Sunday, March 23, 2014

Featured Tattoo Artist | Henric Beckenäs Nielsen

Name: H.B. Nielsen

Age: 27

Location: On the Road

What attracted you to tattooing? 

I think I always liked tattoos as a kid, thought they were tough. And then in high school a lot of my friends started getting small tattoos when we were 16-17, like little tribals and stuff. I got my first one on a family vacation when I was 17, a little panther clawing its way up my chest. I never thought of becoming a tattooer though. I didn’t even draw much until I started tattooing at 24. 

How did you get into the industry?

I had graduated from college and come home to Sweden, living on my mother’s couch and working as a door-to-door fish salesman. One of the guys I worked with was someone that went to the same elementary school as me, a couple of grades higher. He told me he was trying to become a tattooer and I let him practice on me. It seemed fun tattooing so I bought a couple machines from him and started practicing on skins of fruits. Things went pretty fast and after five or six months I had a full time job tattooing in a street shop in Stockholm. I was completely clueless at the time though, and in retrospect it’s blind luck something didn’t go wrong.

Was it hard to find an apprenticeship?

Unfortunately, I never had one. However, I’ve been lucky with meeting many great tattooers along the way who have taught me most of the stuff I know today. 

How many years have you been tattooing? 

3 years

What inspires you? 

Old flash, folk art, illustrations, DIY art and tattoos, and of course other tattooers’ works.

Who are your favourite tattoo artists?

From old tattooers I really like Niels Fischer, Rosie, and Gustav Bechmann. In current tattooing, I think Liam Sparkes and Ryan Jessiman at Shangri La in London are really good. Guy Le Tatooer is great, as well as Thomas Hooper. Bram Adey in Canada is a guy who flies under the radar, but whose work inspires me a lot.

How would you describe your tattoo style?

I tattoo in black and the style is pretty rough, sometimes bordering careless but hopefully on the right side of that line. I tattoo fast and that shows sometimes, but I like ruggedness, and prefer the texture of a homemade hand poke or the way a tattoo looks after 30 years to a new one in most cases. 

If you weren't tattooing what would you be doing? 

I’d be a gardener and a writer!

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

Draw a lot. Get tattooed a lot.

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

The opportunity to travel as much as I want – that I can fit everything in a suitcase and work anywhere. Right now, though, I would like to stay somewhere for a while so that I can get a dog.

Where do you currently tattoo?

I’m traveling full time. But this year I’ve been staying closer to home, mainly tattooing Swedish cities and in Copenhagen, Denmark. I haven’t planned out my year after May, so perhaps I’ll make some bigger travels, or do the complete opposite and settle down somewhere.

instagram @hbnielsentattoo