Results tagged “Filip Leu”
At a time when so many of those coming to tattooing are doing so from TV drama, what often gets lost is the history, craftsmanship, and community that are such integral parts of tattoo culture. And yet, above the noise, those who have dedicated themselves to the art continue to rise, innovate and inspire. The Leu Family exemplifies this.
The Leu's are more than just a tattoo family, however. They are a collective of artists creating exciting work in different mediums. The launch of their new site Leufamily.info is an online portal for that talent, from books to music to clothing to painting performances to hemp projects ... and naturally, stellar tattoo art. The site also offers some family history and short bios on all the artists.
For those new to tattooing, Filip Leu is the most sought-after tattoo artist in the world, creating stunning full body pieces, like the one above, that bear his definitive aesthetic. In 1982, he created "The Leu Family's Family Iron Studio and Museum" in Switzerland with his parents Felix and Loretta Leu. The community mourned Felix's passing in 2002, but he left a powerful legacy. Loretta, aka Y Maria, continues to share her art and amazing stories. [In December, we posted her interview with Demetra Molina in which she talks about her family and adventures.]
We've also featured the work of Aia Leu, who authored "The Art of the Leu Family," a beautiful 192-page volume that contains select pieces of diverse art work, including "Don Feliz's surrealistic psychedelic art, the mandala art of Y Maria, works from Miriam Tinguely, Filip Leu, Titine K-Leu, Aia Leu, Tanina Munchkina, Ajja S.F. Leu and some pieces by other members of the family."
Leufamily.info offers a taste of that art work, and also, outside links to purchase the book, as well as prints (including this wonderful work by Titine, shown below), music by Ajja, and tattoo-inspired organic clothing created by Ama Leu. [I love the Filip-designed track tops and Ama's "Lips" tee.]
Lots of Leu goodness in one site. Check it!
As Demetra Molina wrote in her guest blog on the Montreal Art Tattoo Convention, collaborative one-sitting backpiece projects were created each day by Filip Leu and Kurt Wiscombe on some very lucky -- and strong -- collectors. One such collector is tattoo artist Lee Conklin, whose backpiece is shown above.
I sent Lee some questions on what the experience was like, and here's what he said:
The design was left mostly up to Filip and Kurt, aside from the fact that I wanted it oversized, so the whole image goes beyond the space provided. My input was just that of the scale. The drawing took about two hours and the tattoo itself was about four and a half.I also asked Lee, rather morbidly, I know, if he would ever consider preserving his backpiece port-mortem, considering it is such a work of art. He replied, "I haven't thought much about whether I'd like to preserve the piece or not. Being a skull, it's somewhat of a reminder of our mortality and to just live life as it comes."
You can see more photos from Lee, and check his own tattoo portfolio, here on Facebook.
Today we get another outstanding installment from the Vice TV "Tattoo Age" series on Mike Rubendall. There's a heavy focus on the car-washing, flash-tracing and hog-tying of Rubendall's apprenticeship under Frank Romano of DaVinci Tattoo - but we also get some interesting insight to the effect that Switzerland's Filip Leu had on Rubendall's design and technique.
No Steve Gutenberg this time around, but a great 12 minutes of your time, nonetheless.
It's happy dance time. Just received photos for my next book project from the Filip Leu.
I won't sully this moment with commentary. Here's just a taste.
To date, all of my tattoos have been born and raised in the chair - and sometimes the table - of Mike Rubendall at King's Ave Tattoo in Massapequa, Long Island. So, as I prepare my pectorals for a touch-up session at the end of the month (which i wrote about here and here), I was happy to see that the Long Island Press has done a massive, five-page profile on The Man, himself.
The article covers a wide spectrum of information, from his apprentice days under Frank Romano at Da Vinci Tattoo, to getting chaffeured to Manhattan to tattoo rapper Damon Dash (and an interesting exchange with Naomi Campbell), to Rubendall's global travels to get his own body-suit completed by Filip Leu, Chris Trevino and Horitomo.
I would highly recommend checking the article, but if you're pinched for time or are simply entertained by blinking lights and buzzing machines, you can check out the video below.
In working on my upcoming Black & Grey Tattoo book, I came across rockin realism in the form of tattoo artist portraits, including Paul Booth, Bob Tyrrell, Jack Rudy, Tim Kern (above), and other greats. And so I had to learn more about the man who pays tribute to these artists with his own skin. Here's the story of Broken from the UK:
Please tell me about your tattoos and who did them.
I have some horror-inspired tattoos from different artists in the 80s/early 90s. But, about 10 years ago, thanks to the internet and increased number of tattoo magazines, my passion for tattoos was re-awakened. Paul Booth and Bob Tyrrell were top of the list, although I never thought for one moment I would ever be tattooed by them. Then in 2005, London started with a new tattoo convention and the following year, I decided to take a chance and email Bob Tyrrell. I knew I wanted a portrait tattoo and horror movie stars were the obvious choice for me, but having seen so many, I wanted something more unique. Then it hit me. Tattoo artists! These guys were creating masterpieces and yet tattooing was still seen as something only criminals, bikers and the lower end of society would get.
So, as Paul Booth was top of my list, I asked Bob to do a portrait of him [shown right]. Ten minutes later, I got a reply and it was all set for the London Convention. It was also very important to me to have Bob tattoo the Paul Booth portrait because they are close friends. With all my portrait tattoos, I have the same philosophy. I think that a close bond with the subject they are tattooing makes for a more personal and unique tattoo. [Also at that convention I met Tim Kern and got a severed wrist tattoo.]
The following month I had decided on getting a tattoo sleeve of tattoo artist portraits. I met Bob in New York and he was more than happy with the artists I had in mind. So, over the next few years, I got portraits of Filip Leu, Jack Rudy and Robert Hernandez, from Bob. Before the Hernandez portrait, I needed to find a suitable artist to tattoo a portrait of Bob. The obvious choice was Robert Hernandez. He was very happy to do it and he ended up doing it at the London Convention 2008, with Bob watching.
Very interesting experience.
He told me he was honored to be part of my project. The following year at the convention, Bob tattooed the portrait of Robert on, with Robert watching. Again, it was a surreal experience, but that made it even more special.
[In between the portraits, another artist who I was desperate to get a tattoo from, was Milosch. His black and grey is amongst the best in the world. In 2008, I planned to set up an appointment with him in the Czech Republic. After emailing him, he told me was doing a convention in the UK and a guest spot at a studio beforehand. When I found out the studio was 20 minutes from my house, I knew it was fate. He created an amazing demon on my calf and we have become good friends.]
Tim Kern and Benjamin Moss [shown left] were next on my list, but I felt that these artists would be better suited to doing a self portrait. I had already met them both and they are extremely friendly and gracious people. When I asked them, they were more than happy to do it. I wanted them to do a more horror inspired portrait and they both came up with something amazing.
What has been the reaction by the tattooists to your requests?
When I asked Bob Tyrrell to do the Paul Booth portrait, he told me that he would get Paul to pose for the photo reference. I've met Paul a couple of times since and he is genuinely honored by it. In fact, all the portraits I've had done, have been specifically photographed for each one. I haven't met Jack Rudy yet, but Filip thought his was really cool when I showed him and all the others say it's an honor to be a part of it too.
Why tributes to tattooists?
I chose tattooists because, since getting back into tattoos about 10 years ago (after 10 years when I didn't get anything), I realized just how far tattooers had come as artists. Nowadays, so many tattooers also work in fine art. People like Paul Booth, Robert Hernandez, Jeff Gogue and Carlos Torres etc...could easily have a career as fine artists. Yet, many people still don't see tattooing as an art. So this is just my small way of showing my appreciation for such an under appreciated art form.
Your portraits are largely in black & grey--what do you love about this style?
Black and grey, to me, is a timeless medium. Just like b&g photographs, they have an aura about them that just says class. I also think there is more focus on the subject with b&g. With color, there is the option of moving with each color. Black and grey needs more self awareness.
See more of Broken's tattooist portraits here.
Filip Leu sleeve on David Bragger
Every time a contest winner is chosen, I feel like I've won something: interesting stories, beautiful photos...That's the magic of our scientific method whereby I ask Brian to shout out a number and that numbered entry wins. And the winner of our Vintage Tattoo book contest is:
The impeccably tattooed David Bragger (pictured here).
When I contacted David about winning, I also asked him about his tattoos. Humbly, he answered that he has work from Filip Leu, Scott Harrison, & Shige. The Trifecta of Awesome!! He let me in on the stories behind the tattoos and some photos to share with y'all, but before we get to them, here's some info on the man behind the art.
* City: Los Angeles, CA
* Work: Musician/Teacher of Old-Time Americana music on fiddle, banjo and mandolin
* Fun: Play fiddle in Los Angeles-based old-time hillbilly jugband Sausage Grinder. Our upcoming cd features artwork by Scott Harrison and guest vocals by Bad Religion's Greg Graffin [Listen to the music of the Sausage Grinder Band on MySpace and Facebook.]
* Ok, the big question: Tell me about your tattoos.
"First tattoo is an Oni wrestling with a fiddle. I decided to get my first tattoo while traveling in Switzerland in the Summer of 2006. I heard there was a tattooer I should look up, a guy named Filip Leu. At the time I was totally ignorant. I called Filip and did a 9-hour session with him. It didn't take long to realize I was in the hands of genius. 'Twas an incredible experience [Sleeve shown above].
One of my Tantric tattoo favorites is also from Scott. [See it here on Flicker]
Wait! A tattooed Banjo?
"Yes. How many tattooers are doing banjo art? Talk about folk art and tattooing! [See photos of the tattooed banjos here, here, and here.]
And this, my friends, is why I like giving out free stuff. More contests to come. Oh, and feel free to keep answering the survey to help us make N+S they way you want it.
When I returned from Greece two weeks ago, I was greeted with a stunning coffee table book in the mail that instantly took me on another trip: SHIGE, the 328-page full color hardcover that is at once a personal journal and breathtaking exhibition of one of today's great Japanese tattoo artists.
Take a look at Shige's online portfolio and now imagine that properly showcased in 10x13" along with his stencils, paintings, photos from conventions and guest spots, and personal family photos.
Indeed, Shige's devotion to his wife and partner Chisato and baby girl Ayaka, is not only ever present in the book but in person at tattoo events; it's important to note because it offers a glimpse into the man behind the art -- art so masterful, it can be intimidating. But his warm smile and watching him play with Ayaka, whom I've watched go from stroller to toddling around conventions, puts clients at ease, allowing them to enjoy the full tattoo experience.
Beyond his character, Shige is known for a particular style of Japanese tattooing that pays homage to traditional artistic elements of Horimono but not a strict interpretation, bringing to his work many other influences.
In his foreword to the book, Master Horiyoshi III best describes Shige's work:
"Around 1994 Shige's work clearly shows that he was strongly influenced by Filip Leu of Switzerland. However, he read art books and studied about aesthetics from various art worlds. As a result, nowadays, Shige has created his own original world that merges elements of Japanese tradition and Western art elements. His tattooing has begun surpassing not only traditional tattooing but also art."Horiyoshi III's mention of Filip Leu is significant because Shige himself says in the book that meeting the third-generation tattooist changed his life. Shige never had an apprentcehsip and is a self-taught tattooer, but by getting tattooed by Filip and developing a friendship, he saw Japanese tattoo art in a different way -- that one "didn't have to conform to any particular style but could create freely and with his own imagination."
Many personal photos of Shige, Chisato and the Leu family illustrate the book -- my favorites are watching the process of Shige's own body suit by Filip.
These snapshots bring the reader in at the beginning of the book, engaging -- and endearing us -- to Shige but also prepares us for the stunning body suits and the personal stories of their wearers, like that of Yoko Uki, shown here (see more here).
A must read is Yoko's account of how she came to Shige for her full body suit, the difficult reactions she received in her native Japan, and how she found acceptance at international tattoo conventions, like the first one she went to in London in 2005. I remember running up to Yoko in the bathroom at that convention and completely devouring her artwork; she was so gracious turning around, lifting her arms, posing for pics, both of us giggling. Meeting her was the highlight of that show for me and she talks about how our appreciative response to her changed the way she lives with her Horimono.
That sense of community and belonging that, yes, still remains with us, is a thread that binds the Shige book, presented through the personal journey of one artist.
It was my own vacation, however, that led to this later posting on the book and so the hardcover is now sold out (and it sold out fast) BUT the paperback will be released in the Fall and I promise to give you heads up as soon as I get word from Horitaka of State of Grace who puts out the best books on tattoo.
Meanwhile, enjoy Shige's portfolio online or take a trip yourself to his Yellowblaze studio in Yokohama.
Please forgive the blog silence the past couple of days but I was on the final text deadline for my book on blackwork tattooing. It's all in and now, my friends, it's time to party!
Here's where we'll be tomorrow night: the opening reception of the Flesh to Canvas group art show at the Last Rites Gallery, from 7-11PM.
The show is exclusively comprised of works by tattoo artists but -- you got it -- on canvas, not skin. And the line-up is very exciting with Filip Leu, Shawn Barber, Kim Saigh, Jeff Gogue and so many other incredible tattooists/painters.
This show will be an annual event and an integral part of Paul Booth's Last Rites Gallery. Looking forward to attending its first installation.