My path

Whenever there are magazine articles or TV broadcasts about the rituals of either ancient tribes or what we call “modern primitives”, most people find this disgusting and label those who engage in such activities “insane”. Well, not me. For as long as I can think back these things always have fascinated me – starting with the tattoos proudly displayed by those bikers I`ve stared at when I was just a little kid. There was nothing I could do against it.

I first started by scratching ornamental designs into my skin using my good old trusty Swiss army knife as a kid. Unfortunately, these always disappeared after each winter as they healed; they just blended right back in with my skin tone so I always had to redo them as I wanted to “wear” them in summer. It goes without saying that my mother didn´t agree with me doing this at all – she tried to prohibit it and whenever I had new scars she gave me sermons about them.  She didn´t understand me doing this was not a manifestation of mental illness at all. I just thought it was “cool” somehow.

Also, this was the time when my interest in tattoos began to rise. Naturally, my mother didn’t give her consent to get tattooed professionally when I was 14, so going the “do it yourself” route was the only way to go for me.
My first “tattoo” I made on my calf by poking the inside of my calf with a needle I`d previously dipped in color. Then, as I saw it wouldn’t hold  I tried to “help” the design by additionally cutting the letters with an exacto knife. This proved to be not really helpful, as the color disappeared together with the scabs as it healed, leaving only a tiny scar. So I tried again and “tattooed” a small sword on the other side of my calf  – this time, without the cutting part. And this time, it stayed – faint, but it stayed. I then tried the inside again. Because I didn´t really have any idea of how all this worked, I could to nothing but try and test things on myself, like how it would be if I just applied the color after the poking so it could get drawn into the wound. Well, I tried lots of different methods and used every imaginable source of colors (biro pens etc…) I could lay my hands on, and at times my leg really looked like it was ready to fall off.

Then it came to me that I`d need some kind of machine, and I set out to build a tattoo machine with a few ideas, using materials I had at my disposal. So “skinkiller ONE” came into being – built from an electric hair clipper (from Woolworth, for DM 4,50!), an old pen, a needle, a couple lengths of pipe, a few LEGO parts and lots and lots of glue to hold everything together. Unfortunately, I don´t have a picture of this contraption, but this is what I used to put the “skate and destroy” slogan on my calf – my first “proper” tattoo and one I still have.

Then, when I was 17, I got my first professional tattoo while in Side, Turkey: a spider on my nape, followed by two others the very next day.

Next was “feel free” on my knuckles shortly after I turned 18. It took a while to find a artist willing to do this. Back then, I thought I was a teenager like all the others – but with this tattoo, I wanted to make a statement about never doing anything that would hold me back in being myself. I wanted to use it a a statement of self-empowerment.

I had no idea at this time what do do, career-wise. Had you told me back then that I´d become a tattooist, I guess I`d have laughed it off.

From my very first salary as an apprentice I bought myself a “beginner tattoo kit”. At first, I only used it on myself (mainly by going over and retouching the first hand-made attempts of my early teenage years), but soon I was approached by willing “victims” who wanted to get tattooed by me.

Tattooing myself and doing tattoos on friends, I collected valuable experience, learned how to really master the machine and developed routine and confidence in a classic “learning by doing” scenario. I cannot thank all those friends enough who put their faith in me and my abilities and got a tattoo from me that would stay on them for life. These experiences allowed me to expand into more complex tattoos. By now, tattooing was making me money that I invested right back into tattooing by either buying new equipment (“sterile or die” is how I went at this) or into getting tattooed myself.

More tattoos followed, first on my legs, back, chest and wrists. Then I started to tattoo my left arm, from the wrist to the fingertips and lots of other places –  arms, feet, shoulders, sternum…
I then started to delve into traditional tattoo art, and built tatau instruments to start tattooing in the traditional hand-poked way and tested them on myself. Exactly this “build something new and then have a go at it” approach is something I find deeply fascinating…

Now, tattooing is deeply rooted in me – there isn´t a day where I´m not thinking about it. You might call it an addiction – but then, addictions are all about not being able to let go, and I`m all about not WANTING to let go as far as tattoos are concerned.

 


My “bodmod” phase:

At the beginning, I never was really “into” piercings much. OK, so had I stuck needles through and stapled things to my skin; you know, the whole “safety-pin-through-ear” thing. Mostly “just for fun” or because I wanted to show off at a party, but never with the intention to keep them or wear jewelry in them. I didn`t believe this to have anything to do with piercings, really and I even told people who asked me about piercings that I didn`t like them much.

And then, one day, I was at a festival with my girlfriend and we were standing in front of one of these typical shady places that offered to do nose piercings for 12,50 Euros a pop. Well, and as my girlfriend always said that she wanted a nose piercing, I told her that I`d pay for it there and then. But she was anxious to go through with it, and so we had a little discussion during which I stated “that one of us will leave with a nose ring today”. Well, it turned out that the one leaving with the piercing would be me.
So, although I didn`t plan on it, I ended up in that tent, spontaneously thinking that the surprise factor would be even greater with having two done. Well, it turned out that they didn’t do rings but studs which were “shot” using a gun-like device. So everything started with going “bang” twice, and I was the owner of two tiny studs that I replaced with some plastic-coated wire I had lying around in the car the next day. Because the wire was almost twice as thick as the studs, this was almost like new piercing – and it hurt a lot more, too.

 I then got my ear pierced and started to stretch it with ever more pieces of the same wire as well as getting my lip pierced with a ring for 20 Euros.
The more I got involved with piercings, the more I found them to be interesting. The feeling when the needle first breaks the skin and then exits again was more pleasurable than painful.
Now I was definitely “infected” with the piercing bug. I started to inform myself and do research, did a lot of reading and started to experiment on myself. I continuously added more piercings, as did my friends. In the beginning, I did so more or less on impulse and I didn`t have any kind of plan. Later, I took out a quite a few and tried to achieve some degree of symmetry, wich is kind of hard to achieve when you have one lobe pierced and stretched to 30mm and the other one doesn´t even have a hole in it!
But this phase didn´t last very long, either. Next was that I removed even more and concentrated myself on just a few. I started to stretch my septum, had my labret scalpelled to 10mm (and still continue to stretch it) , “combined” the two holes in my earlobes into a single, larger one and stretched my nipple piercings.

Slowly but constantly, I got drawn into the world of what is labeled as “body modification”. I did the first “real” cuttings on myself – on my face, running down my forehead to my cheeks. I got to know Ralf and Roland (from Visavajar in Freiburg)  who helped me a lot and without whom I would not where I am today.
I got more scars, implants, had my tongue split, had more holes punched etc… I went into this deeper and deeper, investing lots of  energy and time. I soaked up everything I could and started on another round of  “learning by doing” by testing procedures and techniques on myself and on friends. I would go as far as saying that I have done and tried almost everything commonly prevalent in the “body modification” world – I had and retired lots of piercings and stuff.

But then, I wanted to return to my original path – tattoos and traditional body modification. I removed most piercings and implants and turned to tattooing exclusively. I know that people can do several things simultaneously, but I saw that I couldn´t give 100% everywhere and that is why I took this step so I`d be able to give all my energy to tattooing.

But I don´t regret anything, and wouldn´t want to miss my modifications.

 

I fucking love suspensions

When I first saw a picture of people doing body suspension, I thought “crazy”.
Then I read some personal experiences and thought “Well, I think I should try this at least once”.
And then I did it and I fell in love….

My first suspension surely went differently from most peoples’  experiences. When I decided for myself that I should go ahead and do it, I had no idea how to properly do this, I had no information, no videos  – no nothing. The only people I knew who were “into suspensions” were Ralf and Roland, and as I talked this over with them, my desire to try this grew even more.
So I started planning to put together everything I thought I needed to facilitate a suspension.
Up to that day, I had no idea that there’s a whole community around the art of body suspension. I had no idea that people have meets and suscons. It was just me and two friends who bought rigging gear and needles and fabricated hooks. I built my first rig from bamboo and thread.
Once everything was assembled and ready, we just couldn’t wait any more and just felt we HAD to do it right now although the weather conditions were far from ideal for suspensions – but waiting months for summer was out of the question…
So we threw the hooks on each other without anyone really knowing what we did there or even be informed about proper procedure. So we were standing there, hooks in back and all rigged up just trying our luck.

Looking back now, I now know that we did lots of things the wrong way. But all three of us hung in the air that day from hooks in our skin and it was worth everything.
My first suspension definitely was a life-changing moment for me. It changed me more than any other body modification I have.

Currently, I suspend regularly; it is an incredible feeling. Experiencing suspension is incomparable with anything else – it´s freedom, fun, relaxation, spirituality, adrenaline –  it isn’t really possible to explain in words what a experiencing a suspension really is about.

The swastika freakshop

back in 2005 i opened my own studio. i already decided to go somewhere in a small town somewhere a little bit out of the city to have less walk ins and more quite to concentrated on my own art and more than just normal tatu work.

the first years was kind of hard but the better the shop was runing the more i start choosing what kind of tatus i make. after a few years i stoped completly with normal tatu work and just worked in my style.

than tatuing started to get overhyped and got more and more into mainstraim fashion. that was the time i was going even more back. i closed my shop under the week and worked in private and not worked on the weekends anymore when my shop was oficial opened. but also that was not a good option for me so i decided 2009 to0 close my shop to go more away from our tatu society..

it was not a easy step but the only step to straight follow my heart and my mind. i published the small text and closed the doors to go on…….

its now about 2,5 years ago when i was opening my shop. in this time it was realy risky and unsure if it works and the first year was realy hard but finally it was a good solution to make a own shop and maybe a importend part of my life to go a short distance of my way.
since last year i tryed to get a step more back, a step more out of the tattoo scene, the society the buisness. i stoped making small tatus just for money. making tatus wich i not 100 procent behind. opened oficial the shop just on saturday and making my tatu work in more private atmosphere.
tatuing was always a part of my life to get a step out of the norm. a part of subcultures. a part to fuck the system. be an individual and create something new with my life. i never was thinking that tatuing get a fashion. for me its either not a fashion.i try to life it on my way and i didnt want be part of the society. also not the tatu society.
this days i finally decided to close the swastika-freakshop completly. i think its the only way to find my own peace and go straight my way. it was not the easyest solution in my life. because my shop was going a big part in my life and in my heart.
i will close the shop at the end of this years and will create something like a private galerie for me where i find space for painting, carving, tatuing and for my photowork.
its time to go…

 

 freak mike

with the end of the swastika freakshop i decide to teach my good friend mike my way of tatuing. he start straight tatuing the way we do and so many more peoples have the option to get some tatus in my style without need to go to some fags who try to imitade my style.

sure mike developed kind of his own style out of it and his work looks kind of diffrent to what i do.  but thats the way of progression…

to find his work you can check his homepage or find infos under the contacts here.

www.freak-mike.com

 

godoy machines

one of my bigges progression of tatuing was to start building my own machines. knowing about your working tool and knowing how to get the most power out of it is the key for a solid fast tatuing. a friend showed me some tricks and i got the godoy book in my hands about building machines. i completly rebuild all my machines and over night i made the biggest progression i ever done.  i also had the pleasure the meet the godoy twins a few years back and enjoy a teaching course about machines.

somewhere 2012 i got a message from them wich they asked what kind of tattoo machines i use. after a short statement how much i hate rotary machines ant other shit. they asked me to suport me and a few weeks later i had my first godoy machine in my hands.

after geting my godoy machines and rebuild them with my seting i got another push in my technical progression. over the years i tryed to build a faster machine who still have enough power for all the big needles i work only and never made it. but fucking godoys invent some stuff like square coils and shifted coils to get the maximum of power out and finally i got my machines who alowed me to tatuing in a speed i want…

2013 i got my own pro model on godoy and im more than happy with the result of a monsterof a powerfull machine.

not for the substandart ashole

godoy machines

private gallery 1.0

2009 we build my private gallery. we tryed to go far away from a normal tattoo studio, give tatuing more quite, personality and create a place of crazyness.

over the years we rebuild the place more and more. layers of layers. a lot of progression happens in that place and it was a good decicion to go back and work in private athmosphare without randomless peoples walk in.  the only way to find us was when you get an appointment.

end of 2012 we got kicked out by the owner and it was again time to go on

 

basti

after mike is now a few years working and makes a good job i decide to give another friend the change to learn what i do.  so a new place and a new apperience boy…

it seems like bastis work get a lot more detailed and fine than me and mike.

to see his work in future check his homepage or over the contact here.

psyland – private gallery 2.0

2013 i got my old ground somewhere deep in the countryside of south germany. far away from big citys and stressfull life. here we build our own place.

my masterpiece…

 

 

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