Thursday, September 13, 2018

Featured Tattoo Artist | Sarah B Bolen

Name: Sarah B Bolen 
Age: 39
Location: Berlin, Germany

How did you get into the industry? Was it hard to find an apprenticeship? 

I got into - or interested, in tattooing very young. I got my first tattoo when I was 13 or 14 years old in 1992/93 and it was set in from there wanting to be a tattooer. I was always drawing, painting, writing (font work/lettering), super creative as a child, so there was no question I would live my life as an artist. Plus growing up within the music scene, non conformity, anti society, rebellious youth at its’ finest, etc. gave a huge advantage to the desire of tattooing. I did not, and still don't, want to be like everyone else. Back then in the early/mid ‘90’s, and when I started actually tattooing, it was very unheard of (as a young girl especially) and not popular, cool, or mainstream as it is today. It was a huge fucking battle for me in many ways back then. Male, (very macho/tough guy) dominated industry, hardly taken seriously, insane amount of sexism and abuse of power. It took a lot of courage and determination to get through that shit. It wasn’t exactly ‘hard’ to get an apprenticeship, so few people wanted to be tattooers, it was more hard because of the time period. Tattooers now a days versus the ‘old timers’ then, is like night and day. I often feel the newer generation of tattooers are spoiled brats by comparison. But they don't know, so it’s irrelevant. It was hard and I was treated horribly, but I loved it at the same time. It was so rare to be a female tattooer then, so I have a great feeling that I may have helped paved a way for the women today. What a difference from my beginnings! 

How long have you been tattooing for? 

20 years. 

What inspires you? 

 There are so many things that inspired me. It can be from a crazy, vivid dream to laying in the grass watching an ant carrying some yummy food back to its house, or sitting at the window watching the snow fall. Being around people with integrity, drive, intelligence and passion inspire me greatly. Music is huge. Traveling is huge. Inspiration for me also comes from the ability to allow and encourage my imagination; to give it a chance to completely take over and escape from the harshness of a sick society. To get a chance to live in an endless realm of pure imagination is pure bliss for me. Nature, I suppose, inspires me the most, including the micro and macro universes. So fascinating!

Who are your favourite tattoo artists? 

There are many many incredible tattoo artists out there. Too many to name. I would feel terrible to write them all out, and miss some...

How would you describe your tattoo style?

 I have no idea how to describe my work or style. I’m not convinced that I aim for anything particular, rather try to create something I feel good about, but this is also quite the trick; to feel happy/content/pleased/whatever, with my work. I struggle a lot to feel like I’m doing good or reaching my potential.

If you weren’t tattooing, what would you be doing?

 I would like to devote myself full time to installation art. That is what I’m currently working towards. I could see myself being practically anything, honestly. I have an Interior Design degree, can build/make or construct things, lighting fixtures. I love motorcycles and vintage cars too. Basically, I love working with my hands!

What advice do you have for people considering a career in tattoo? 

My advice is draw every day all the fucking time. Check your bullshit ego at the door, especially when you get more well-known. Humility goes a long way, especially nowadays. Don't give up if this is something you really want, and listen and be open, pay attention! Take it seriously. You are putting something permanent on a person; they will remember you forever, and treat them well. Be respectful of your elders in this industry. And other artists as well. Get off of the Internet!

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

Freedom to make my life as I want to. The incredible people I’ve met, both artists and clients. The ability to travel and make art! I’m on the road doing so at this moment! 2 month long motorcycle tattoo tour in Canada, West Coast down to the southern United States. Life is good!

Where do you currently tattoo? 

Berlin is where my shop is, and on the road twice a year.

Black Mirror Parlor, Fichtestra├če 25, 10967 Berlin, Germany