’m in to lots of difference music, old school heavy metal, stuff like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, I still like guys like the Foo Fighters, Rockabilly heaps of shit…I have a wide variety of stuff i listen to, lots of Blues, Pink Floyd, even country.
Greatest accomplishment as an artist?
Being asked to go to America to work with Brian Everett for a few summers.. I also worked with Greg Skibo in Fort Collins ,Colorado for 3 months at a time..Brian was trying to get a visa for me so i could go over more permanately, but after finding out after all the bullshit you had to go through I thought fuck it and came home.
You’ve been tattooing for a long time, you must have seen some pretty fucked up tattoos, what’s the worst one you’ve seen?
I’ve seen some shit, but there is a shop here, basically the “tattooist” was a hairdresser who has decided that there is more money in tattooing than in hairdressing….Yeah their stuff is worse than a lot of backyard tattoos…But these days anyone can get a tattoo kit from china and that’s fucked…It’s definitely contributed to a lot more shit tattoos out there.
What are your thoughts on the Australian tattoo scene, compared to the rest of the world?
The Aussie tattoo scene is definitely getting better, a lot of new young dudes are doing some amazing work, and even a lot of the older guys are still pumping out some amazing work. The art work has definitely improved because the younger blokes are more willing to travel and witness different scenes and places…And that has definitely led to it improving.
What was your first tattoo, and who did it?
My first tattoo was a Harley Davidson tattoo, What was the guys name…I think it was John Hammond who worked in Goulburn years and years ago. I later got it covered by Fran Stinton. She has a shop in SA somewhere..
What are you doing when you don’t have a tattoo machine in your hand?
Riding my bike when the fucking sun is out, hahaha…Painting, not so often lately though.
What are your views/opinions on the World and Society today?
My opinions on the world and society today, hmm Society sucks. The world would be a lot better place without religion, that’s one fuckin’ thing. I don’t understand people and the bullshit that comes with religion..
What would you be doing if you weren’t tattooing?
I’d probably spend a lot more time in Thailand…hahah no, I dunno. What would I do, hmmmm, id be probably a lot fucking madder than I am now, hahaha. I really don’t know what I’d be doing
Advice to aspiring tattooists?
Ummm, fuck, advice, hmmm, get someone to teach you to teach you and to teach you properly.
Got anything in the mix that we should know about?
Going to go work at surf ink with rhys Gordon from Innervision, up on the Gold Coast in January. I was going to head over to Switzerland next year as well so hopefully i can make it over. Lots of holidays to Thailand…hahahaha
Get tattooed. Get tattooed, or get out.
All around us
Another fucking liar
No comment. Hahaha.
There is none.
Only a small amount of that too.
That’s my religion
Too fucking short
Dean and Tom have been once again, succeeding at life, The TTB contingent headed out to Jacko Strong’s Ranch for a ride last weekend, Tom and Jarryd McNeil on the bikes and Dean behind the lense.
The pics of Dean skating were shot by Georgia Barrett at Wagga skatepark, thanks dude!!
On another note, i am now also writing for JP’s Fresh Bread, my posts there will be different to what i post here, so be sure to check that out as well.
Tommy Rob stretching out