Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Rob Admiraal in Japan

September 25th, 2014 by

If everything goes right this coming spring, I will be heading to Rob Admiraal’s tattoo studio in Amsterdam and getting tattooed not by Admiraal but by Lina Stigsson.  That being said, Rob Admiraal is a phenomenal tattoo artist with a deep appreciation and understanding of Japanese tattoo.  In this short documentary, Admiraal journeys to Japan in order to have his outstanding back piece completed.  He also travels around Japan, reconnecting with fellow tattoo artists and shedding light on Japanese tattoo in the process.  A must watch.

Meet Rob Admiraal!

August 8th, 2009 by

Some people may not be aware of this, but there are a lot of other things to do in the gorgeous city of Amsterdam other than smoke pot and ogle prostitutes.  Fortunately, one of those things happens to be getting tattooed by the wicked Dutch tattoo artist, Rob Admiraal.

Tattooing professionally since 1993, Rob owns and operates Admiraal Tattoo, a private tattoo studio in the heart of Amsterdam.  Aside from Rob, Admiraal Tattoo employees three other talented tattoo artists.  Rob specializes in Japanese tattoo, and has journeyed numerous times to Japan in order to study the art form as well as to have his back piece completed by the incredible Japanese tattoo artist, Horitsune II.

As a matter of fact, one of Rob’s most recent projects has been the completion of the documentary film Onko Chishin, which details his quest to have his Horitsune II back piece completed during a journey to Osaka.  In addition to this, the documentary takes a look at tattooing in Japan, its legacy, its artists, its taboos and the Western impact on traditional Japanese tattooing.  The film is directed by Rogier Postma.

Rob’s work definitely showcases the time and study that he’s put into it.  His attitude toward tattooing is a great one, acknowledging the importance of individuality in each piece that his clients receive from him:

“Every tattoo is specifically created for the client. I thoroughly visualize the image beforehand. Since I consider my work a service I am used to working together with my clients to get the look they want. An inherent restriction of a tattoo is that the black ink tends to spread on the skin over a period of time. With the restrictions in mind I simplify the essence of the image to create a strong, longlasting tattoo. It’s not the image itself but the way it is done which determines it’s distinction and gives it it’s power and expression. If the tattoo is applied immaculately, it’s going to stay looking good on the skin for life. Obviously, all this is something you can only come across with tattooing.”

There you have it, an artist who understands his craft and the importance of applying that craft precisely to ensure a great looking piece of art.  It’s not just about drawing pretty pictures and Rob Admiraal knows it.

Meet Lina Stigsson!

October 23rd, 2011 by

Today will be my final entry for the tattoo blog.  I might return one day in the future, but for now, I’m signing off as a tattoo blog blogger and venturing out into the wild, wonderful world.  I will be in search of crazy people with beautiful tattoos and beautiful people with crazy tattoo skills.  They are out there and I will find them.  However, for now, I will focus on this one final blog post and try to make it the best yet.  I think I’ve come pretty damn close actually, because it would be hard to find a better tattooist for this final artist profile than Lina Stigsson.

Originally from Sweden (a country that has no shortage whatsoever of amazing tattooists), Stigsson has been living in Amsterdam, Netherlands for ten years and counting.  She went to school at Amsterdam’s Rietveld art school and went on to work for another amazing Amsterdam tattooist, Rob Admiraal.  Today Stigsson can still be found at Admiraal Tattoo and like any great artist, her work seems to continually get better and better.

Mixing a Classic American style with a somewhat Asian feel to it, Stigsson’s tattoos explode with colour and depth.  There is an unbelievable smoothness to everything she does, giving her tattoos the look of a painting or a sketch, but with the thickness and contours of a well placed tattoo.  Though Classic American is a style done by many tattooists the world over, looking at Stigsson’s portfolio, I don’t feel like I’ve seen this all before.  She’s absolutely got her very own original style and that makes Lina Stigsson a tattooist worth seeking out.

Meet Angelique Houtkamp!

September 28th, 2009 by

Some time ago, I did a tattoo artist profile on Rob Admiraal, owner of the Amsterdam based tattoo studio Admiraal Tattoo.  No doubt about it, Rob’s got some skills, but in addition to that, Admiraal Tattoo is one of if not the best tattoo studio in Holland.  Need further proof than the skills of its owner?  Then look no further than Angelique Houtkamp, one of the most original and dynamic tattoo artists that I have seen in some time.

Angelique’s work samples inspiration from numerous sources and although her roots are Dutch, much of her work is firmly rooted in American imagery, specifically the female Hollywood/Flapper styles of the 1920’s and 30’s.  Yet that description hardly sums up Angelique’s style, as there is everything from hints of classic nautical design to…well, hell, maybe I’ll just leave it up to Angelique’s own website to sum it all up:

“Her work is deceptively simple, instantly recognisable and often humorous. Classic old school tattoo imagery mixed with mythological dreams, antropomorphed critters, nautical iconography and haunting Hollywood romance by way of Angelique’s distinctive painterly magic and  eye for style.”

Too true.  Her art is instantly recognizable and aside from her career as a tattoo artist, Angelique also paints, with her prints for sale and her art regularly showing at art galleries around the world.  Her most recent show was this past August at the Eclectix Gallery in El Cerrito, California.  This October, Angelique will be having a solo art show and release party in both Syndey and Melbourne, Australia, at the Outré Gallery for her second book (yes, she also puts out books), “Tattoo Mystique”.

If all that’s not enough Angelique Houtkamp for you, she also sells some very cool T-Shirts. Take a look at some of Angelique’s tattoo work right here.