Artists: Benjamin Laukis
Pure Vision Tattoo
272 Johnston Street
Abbotsford VIC 3067
+61 3 9486 0030
What year did you start tattooing?
How did you get into tattooing?
I actually didn’t ever consider being a tattoo artist, until one day my tattooist and friend, Neil Braithwaite, offered me an apprenticeship, as his old apprentice had left. I thought it over for a day or two, as I had just finished another apprenticeship in sheet metal, but decided tattooing was a career I could enjoy.
What was your first shop experience like?
My first studio was Coolum Tattoo in Queensland, Australia. It was kind of small, but it was more like a family, great crew and always a laugh to be had. Here was where I learned to tattoo. I am very grateful for my time there, to my mentor and clients, but I had to get the fuck out of there after 4 years. This was the town I also grew up in. I have since moved to Melbourne and haven’t looked back!
Do you have any special training?
I haven’t had any formal training in art, but I have been a graffiti writer for the past 11 years. I do wish to attend art classes once I can find the time to do so, but this time currently eludes me unfortunately.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards? What are some of your best convention memories?
In the past year I have worked at quite a few conventions, I’m trying to get around to as many as possible. It’s great publicity and always awesome to meet new artists, especially those I look up to. I’ve won a bunch of awards and done a gang of shows, too many to go through, but here’s some. The Rites of Passage here in Melbourne was awesome, in which I picked up a few awards, as with the Melbourne Expo. The Sydney Expo was great as well; I picked up “Artist of the Show” in Sydney this year. I also worked Crazy AITS here in Melbourne picking up a “Best of Day,” as well as a “Best Portrait” at the UK Tattoo Jam late last year. Myself and the Inkjecta crew just came back from a trip to the Rock ‘N’ Ink convention in Germany in which I picked up a “Best of Day” and then stopped by L.A to work the Ink- N-Iron festival on the way home. It’s been a really great year hanging out with friends and just having fun doing what I love.
How do you describe your style? Neo Baroque?
I’m not quite sure; I just try to make my tattoos look like they are painted to an extent, and use of a lot of shadows and harsh light. I like my work to take on a more serious look, I use a lot of black, which holds well, and also helps with making colors pop more. Contrast and lighting is the key.
What inspires you as an artist?
I am inspired by everything and anything: nature, romance, death, music. Fine artists like Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Reni, as well as contemporary artists like Hussar, Kassan and Llewellyn, to name a few, are always very inspiring. And even more so, seeing my friends do awesome work always pushes me to better myself. And my girlfriend, although she dislikes being the center of attention, I do love drawing and painting her.
What sets you apart from other artists?
If anything sets me apart from anyone else, it’s dedication. My life is tattooing, my holidays are travelling to tattoo conventions. Obviously there is an element of talent needed to progress in any field, but without persistence and dedication you might as well pack it in. That’s where my mates help out a lot, as they have the same mind frame and we feed off each other.
What other mediums do you work in?
I usually just sketch, with mechanical pencil. But I recently began painting in oils, which is quite the task, having no idea what I’m doing. But luckily I have some friends who know their stuff! I also use aerosol, but I can’t really class graffiti as art, although it has become quite popular and more recognized in the past few years.
What tattoo artist’s do you admire most?
Some of my favorites are Den Yakovlev, Carlos Torres, Kelly Doty, Nikko Hurtado, Dmitriy Samohin, Carlos Rojas, George Mavridis, Silvano Fiato, and Randy Engelhard More people like Chris Schmidt, Domantas Parvainis and Rember Orellana are doing crazy things; as well as fellow Australians: Tater Tatts, Bumer, Insamnia, Dave Olteanu, Fabz, Emily Rose, Mick Squires and many more.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I’m always looking forward to realism and portrait work. I like portraits as I like being restricted; I like the challenge of having to make it look exactly like the reference, but still maintaining your own style to the piece. It’s a fine balancing act. I sometime get the urge to do outlined tattoos, and then change my mind once I start with the liner. I definitely prefer a softer look to my work.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
Research the artist and pick the right person for the piece you have in mind, or if you find an artist you really like, just let them do something that they have in mind. Giving the artist freedom always gets the best from them.
What was one of your favorite pieces to tattoo?
I have many pieces that I like, due to different reasons, but one of my favorites is a black and grey full back piece of a girl in bond- age, accompanied by a skull and some cubist slash/junctures on my good friend and crazy tattooer Matthew Bumer Joyce.