Good readers, let me take this time to suggest you toss out that old tape recorder from the 80s you may have used to interview various tattoo artists in the past, especially if you've recently discovered that during your latest interview it failed to record anything at all and, instead, still has the four gloriously terrible songs from your short-lived lark of a synth-heavy goofball hardcore band AXXX WOUND.
Good thing I was able to hang out with French tattooer Noon for a few weeks before getting him to sit down for an interview. So instead of a nice and neat little Q and A, you get a nice and neat little quasi-article from some feverishly taken notes before Noon booked for more international travels. And while it seems Noon is constantly on the move, he's made a semi-permanent home at Tattoo Culture in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, usually returning twice a year.
Recently featured in the May issue of Total Tattoo, Noon has created a style instantly recognizable and completely his own. It's something I'd rather let him describe, though he plainly says, "It's difficult to explain. I would say it's minimalist, it's singular. I don't know if there's a real name for this. The way I started was with the idea that the tattoo could be finished with only the line."
Growing up in a town full of ex-cons and gypsies, Noon's studied how
they tattooed. "I watched them attach needles to pencils and set the
ink bottle on a small plate over a flame. Very basic. I was young and
in the poor part of town. All the guys there were tattooed and
tattooing all the time. So I watched them. And at ten years old, I
already knew how they did it. There was no color, no fill, only the
Noon's gypsy education could only go so far. He retained the basics and
began to learn himself. He explains, "There were no magazines, no
Internet. So in 1996 I got the address of Mickey Sharpz in London and I
bought everything I could! I practiced on myself, I was always on the
phone with Lionel (from Out of Step Tattoo) and we'd go back and forth asking 'How do you do this?' 'What's working for you?' It was not so easy then." "I like the look and feel," he says, making motions with his hands that seem to be building something in mid-air. He plans to keep painting but he is a tattooist first. "Always tattooing," he says, "until they shkkt! -- chop off my hands."
Noon will be back at Tattoo Culture from November 9th through the 22nd. He's currently taking appointments via email.