Artists: Oscar Askermo
Tattoo Studio 73
St. Mikaelsgatan 2b
Uddevalla, Sweden 45140
Personal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oscarakermotattoo
Studio Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tattoostudio73
What year did you start tattooing?
I started in 2010, when I was 15 years old. At that time I made my own tattoo machines, which were made out of electrical motors and guitar strings. But when I turned 16 years old, I got my first real machines and started tattooing more and more.
How did you get into tattooing?
I’ve been drawing almost all of my life, and somewhere along the way it evolved into doing tattoos and tattooing. I guess it also began with me wanting to have tattoos. I listened to a lot of rock music, and tattoos are a big part of that culture.
What was your first shop experience like?
When I was 15, I got my first tattoo at a friend’s house, by a friend, but I wasn’t happy with it so I went to a local tattoo studio to do a cover-up. I had to pretend that I was 18, which was a big part of the experience, breaking the rules. In Sweden you have to be 18 to get a tattoo, as in most countries.
What was it like getting involved in the tattoo scene at such a young age?
It felt natural—as it grew on me, I knew I wanted to do it. When I first started as an apprentice I was 17 years old, and I remember sometimes not being taken seriously by older customers because of my age. But of course it was really exciting to start working in that environment and start learning the profession, and I am still learning all the time!
What is the tattoo culture like in Sweden?
The tattoo culture in Sweden is evolving; in my region it’s a lot of black-and-gray, and the people in Sweden are opening their eyes more for new kinds of styles of tattoos. There are many great tattoo artists in Sweden, like Niki Norberg, Heidi Hay, Robert Ekman, Carl Löfqvist, and many more. They all inspire me a lot!
What first drew you to work in realism?
When I first started out I did almost only old-school and traditional work, but after a while those styles became too basic and boring to do all the time, though it’s not an easy task to make a slick and clean traditional tattoo. Realistic tattoos are more interesting and fun to do. It’s very different from the classic way of tattooing, so it keeps me entertained.
How do you describe your style?
Good question! I experiment a lot, as I’m still learning and finding my style. I guess my style can be described as a melancholic mix of all my favorite tattoo artists, as long as it’s dark, macabre, psychedelic, or just beautiful.
What inspires you as an artist?
Anything and everything! Music, mythologies, cultism, a lot of Victorian architecture and art, horror movies, and sci-fi. But I’m also inspired by artists like Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Salvador Dalí—and, of course, the people I work with.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
I admire Victor Portugal, Bob Tyrrell, Domantas Parvainis, Andy Engel, Carlos Torres, Niki Norberg, Robert Ekman, Dmitriy Samohin, Den Yakovlev, Tommy Lee Wendtner, and my friends and coworkers!
What other mediums do you work in?
I draw. I like doing a lot of photography, not as much now as I did before, with the tattoos demanding more time! But I’ve been doing a lot of different things in my life; as mentioned, I used to play a lot of music. I tried sculpting, sewing, acting, experimenting with different types of media to find my thing, doing what I’ve found exciting at the time. You could say that right now I’m into tattooing, but I think I found my thing. Right now I can’t see myself doing anything else other than tattooing. And I aim to keep it that way!
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
I always tell my customers to get rest and a good meal before getting tattooed. Have a Snickers and Coke while getting tattooed to keep the blood sugar level high and minimize the pain. Also, I appreciate people being sober while I work on them.