Otavalankatu 12 B
How did you get into tattooing?
I started tattooing somewhere at the end of 2006; that was when my path crossed with an old friend from childhood. He started pursuing a career in tattooing when we were teenagers, and he really made it. He encouraged me to do the same since he remembered that I was really into art and drawing when we were kids. I had to learn a lot of stuff on my own. I use to call him or message him all the time about different stuff and he patiently advised me on where to look for more information if it was too complicated to explain it to me on the phone. Then I turned one room in my apartment into a working area and started practicing tattooing on my friends, or anyone crazy or dumb enough to let me do it.
What was your first shop experience like?
So this is funny, I actually did this part the wrong way, too. I started my own shop at the end of 2007. The company where I was working offered me a regular contract, a steady income you could say. Well, I turned it down, quit the job and pursued my dream. I had no clientele, no savings since all the money went to machines. So if there weren’t any customers, my shop would have been kind of like the Titanic: sunk on the maiden voyage. I calculated that the shop could only manage two months without income. But I was determined to make it.
What is it like working at Precious Tattoo in Finland?
Inspiring. Hexa started the shop a few years ago, and after a couple of years running my own shop, I started to travel doing guest spots and conventions, so having my own little shop just complicated things. Eventually I wanted to work with Hexa and asked him if I could come there. The customers make a huge difference; most of our customers are the ones that make us push ourselves endlessly.
What is the tattoo culture like in Finland?
I think the difference in Finland is that people aren’t bothered with taboos. For example, even if you have tattoos on your face, most of the people really don’t care about it. I mean they might not like it, but they wont judge you by it. Also, people seem to give artistic freedom pretty easily to the tattooist. So at least for me, I enjoy the direction it’s heading.
What conventions have you done recently or are planning to do this year?
This year I’ve done Ink Explosion, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Brussels. That’s basically it, so far next year I will do Ink Explosion again and probably Berlin.
What inspires you as an artist?
Everyday life. Baroque and 19th century Russian realism are really fascinating to me. I’m completely in love with Repin’s works and could look at them endlessly. I read and try to study a lot about what different artists were aiming for, what message the artwork is suppose to send and what were the key factors on technical and visual approach on how it was achieved. The more knowledge I gain the more I seem to get inspired.
What other mediums do you work in?
I do paint with acrylics and oil, but it takes so much time that I’m not able to do that at the moment as much as I would like to. Lately I’ve been sketching a lot with charcoal, so much that it has turned into a bit of an addiction for me.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
There’s so many, but perhaps the ones that have seriously affected on my career. My friend who introduced me to this wonderful craft, Jarno Kantanen. Hexa, my good friend and co-worker, has had a huge impact on my technical skills. Don Fat, Leena Lumilampi, JP Wikman…seriously, the list would be never ending.