Hey, I’m Thomas and I’m 21 years old. I’m currently living in Coburg, Germany to study social work and I also have a thing for tattoos.
What is your opinion, as a young traditional tattoo style lover, about the tradition of this art?
To me tradition means to pass something on to keep it alive and when it comes to traditional tattoos it’s basically the same. You’ve seen these kind of tattoos somewhere and liked them and now you want them too. Then you begin to wear them, someone else sees them and wants to get tattooed too. It goes on and on, designs get done again and again but in different versions, new designs get created. I think that traditional tattoos will still be around for some time which is great!
When did you get your first tattoo and why?
I was listening to a lot of punk rock when i was a kid and started to go to shows early on. That was where I saw tattooed guys from time to time and i knew i wanted to get tattooed too. Especially traditional tattoos were really fascinating me. With 16 or 17 I’ve done some more research on tattoo forums and read about Philipp Ohme whose work I’ve also seen in real life and who worked in a shop not that far away. I already knew what i wanted to get and talked to him at a show to make an appointment. He wouldn’t tattoo me underage so I had to wait nine more months till I turned 18 which was good cause I had to think about the design during that whole time. I didn’t change my mind about it and now I’m still fine with it. It was a good start!
How did you approach to the other artists, how did you find them out?
I mostly found out about them because of instagram, doing research on the internet, spending time at the shops looking at the flash on the walls and talking to my tattooists. But it’s also important to get to know the origins of the designs so studying old flash books and taking a look into tattoo history is necessary to me as well.
What is the situation in your hometown?
In my hometown tattoos are tolerated but only a few understand or want to. The most questions that get asked are about if I still have space or how much it was haha.
Have tattoos become socially accepted?
Not completely. It depends on how heavily you are tattooed and where you are. Getting your hands, neck, head or face tattooed will still put some people off but that’s alright as long as you can live with the consequences. Simple as that.
Do you kinda feel part of this young tattoo community so passionate about tattoos or not?
I’m really passionate about tattoos and it’s very nice to talk to like minded people here and there but I don’t feel as a part of a community. It’s more like a personal journey.
What does getting a new tattoo mean to you, phisically and mentally?
It means so much to me. Getting tattooed taught me important lessons in life. It’s not only the new tattoo itself that matters. It’s the traveling you gotta do to get to the artist, the moment you enter the shop, the conversations, the pain you have to go through, discovering and maybe trespassing your boundaries especially during longer sessions. All of that is relevant to me and let me grow as a person.
Nowadays we often hear girls talking about body empowerment and self-love related to tattoo art. What do you think? Aren’t these themes related to guys as well?
These topics are definitely related to guys as well! I guess quite a lot of us have concerns because of our appearance sometimes. Society often sets specific standards and there are still so many stereotypes about what guys have to be like. Speaking about the rural area where i grew up, a lot of people think that guys have to play football, eat meat and drink alcohol to be the real guys. If you are into these things and they make you feel good, that’s alright. But if you are a guy who wants to put some make up on to feel better, you want to dance ballet or you are getting tattoos because you like yourself more with them that’s amazing!
My advice is to start doing what you really want because you are the person that has to see yourself in the mirror everyday.
Don’t always do what everyone expects you to do. Be authentic. Be yourself.
Who did you get tattooed by?
Most of my tattoos are from Alex Wild and Philipp Ohme who I’ve spent a lot of time with. If you ever have the chance to get tattooed by them you should do it. I’m really happy to know them and i’m thankful for what they gave me along the way. I also got tattooed by Oliver Bach, Alessandro Lemme and Bert Krak. It was good to meet these guys!