Thursday, December 1, 2011

Featured Tattoo Artist | Erik Lööf

Name: Erik Lööf

Age: 28

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

What attracted you to tattooing?

I guess I got it from my dad. He was a sailor, before I was born, but he had the tattoos to prove it to me when I was old enough to understand. He had the shittiest owls, roses, sharks and anchors. There was no way telling what it was, just blurry blue shapes. But he got them from tattoo-Jack and other legends and told me stories about how he got them, and how it wash´t accepted at all when he was young. So seeing them and hearing the stories behind the blues shapes got me hooked. I remember when I was 8 years old painting fake tattoos on my younger brother and my friends, I drew on everything as a kid. I always wanted to be a tattooer. I love the fact that it´s something that you have to live with forever, you have to be committed to get a tattoo, or at least u had to before, now It's no big deal to people. But It used to be something for the outcasts. 

How did you get into the industry?

I studied art after graduating school and signed up for two years and dropped out after one. I was so sure that getting an apprenticeship was impossible so I didn´t even try. I choose the second best, painting. It worked for a year but then i started realize that art isn´t how good you are with your brush, it´s how good you are talking with your mouth. I couldn´t sell myself in that way, I was far to lazy and shy. So I quit art school and decided to go for what i always wanted.

Was it hard to find an apprenticeship?

Actually no, cause I did it the right way. I put together a clean portfolio in nice framing and it covered everything I knew about tattoos and art in general.  I wrote a letter explaining why I wanted to be a tattooer and what I could offer them. People are far too lazy when they search for apprenticeship. You see kids coming in the door with one or two tattoos on themselves and a sketch of a rose they did yesterday asking if they can get paid to learn how to tattoo and when they get turned down they go around yelling "Its´s impossible to get into the business". It´s not, not if you are committed and talented.

How many years have you been tattooing?

I´m on my sixth year tattooing and now I finally have days where I kind of know what I´m doing. Until the next day when i lose it all..

What inspires you?

I would say the people around me. I´m used to being around creative people. Music, art, tattoos whatever, just people making things happen! I love the D.I.Y community, that´s where i grew up!

Who are your favourite tattoo artists?

I hate this.  I mean there´s so many names and you don´t wanna forget someone if you start saying them…so let´s do it like this,  one of my favorite tattoos right now on my own body is one from Amina from Bright side tattoo in Copenhagen so let´s go with her!


How would you describe your tattoo style?

I´m so fresh so I haven´t found my style yet, Still searching…Now I try to do more simple tattoos then before. More colorful of course, and maybe a little bit girlie.

What have you learned in your years in the industry?

Work hard, don´t be afraid, be respectful to the ones before you and never say no to street work.

What advice do you have to people considering careers in tattooing?

Do it the right way. If you try and don´t succeed then tattooing is not for you, either you get an apprenticeship or you don't. If not, don´t be the guy tattooing friends from your kitchen, tattooing is more than that. It´s a craftsmanship that you need to deserve, not read up on yourself on the Internet.

What are some of the best things you have experienced as a result of your career?

All the people of course, tattooers, friends, costumers and everything around it. I get to do what I love everyday. That´s the best experience and I get to live that everyday! 

Where do you currently tattoo?

I work at Stockholm classic tattoo with some of the best people in Sweden, Max the owner was one of the first tattooers I really looked up to. I´m so stoked to be working with all the guys there!