I’m Halvor, a Norwegian youtuber/influencer (nobody in my family understands what I’m really working with – not me either lol) 29 years old and living in Oslo!

What drew your attention to tattoo art?
I grew up in a small suburb outside Oslo where there is no tattoo culture at all, but I did a lot of graffiti through my teenage years (still do) and always had love for colors, art and weird subcultures. When I moved to Oslo, I eventually saw that there were more out there than ugly trend tattoos from the Canary Islands. And when I saw a Marius Meyer tattoo for the first time around 2011, I realized that I had to get an appointment with him. There was so much personality in the lines, and it reminded me a lot about graffiti. The thick, bold lines. The heavy shadows. Dirty, but super clean at the same time. Perfectly adapted to the spot – and lots of details! I like to paint graffiti that look like graffiti. And Marius tattoos look like tattoos. I had my first appointment with him in 2013.

Tell me about your first and your latest tattoo experience.
I got my first tattoos when I was around 19. They don’t mean anything – even though I thought they did when I got them. This was before I actually became interested in tattoos and I’m very glad I didn’t get many tattoos before I learned more about what defines a good tattoo – and how to get in touch with great tattoo artists. My last experience is actually my laser treatment – I am removing my first tattoos, haha. From the other side, I was at this year’s London Convention and brought home souvenirs both from Zac Scheinbaum and Rich Hardy 🙂 I think conventions are quite stressful and stereotypical with biker guys, weird freaks and naked girls. But of course, it is possible to score some rare stamps for the collection.

Ilaria Pauletti interviews Halvor Harsem, true dedication for tattoo art

Which artists did you get tattooed by?
I’ve actually made a list recently; Marius Meyer x3, Morten Transeth, Tony Nilssen x2, Tony Hundahl, Todd Noble, Steve Byrne, Claudia De Sabe, Yutaro, Dan Molloy, Joe Ellis, Joel Madberg, Johan Svahn, Silje Røe Hagland, Herb Auerbach, Mike Rubendall, Chad Koeplinger, Luxiano Horizontes, Jimmy Duvall x2, Sigbjørn “Siggy Starfish”, Florian Santus, Austin Maples, Joaquin “Acetates”, Xam, Rich Hardy; Zac Scheinbaum! Super proud of my collection!

What’s it like to be a tattooed guy in Norway?
Most people in Norway get tattooed based on what is trendy, I think, and not because they are mildly autistic like myself. And besides, I’m not really hanging out in places where good tattoos are very common. I’m not a typical skater/punk guy. And I don’t like to deal with hipsters either… Actually, I don’t like people at all, lol, just kidding!
I get a lot of questions about my tattoos tho’, but the majority are more concerned about what price I paid for them, which one was the most painful and what they mean to me. That’s what tattoos are associated with by the regular guy. And when I answer that I love the lines, the experiences, and the feeling of collecting custom made art made by my greatest idols, they look at me like I’m the weird guy. Hah! But I like it. It’s like a small secret club for those who know.

What do you think about nowadays tattoo society?
I know that I represent a generation that has found many shortcuts through the Internet, but hey – true dedication still exists! I love dedicated people! People with a true passion. And they are the ones left when the trend is over and everyone else jumps on the next popular thing. I think that the majority of all the bad tattoo shops will disappear, too. They popped up with the hype and they will disappear with it too. I hope. Not that I really care about other people’s ugly tattoos, but I think it’s sad if good tattoo artists lose customers because the selection is too big. In Oslo there are probably 100 tattoo shops. Barely 3-4 of them are worth a visit.

Traditional and japanese tattoos_beautiful tattoo collection

Would you define yourself a tattoo collector?
I’m definitely a collector! I have this little hoarder inside my head, and finally I’ve found something that really works for me – which I can enjoy for a long time and on so many levels. This is about so much more for me, than just getting tattooed!

Tell me more about your tattoo choices. How do you pick an artist and an idea?
It’s not easy to plan too much as I meet new artists all the time, and the only communication before the appointments is done by email. I usually send pictures of my potential spots, and attach a small list of motives I think may fit – based on the artist’s style. Then it’s really up to him/her. Many good tattoo artists come to Scandinavia every year, and that’s the easiest way to get good tattoos from foreigners around the world, but I also try to travel to make the most of the experience. My goal is not to look heavily tattooed as quickly as possible. Therefore, I have already begun to compress tattoos on my legs and back, so I still have a lot of spots in the future! Yes, I’m diagnosed with OCD.

Did you have any cover up or laser session? Can you talk about your own experience?
I realized that it would be best to remove my oldest tattoos. They are not important anymore, they take unnecessary space and would not be nice cover ups. Besides, I get the treatments sponsored, f*cking blogger, haha… You can see the process on my YouTube channel.

Is there a special and meaningful tattoo you would like to talk about?
Marius’s bad ass cats mean a lot to me because they are two of my first proper tattoos. But there are none of my tattoos that have any bigger meaning except the fact that they are really good tattoos. The white tiger illustrates my beautiful cat, Rambo! I also have a “New York fat cap” tattoo, a cap that I always use when painting graffiti… Yeah, and I tattooed the building I grew up in. But it’s just because I think everything looks awesome – not because I’m sentimental. Well, I’m actually pretty sentimental, but that’s not why I get tattoos. Haha sorry, I’m also diagnosed with ADHD.

Interview with Norwegian tattooed guy and youtuber, Halvor Harsem

Who are your favourite artists?
Obviously, everyone who has already tattooed me! I also hope I will be able to visit amazing tattoo artists like Marc Nava, Dansin, Timothy Hoyer, Grime, Greg Whitehead, Becca Genné-Bacon, Kazuaki Horitomo, Rafa Decráneo, Cokney, Koji, Luke Jinks, Bert Krak, Grez… Jeees, too many… But if I had to choose one artist forever, then I’d say Marius. He has so much knowledge and dedication. His style is unique! Besides, he’s funny as hell and a really nice guy to get tortured by, haha. I look forward to our next project when my laser treatments are finished: a classic Marius dragon. Finally!

Do you have any tattoos from Italian artists?
I haven’t been tattooed by any Italian artists yet, but I follow many of them! The whole crew at Psycho Tattoo is quite awesome. Next time I visit Rome I would love to get tattooed by Heinz. I also like Joe Tartarotti, Francesco Giamblanco, Daniele Scafati, Pietro Sedda, Guido GB, Francesco Schiavi… Many good artists! I guess I have to travel through Italy soon!

What would you recommend to the youngest who are approaching to this world?
I’m still in a learning process, too young in the game to tell people what to do, but my experience so far is that it’s important to spend a lot of time if you want to do it properly. Try to understand the styles, the lines, the techniques… Instagram is a wonderful tool to get inspired. Remember, this is a hobby you can enjoy for years. Do not rush with any thing. And it’s allowed to be nerd!

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12 novembre 2017

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