Artists: Yann Black
Glamort Tattoo Parlor
4411 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest
Montreal, QC H4C 1S2
What year did you start tattooing?
I first started tattooing about 20 years ago.
How did you get into tattooing?
I got into tattooing because I wanted to be tattooed myself. I bought a machine from some bikers and all I wanted was to do it on myself. I tried, showed my dad, and he was my first official piece of meat. With time, friends started asking me to tattoo them too. Eventually someone asked me to tattoo them with my own designs.
Where did you apprentice?
Honestly, I pretty much taught myself. Over the years I’ve met some key people, namely Paul from Brussels, who showed me certain things. How to weld my own needles, something I still do to this day. How to care for my machines, etc. But I didn’t apprentice anywhere or under anyone in particular per se.
Do you have any special training?
I actually studied cartoon animation. My dream was to work in special effects for movies. I finished school, bought a tattoo machine at 18, and, well, truth be told, most of my drawings didn’t really please my art teachers. It just goes to show, sometimes you have to stick to your guns and keep doing your thing if you really believe in it.
What conventions have you worked?
I’m not big on conventions just because I find they aren’t a good environment, neither to work in nor to get tattooed in. I think my approach is too personal for such a public outlet.
Have you won any awards?
I get awards every day when I can give someone the design they were thinking of but couldn’t quite put down on paper. That’s the kind of satisfaction I strive for in my work.
How do you describe your style?
It would be somewhere between German expressionism, Russian constructivism, and children’s drawings.
What inspires you as an artist?
Oddly enough, I try and stay away from outside sources of inspiration. I like to stick to what I do and just keep making that better. I want to remain original, and to do so, I feel like I need to be fully in my work and not constantly looking to see what others are doing tattoo- and art-wise. I guess what inspires me on a daily basis would be the ideas my clients bring me.
What sets you apart from other artists?
Mainly the fact that I try and stay away from “traditional” tattoo imagery. I don’t want my tattoos to look necessarily like tattoos, and I don’t feel the need to bend my art for whatever craze or fashion is going around. I design every piece freehand based on the client’s ideas, and I think that helps me to stay on top of my art.
What other mediums do you work in?
I barely have time anymore to do anything other than tattoo, but everything I do today is based on what I used to do on paper and canvas before.
How have you branched out from tattooing?
I’ve participated in a few interesting projects recently. Dimitri Hk’s tattoo handbook project, a few pieces of album artwork (Revok, Monarch, Un Premier Mai). Designed a snare for Think drums, a logo for a wine bottle and for a yogurt company, and a magazine cover for Nest. I like to accept projects that are different and that don’t involve corporate companies.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
The artists whose work I admire most would be Rob Admiraal and Xed Le Head. I also have a bunch of really talented friends—Lea Nahon, Jef, Kostek, Piet du Congo, Lionel from Out of Step, Topsi Turby, and Navette—who never cease to amaze me.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I look forward to doing whatever tattoo I’m going to do next. Every day clients come in with their ideas, which means I wake up every day not knowing what I’ll be doing that day.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
I think the advice I give people is mainly based on placement and design. I’m not anyone’s but my daughter’s parent, so I can’t really tell people what or how they should do something. I just like to occupy space intelligently on someone’s body, based on their existing tattoos, scars, and whatnot. If I were to have to give someone advice before getting a tattoo, it would be this: Rest well the day before, and come with a clear head and a full stomach.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
I have an ongoing project with my wife that I can’t wait to do—she’s currently pregnant so we’re forced to put the project on ice for a while. A big back piece with a whale, a boat, and an iceberg. I’m really into doing marine-theme tattoos these days.