I loved Caro‘s work since I first saw it and I was extremely happy that I got the chance to talk with her a bit and (to no surprise) find out what an amazing human being she is. Here are a few things that I got to ask her and her future guest spot dates & places: (By the way, she is definitely in my Top 3 Tattoo Artists to Get Tattooed By asap ♥)
1. Where are you from?
Currently I live in Berlin, Germany.
2. Where do you work at the moment?
In Berlin, I regularly work at Toe Loop Tattooing. I also regularly guest at Deuil Merveilleux in Brussels and at Tigerstyle Tattooing in Hamburg, and I will work at MU body arts in Dijon for the first time in March 2016, which I am very excited about.
3. How did you end up being a tattoo artist?
I fell in love with a tattooist and he asked me to tattoo him and everything started there. Some friends asked me to tattoo them afterwards, which I thought was crazy of them. But I was so intrigued by the impenetrable intimacy that each tattoo creates and I basically wanted this link to people, so I did it.
4. How long have you been doing this?
My first tattoo I did in 2007 and once I finished my studies in 2009 I pursued my apprenticeship seriously.
5. What do tattoos mean to you?
Tattoos can be completely absurd and dead serious – and everything in between. I think what I value most is that it makes me ask myself questions which push me to become more authentic. I see tattoos as a tool for transformation, whether on the inside or the outside.
6. How has being a tattooist changed your life?
In some way I feel like tattooing has come to me to fulfill the wishes I had towards life but didn’t know how to realize. It has given me a craft. And the possibility to meet and take care of people and touch their most intimate. I was always scared that I could choose a profession that ultimately might not make sense in this world. Although tattooing might be absurd, it is the
only thing that to me makes sense of the world.
7. How would you describe your style?
I do graphic and mostly abstract blackwork. Sometimes bold, sometimes minimal, sometimes organically textured, but always approaching the body as a three-dimensional surface in movement.
8. What’s your artistic creation process?
The whole process is based on dialogue, I want the people who I tattoo to be involved as equals so they can really own their tattoos. We meet at my house and I discuss the project over coffee and then I design directly on the body with felt-tips.I ask that they take the time to reflect for at least one night and depending on the outcome, we either meet again for another design session (and another one, and another one..if necessary) or we make an appointment to tattoo.
9. Do you think it’s important as a tattooist to do only original and unique work?
I think it is boring to copy somebody else’s or my own work, but in the course of history tattooing relied a great deal on reiterating the same signs over and over again. But no matter what the design is I believe that every tattoo is original and unique through the person wearing it.
10. What was your first tattoo?
Three dots in a triangle shape on each side of my ankle, which I now also wear on the top of every finger. It is inspired by an artist who worked in my hometown when I was a teenager. They worked a lot around the sign for visual impairment – three black dots on yellow ground – and they would often put the phrase “are you blind, too?” somewhere on their artwork. I really liked this question because it is not blaming everybody else for being blind, but questioning one’s own blindness. I can be quite a know-it-all and it reminds me to stay humble and challenge my own beliefs and convictions.
11. Who are your favorite fellow tattoo artists?
I generally like people who have a distinct style and also a certain conceptual approach. I love how Amanda Wachob develops art-pieces with and around tattooing that are actually relevant artistically. Colin Dale inspired me a lot with his research into ancient tools and techniques like skin-sewing. Also I feel very close to Touka Voodoo, Clare Deen and Noel’le Longhaul because I think we have a similar approach to the transformative power of body modification and the personal bound to the people we tattoo. I love anything heavy black and stuff that ignores boundaries on the body.
12. What type of tattoo will you not do?
By principle I will not tattoo any racist, fascist, sexist and other hateful symbols. Also, if you need a last-minute tattoo, I am not really the person to go to.
13. What’s the best tattoo aftercare in your opinion?
It depends on what you get. But always wash your hands before you touch it!
Thank you Caro! Much love! ♥
All Images & Design © Caro Ley
January 23, 2016