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The art and the style
of tattoos of Nicklas Westin

November 2015
Photos: Nicklas Westin
All rights reserved

Exclusive interview
with the artist Nicklas Westin

TM: What is your name?

- Nicklas Westin

This is your real name or codename artistic?

- There is one letter that is changed, but the pronunciation is exactly the same so...both

TM: What is your nationality?

- Swedish

TM: What is your age?

- 45

TM: What city do you live and work?

- Barcelona, Spain

TM: Why did you choose tattooing as a profession?

- I had insisted for years that I was going to be an artist and when I got to try to tattoo I was hooked.
I had had the impression that the tattoos came out the only way the tattoos I had seen looked, so when I saw the bright colors and fine lines, I got, as I said: Hooked.


TM: Are you a tattooist and painter?

- Yes, I painted and drew since I was a kid and to be honest, there is less time for that since I started to tattoo, but I get all the art as I need out of my head through tattooing anyway.

TM: Did you do any art school?

- Yes, 2 years in secondary school.

TM: Are you self taught?

- Mostly. I picked up important lessons from art school, but also from tattoo artists I worked with along the years, mostly pointers, so otherwise I am self taught.

TM: How many years you work with tattoo?

- I have worked 25 years doing tattoos, doing my very first tattoo in 1988, but not starting professionally until a few years later.

TM: What is your working method?

- I collect all ideas and references from the client and then look at the size of the area available to me for realising the tattoo. Then I decide for what I will use photo references and what I will draw myself.
Then I scan the drawings and put it together in photoshop with possible photo references.
I do the initial part of the whole project this way, after that I start over with the other parts.
I do it this way to not rush the whole design; to keep the possibility open for changes, which always comes after working on the tattoo some. I like to keep the process open and alive, letting possible new ideas enter into the tattoo as I see it developing.


TM: What is your favorite style?

- I like to mix close to-realism with japanese style, modernising it a bit, so I am no purist.

TM: What is the connection that exists between the painter and tattoo artist?

- I guess that there are just technical differences between them. Both enjoy expressing themselves creating images on a 2 dimensional surface using ink or paint. Clearly there are more differences if you go into detail, but the similarities are more significant. The core is the same.

TM: Is there any special work you did? (as if to say: "I really enjoyed this work")

- There are so many. For every tattoo I do, I think: "This is my best work" , but I end up liking all of it equally the same.

TM: You have several tattoo machines? What machine do you prefer: rotary or electric?

- Today I only use rotary machines, the coil machines got too heavy for my hands 5 years ago, so I switched to rotaries. It was a real life saver to be honest, I could not do more than 3-4 hours before I switched to rotaries, before my hand started to hurt. I mainly use the Electra and Sublime from Paulo Fernando, and Dragonfly by Inkmachines.

TM: What are your favorite artists?

- My all time favorite artist is H.R.Giger, but then there are many others of course: Salvador Dali, Trevor Brown, Miss Van, etc. The tattoo artists that has had the biggest impact on me/my style is Filip Leu, Shige, Guy Aitchison etc. The tattoo artists whose work I enjoy most today is Mike Dorsey, Phil Garcia, Jess Yen, Jeff Gogue, and a whole bunch more, the list would be long!

TM: What is your opinion about the tattoo market today?

- I think it is great that it still is growing, which it has since the day I started making tattoos.
The increase in tattoo material developers makes the competition harder which increases the quality on the products. The tattoo ink is much better today and I was so relieved to not having to solder my own needles after doing it for so many years, haha. On the other hand it has become much easier for anyone buying equipment which create a whole new level of scratcher work that somebody will have to eliminate through laser or by covering it up with something better, which is a major annoyance for most professional tattoo artists.


TM: The facebook has helped tattoo artists?

- Yes, absolutely. Social media in general has only been helpful for everyone that want to promote their work.
Before, you were dependent on tattoo magazines to get your work out to many people, or you would have to do loads of conventions every year to show your work. Today you just need a camera/computer and do a few mouse clicks and everyone in your circles can enjoy it instantly.


TM: Do you have a tip for those starting in the profession of tattooist?

- Try to draw as much as you can and study how light hit objects in photos and look at the solutions of other artists in what you are trying to improve. And don't be in a rush, it will take much time to get to a decent level of quality, and most of it can be practiced on plain paper with a simple pen.

And always respect the opinion of your clients, but never let it affect your work negatively, so rather than compromising when you know it will have a negative impact on the result, decline to do the job if you can't convince them to do what you know will be the best for the tattoo.


TM: How is your agenda? With long queue waiting for?

- I will stop booking many months into the future and try to keep the agenda more open for possible projects but it will be difficult since there is a pressure on me to do a lot of stuff. I will try to keep it at around 6 months, but we will see how it goes.

TM: How can people do to get in touch with you and get a tattoo?

- Email me at nicklaswestin.consulting@gmail.com or reach me at Facebook by messages.

 

 


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