Artists: Johan Finné
What year did you start tattooing?
I started as an apprentice in 1995.
How would you describe your style?
I have always been interested in all styles. I love combining stuff. I think it was more than 10 years ago that I started to mix them. I tried to combine oriental, comic, and realistic, but every style needed to be changed a bit for it to work together. The oriental was not so oriental; the realistic was not so realistic; and the comic, not so comic. I was breaking a few rules and improvising to find new things. Then later introducing surrealism into it just felt natural.
What kind of imagery do you mostly enjoy doing?
I love to do everything because otherwise I get a bit bored. At the moment I have done a bit too much oriental and realistic so I’m really looking forward to going into some biomech again. I go into periods when I do more of one style and then I change to something else. I’m trying to always find new angles to approach a tattoo to make it different. But my heart goes out to realistic/surreal and oriental if I had to choose.
Do you enjoy incorporating realism like portraits into your work or do you prefer to create your own characters?
I love realism. I don’t mind doing baby portraits, but of course the darker and more evil things are more fun. But I prefer working in black-andgray because it just goes so much faster. I want to cover as much as I can in a session. My plans next will be to combine color traditional and black-and-gray realistic. That has been in my mind for a couple of years now, and it’s time to go for it.
Where do you find your muse?
Back when I started I had a lot of artists who influenced me, like Filip Leu, Guy Aitchison, and Robert Hernandez. But as time went by I took more and more influence from the real world. I take a lot of photos to find the reference I’m really looking for. Everything around us is inspiration. You just have to take one more look and think, Can I use this somewhere? My muse is also my customers, because they make me think in other directions than I normally do. It’s easy to get caught in your same old tracks, so when a customer comes in asking for something that seems impossible it always creates a good challenge.
Which would you say are your favorite conventions?
I really liked Hell City. Everyone was really nice. I think it has been my favorite show so far and would like to go again in the future. But when it comes to conventions, I just don’t know. At the moment I’m a single father of two small boys who are keeping me busy. They really need me and I always want to be there for them. I know that there will be a time in the future when they are going to be teenagers, hating me and just wanting my money. [Laughs] I’ll start going to conventions again once they get bigger.
Aside from tattooing, are there any other hobbies, talents, musical skills, or anything you enjoy doing when you are not tattooing?
When I don’t have my kids I try to work out as much as I can. I’m trying to pick up boxing again, but mostly CrossFit. But at night I paint, do charcoals, and play around with different media. I’m playing around with Photoshop and cameras. I do everything I think is fun because if you are having fun when creating, everything will turn out great. Fun is the key for me.
Are there any projects you are currently working on?
At the moment I’m working on a series of 10 paintings with men with tattoos and beards. It’s a project I work on with a friend who is a photographer. He takes the photo and I interpret it as I see fit. I only have one painting done and many left to go.