You started studying Graphic Design in Rhode Island then moved to Switzerland. What was that transition like and how did it effect your development as a designer and artist?
When I was 14, I started to develop my own style based on geometry, and never stopped since then. At the age of 17 I did a pre-college summer program at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and it really did confirm my choice to study art. Then, when I got back in Europe, I applied to several different art schools, and chose l’École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ÉCAL) in Switzerland. The transition went really well, I always wanted to learn from different cultures, and I was really interested by the american and swiss education system.
What where some of your struggles and epiphany moments – going from graphic designer to tattoo artist.
I never worked as a Graphic Designer, I only studied it. I never wanted to become a graphic designer, I just wanted to do art. I needed to learn the tools so I could use them in my artworks as well as in tattooing today. I had to learn a lot from computers to be able to create more complex patterns and geometric shapes that I could do by hand. All the designs I tattoo are done by computers. I have created more than a thousand designs this year that I tattoo and print. This is also why I wanted to learn the different techniques of printing like woodblock printing, screen printing, letterpress, engraving that I wanted to use in my artworks. Finally, I learned a lot from all the art-history and photography classes we had. After I had learned how to use all these tools, I mixed them all together and use them now on a daily basis.
When you are not designing or tattooing what are some things we might find you doing in your spare time?
I work a lot, so basically, when I am not designing, I am tattooing, and when I’m not tattooing I am designing (laugh)… My girlfriend is studying art history, so we use the few days off we have to travel around Europe and visit art museums. We both love to travel and discover new cities and cultures, so we try to do so anytime we can. My family is very important to me, they all live in Paris now, so I try to visit them as much as I can too. I am also working on some different personal art projects when I’m not tattooing or getting tattooed on my free time.
You have a love for Optical arts & the Folk Arts. Are there specific artists that you admire most and why? Are there any modern day artists that you enjoy, pull inspiration from?
When I was 12, I saw a painting from Victor Vasarely, my love for his work never stopped growing and influencing me. I remember that day as it was yesterday, and it literally changed my way of seeing geometry. He is considered as being the one who invented the Op Art movement in 1938 with a painting called Zebra which is one of my favorite.
I am inspired by many other artists too, like Jesùs-Rafael Soto, Julio Le Parc, Piet Mondrian, François Morellet, Bridget Riley, Philippe Decrauzat, Timo Nasseri, Jean-Pierre Yvaral… these are some of the artists that inspired me the most in my artworks!
As for tattooing, Xed LeHead, Matt Black, Tomas Tomas, Kenji Alucky, Nassareno Tubaro, Gerhard Wiesbeck, Roxx, Curly, Peter Madsen, Leo Zulueta, Hanumantra, Calen Paris, Jeroen Franken, Thomas Hooper, Jondix, Patrick Hüttlinger and of course Mr Filip Leu for his unique way to work with the human body. I had the chance to meet almost all of them, and also spend some time watching them at work. These are just few of them, and I could list so many others… The amount of incredible artists there is in this world never stops astonishing me, I invite you to check out all their work.
When starting a design or tattoo what is your creative process from start to finish?
The only way to book an appointment is to contact me through my website. There is a list of questions and information about how I work that I ask people to read and answer to.
I mainly work on large scale projects that take several sessions. What interest me the most in tattooing is to work with the body, play with its distortions and movements.
I ask my clients to come at 10:30am the day of the first appointment, we usually sit down, have some coffee and start talking. As I said before, I draw a lot, so first we go through all my patterns and designs and start thinking about what we are going to do. Once we chose the design(s) I measure the part of the body we are going to tattoo and scale the design(s) on my computer before printing it for it to connect perfectly with the body part. Once we stenciled everything, we mark it all with dots. I care a lot about details, so the first session is very long and is more about tailoring that tattooing (laugh). I mainly tattoo what I design myself but sometimes I also use some sacred geometry patterns and mix it with my designs if the customer ask so.
I like to work full days and give my entire focus on one customer a day. The relationship I build with my customer is very important to me and is inevitable due to the time we spend together. I am very lucky to have found great friends in some of my clients and I have learned a lot from each and every one of them. Some of my clients told me that they first expected a tattoo from me, but ended up having a human experience, I really do feel the same way. I am very grateful and lucky to have that many people giving me their trust and the possibility to work on large scale projects.
You have an amazing collection of ink yourself. Can you tell us a little about your tattoos and artists you have worked with.
Thank you very much. I got my very first tattoo on my upper back when I was 17. It’s a simple geometric shape based on a triangle and circle, and it’s still one of my favorite. Three years ago (21) I started getting my full back/ribs/butt tattooed by Maud Dardeau at Tintin Tatouage in Paris. It took about a year to finish it. Then, two years ago I met Matt Black who worked with Xed Lehead at Divine Canvas in London and it all started (laugh). You can now find him at Good Times Tattoo in London. Matt and I got along really well together, and I started getting heavily tattooed by him and learning from him. He started working on me a year and a half ago, and we still have more to do. I owe everything I know about dotwork to Matt Black and Xed Lehead and I will forever be grateful for what they taught me.
The two artists I chose were either in Paris or London, so as I couldn’t travel too much we were working most of the time two or three days on the row, 8 hours a day. This allowed me to learn a lot really fast too, and this is also why I got so much work done that quick. As I was still studying until a year ago, it has been a lot of work to study, travel to get tattooed, learn how to tattoo and work to pay for it, but it has been a lot of fun!
The 1st of July 2014, I opened a little private tattoo shop in Biel/Bienne, in the center of Switzerland and started tattooing full time, so it’s pretty new and there is still everything to do!