Artists: DeLaine Neo Gilma
DeLaine Neo Gilma
Stichfreudig Tattoo Studio Zentralstrasse 24 8003 Zürich, Switzerland Web: Neolove.me Facebook: facebook.com/neotattoos What year did you start tattooing? I started in January 2000, new millennium, new life. How did you get into tattooing? I was always interested in Polynesian cultures and all those mysterious shaman and headhunter tattoos, so I designed some for myself and got them inked in the late 90s. I was studying industrial design during that time, which became pretty technically and economically orientated, so I needed something rude and archaic to bring me back to where I started, before I found myself designing light bulbs. So I was hanging around more in the tattoo studio of a good friend than at the university. One day Alex (who also did my first tattoos) asked me if I wanted to become his apprentice. It seemed obvious that industrial design wouldn’t be my way for the future, so I quit and did tattoos. What was your first shop experience like? The first shop I was in was pretty punk: small, dirty, and unprofessional. We had a good time there, but after a year or so it broke apart, too punk after all. Then Alex and I went to Stichtag (tattoo studio in Graz, Austria), where I was learning and working ‘til 2005. That was a fabulous time, maybe the best in my life so far. The first couple of years I was doing lots of graffiti work and graphic design to stay alive, so art was my 24/7 job. What is the tattoo scene like in Switzerland? In 2005 I moved from Austria (my homeland) to Switzerland, so I didn’t get the whole development of the scene here. But I heard that tattooing was illegal ‘til the late 80s or so. Swiss people do their developments really slowly (but thereby also really profoundly), so the jobs I had to do in the first shop I was in were mainly tribals, gothic letters, elves, stars and stuff like that. Even though the people here are rather old fashioned and don’t like changes, the good [tattoo] artists are recognized and valued, and their art is accepted as cultural influence. In 2010 we opened our shop in Zürich, Stichfreudig (which means something like “happy to sting”), which is a very cool place to work in. We are a no walk in studio, so people visiting us here are mostly open minded and look for the stuff I do. There are more and more people wanting the crazy stuff, so I guess the Swiss guys are evolving into exactly the customers I was always looking for. What conventions have you done recently or are planning to do this year? I’m going to the London convention in May 2014 and I really want to do the Kathmandu convention in Nepal in October. I’m also thinking about going to the Long Beach convention next year, but we’ll see. How do you describe your style? Geometric pattern orientated sci-fi graffiti style flavored with a heartwarming drop of comic characters and occult symbolism. What inspires you as an artist? I’ve been asked this one lots of times, and mostly I lose myself in listing up things of interest in my perception, like natural rock-structures, op art, ancient aliens or quantum physics (I like things that sound scientific). But in the end I guess it’s the same for all artists; it’s just an open eye and mind for everything. I mean, inspiration comes from things you like, things that impress you, things that frighten you, from whatever leaves an imprint in your soul so you want to explain it with your brain or enjoy it with your heart and that’s why I do the things I do. What sets you apart from other artists? I have a little squid in my head that pours out some ink once in a while. You can’t answer something like this yourself, that’s up to other people to decide How did you get involved with graffiti? I immediately fell in love with graffiti when I realized that this is something you can do by yourself, uncontrolled, no rules, no boundaries, no justification to anyone. I really enjoyed the task to modify that bureaucratic letter-system with my very own style, reinvent the alphabet and throw it in the world. It’s a rebel artistic protest, aggressive and wild, but silently done (ninja style) in darkness and anonymity. Perfect for me! I started in 1994 and gave myself my new name NEO that I still use today for all of my artistic output. What tattoo artists do you admire most? I really like Aivaras Lee. Of course, I like Gerhard Wiesbeck for his amazing black work and all the other artists that share a passion for geometry, like Nazareno or Roxx. But it’s the artists I don’t understand that impress me the most, like Marcin Surowiec. And I totally admire Bartosz Panas. Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do? Don’t ask me why, but I always wanted to do a container ship, the whole thing, as big as possible. I’m also a huge Star Wars fan, but in 13 years of tattooing I’ve merely done one Darth Vader! So if you’re looking for a Star Destroyer on your chest, give me a call! Besides that I have vast amounts of patterns that I built during the last 15 years, and I won’t stop inking ‘til I’ve done every single one of them! What has been one of the strangest tattoos you’ve ever done? A pretty strange but very cool one was an ant-trail from the toe over the back to the palm of the hand. The ants were carrying lots of wicked things over that girl’s body. Most people would think doing a straight line across the body is strange, but for me writing your own name or doing a fairy on a flower is far more strange.