I got my first tattoo when I was 16: my ''initials'' in the Old English font. I have always been fascinated by tattoos ever since I can remember. My brother had tattoos and some people in my neighborhood had some. I always looked at them and thought it was so cool. Since my first tattoo I was hooked and didn't stop getting tattooed.
What made you pick up the machine yourself and how did you get started?
When I was 18 I dropped out of school because I didn't like what I was doing there, it just wasn't for me. At that time I was busy with more important things, which I thought were smoking weed and doing graffiti. I have been doing graffiti since I were 11 years old, so I have always been drawing. Around that time, when I was 18 or 19, I was starting to get more and more tattoos and I got really into it and got more and more fascinated by the whole scene and culture around it, but I never thought I could do it. At that time it was a very closed community and hard to step in to. Because of graffiti I met a guy who just started doing tattoos and doing graffiti. I was blown away by what he was doing and that was when I thought this is what I need to start doing. So I started going by shops and asked if they wanted to teach me, but nobody wanted to. At one point I just bought a machine and started practicing on friends. I was living in Leiden at the time and moved to Amsterdam when I was 21. When I moved to Amsterdam there were more options, because in Leiden there were almost no tattoo shops. So when I moved to Amsterdam a friend of mine just got an apprenticeship and I was just hanging around that shop all the time until the owner at one point asked me if I was interested in working there. So I started out cleaning and helping in the shop every day until I could start doing Tattoos . From there on it all really started. Shout out to Tattoo Nick for giving me this chance
What advise would you give people who want to get into tattooing?
Tattooing is really a craft so if you want to do it, it should be something you want more than anything in life. It takes hard work and a lot of time. You should just start looking at tattoos, draw a lot, and get tattooed yourself. And then try to get a real apprenticeship from a legit tattooer
What makes for a great tattoo? What’s the favourite one you own?
For me a great tattoo has strong line work, strong black work and if you do colors, don't use more than 5 colors in one tattoo. A favorite of my own is usually the last one I had gotten. I got a new one from Dan Albrigo this week. He is an American tattooer that I have been looking up to for years. So getting tattooed by him was great.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? How would you define your style?
My inspiration comes from almost everywhere. I really like strong images. I really like old cartoons like Mickey Mouse, Pink Panther and Fritz the Cat. I like bold and strong classic American tattoos, and I like Chicano West coast fine line tattoos. I always try to mix those 3 components up and make something out of that.
Have you ever tattooed famous people?
Uhmmm I don't really know what makes someone famous, as in to say I have tattooed a famous person. But I definitely have tattooed some people that I think are really cool. I have never tattooed big TV or music celebrities no. O, wait Method Man tattooed me once. That was pretty much a big highlight.
What’s the tattoo-scene in Amsterdam like? Have you seen development over the years?
the Tattoo-scene in Amsterdam is pretty good. There are a lot of good shops and good Tattooers. I get along with a lot of them so I must say it's a nice scene. Tattooing changed a lot over the last years because of TV programs like Miami ink and social media. But that counts for any subculture nowadays I think. It used to be a very closed community but now its very approachable. So that's good in the way it's more easy to get into Tattoos. And sometimes it's bad because it used to be a more mysterious culture.
Get In Where You Fit In, a tattoo-convention that you organize will be taking place this Saturday. Can you tell us a little about it?
The idea behind the convention came up because over the years I got to know a lot of great tattooers who I can call good friends now. And we like a good party and like to bring people together. So it's almost an excuse to get a lot of our friends together to have a fun day with Music,Tattoos, Drinks, Good food and after that a party. It was very important for us that the step to visit the convention is easy to make and approachable, so we made it Free entrance and for any age is welcome. Unless you get tattooed you have to be 18 of course.
The line up for GIWYFI consist of tattooers from Mexico, Scandinavia, UK and of course Holland. How did you meet everybody?
Over the years I got to work in some great shops and met a lot of different people. In tattooing it's very common to travel around and work in shops as a guest. I did that for many years, traveling around the world and working everywhere, and by doing so I made a lot of friends. So I'm happy to say I see everybody who is working at the Tattoo-jam as a friend.
What makes GIWYFI different from other tattoo-conventions?
It makes it different because it's more a get-together of people that we know closely and it's just 1 day and the focus is more on also the music and food aspect. The step to go is very low and it's just a fun place to hang out for a day, even when you don't get tattooed. Just have a beer and have a look.