Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category


Interview with Great Tattooist – Lionel

Posted by Disha Singh on April 4, 2008
Lionel at work
(Lionel at Work)
Please welcome the great tattoo artist from France – LIONEL. As you cannot hold sand in your hand similarly the free tattoo artist cannot be seen tied in the chains of a tattoo studio. He keeps touring and you can find his availability list on his website. His tattoos are his reflection, making him taller than all other tattooists. His tattoos will surely bring a smile on your face as well as they will take you back to your childhood.

For me his tattoos rejuvenate the child heart lurking inside me. Let’s see what fuels the fire in him to bring out such cute masterpieces on the canvas of skin, through this interview with him.

Disha Singh: Let’s start with your first rendezvous with the art. When did it started and how?
Lionel: Hi, since the beginning and as far as I do remember, my mom brought us to see any kind of exhibitions… we were living in a poor and very industrial city but there were lots of exhibitions with free admittance and my mom always tried to make our eyes wide opened! Thanx to her! The same with music. Even if our parents were strict, we had access to art! We could draw at home and I was a very quiet boy. I could spend hours alone just playing alone and dreaming… a little bit like now!ahahahaah!
Arm tattoo by lionel at paris
(A complete tattoo one of Lionel’s Paris Client)

Disha: Your tattoos are like a trademark for you, which are not like regular tribal or Biomech tattoos. Under what category do your tattoos fall for you and how do you get the idea of a design?
Lionel: Well I think I do something very near the person. I don’t impose anything, I just try to talk and discover the universe of the person. On through his/her belief I try to tell the story of this person on a positive way! Tattoo were forbidden in our culture, so it meant it was very interesting to my eyes when I was younger, but culturally I always preferred art history, illustration books for kids than bikers designs! My tattoos try to reflect the soul of the people who ask me a design…

Disha: What fuels the fire within you to keep going on and on? What sense of fulfillment do you get after inking a design?

When I finish my work I discover the result which is not mine anymore! I work for someone, not really for me! It is lots of concentration, taking care on every details, then when it’s finished the design has being done by me but it is not mine anymore! I need a few days before rediscovering the tattoo I have on the picture I took… it is strange, and hard to explain because skin is an alive canvas!

Skateboard designed by tattooist Lionel and his four children

(A Skateboard designed by Lionel and his four children)

Disha: Who are your main inspirations?

Lionel: My four children, my wife, the sun, the clouds, the landscape, nature, love stories, sky, books, exhibitions and a few painters artists like Cy Twombly, Georg Baselitz and Andy Goldsworthy and Thibault de Reimpré, art printings, people…

Disha: Could you please share any good or bad or some funny experience/request, you’ve encountered for a tattoo?

Mmmh… not really! Maybe one! One old man came to me one day and wanted me to put a microscopic electronic system in the ear of his dog. So that he could follow his dog if he would be lost with a military satellite system!

Lionel and his two children

(Lionel with his two children)
Disha: How have things changed regarding your inking over the years? How far would you like to take your body art?

Lionel: I am lucky. Everybody was spitting on my back for 8-9 years because my tattoos were not traditional enough and now I travel a lot, have wonderful customers and I can express myself more than in the past! People get tattooed on a younger age, their culture is changing of course and now you have lots of tattooists that specialize in one style. Then you can travel to discover the good inker!

Disha: Why do we see Lionel mostly traveling and can someone see him fixed at one stop. If yes, where? Lionel: I had a shop (OUT OF STEP, the enemy of the sun) but I felt depressed by staying in this place everyday! Before tattooing I was a professional guitarist in a punk band and I was on tour for 11 years… Then becoming the owner of a shop made really depressed… I tried two times to run my own shop but after six months I had to do the guest somewhere else!

It permits me also to have more time at home with my family and taking care of them much more. That’s also why it takes so long to answer to everybody!

Very cute Foot Tattoo by Lionel

Disha: Who would Lionel have been if he was not a tattoo artist?

Lionel: I was a professional musician in a punk band called PORTOBELLO BONES for eleven years. I was also organising tours in Europe for my band and some others… So I really think I would work in the music scene as music is a large part of my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Disha: For our readers information please tell us how much does a piece cost?

It costs the price a customer want to spend. He has to think it is for life, he doesn’t buy a pair of shoe when he has an appointment with me. We talk and then I decide if I’m tattooing him with his budget.

Tattooist Lionel house

(Lionel’s House)

Disha: In addition, who is Lionel apart from a being a tattoo artist?

Lionel: A normal guy who lives and dreams in the west of France, who loves life and who would love to visit India for sure!

Disha: Finally, what suggestions do you have for the newbies in the industry and especially to those who want get tattooed?

Lionel: Please take your time. Ask, watch, think, use your head and have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leg tattoo by Lionel

Thank you so much Lionel for sparing your valuable time from your busy schedule. 

Don’t forget to check out few more tattoos by Lionel at our Image Gallery.


Meet Tattoo Industry’s Grandma at Art N Body

Posted by Disha Singh on February 29, 2008
The big grandmother of tattoo industry Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand has joined hands with Art N Body, Williamsville, NY. It is a one stop to ensure your choice of body art as well as clothings from various eminent brands like Ed Hardy, Sailor Jerry, Suicide Girls, Affliction and Black Market and more.

Art N Body Tattoo Studio

Kate has been tattooing since 1971 in all styles whether custom or classic. She has worked with Sailor Jerry Collins of Hawaii, Don Ed Hardy, Jack Rudy, Bill Funk and many others. Very soon you’ll see her personal clothing line hitting the store.

Know more about her new apprentice, Art N Body, from the following interview.

Disha Singh: Can you take me through the evolution of Art N Body?

Shanghai Kate: Art N Body was conceived in the Buffalo region to give the public a new and better idea about tattooing. As tattooing becomes more mainstream, we felt there was a need to satisfy more mainstream clients who were not satisfied with the options they had in the past. Tattoo Shops have had a somewhat less than satisfactory image and there is room for improvement and we wanted to be the leader in that movement. By placing our shop in a suburban setting, we hope to draw clients that normally would not visit a traditional “tattoo shop” in an urban area, while still being located where tried-and-true tattoo clients would still visit.

Our goal was to offer the highest quality tattoos and piercings as possible. After all, if the quality of the work is substandard, sales would suffer. Along with the highest quality of work, we would offer the highest sterilization protocols. Our shop would exceed all local, state and Federal standards, as well as OSHA regulations. All artists would be fully licensed and would continuously attend health related seminars. Along with the tattoo and piercing services, we would offer a great number of tattoo-based clothing lines and accessories for our clients to purchase in an upscale retail environment. The store would also sell artwork by local artists of all kinds as well as music by local musicians.
Artnbody tattoo studio interior

Disha: What’s an ideal connection for you, between you and your client I mean?

Kate: To develop a harmonious long-term relationship while offering the highest artistic completion of their projects performed with the best state-of-the-art technological advances under the safest protocols known. We want to preserve the client’s vision while adhering to the body’s dictates for the best result over time. We want our clients to feel comfortable in a friendly atmosphere while maintaining a strong professional attitude.

Disha: You say you’ve “combined cutting-edge equipments and sterilization procedures with a comfortable, creative environment,” can you please detail it? For the benefit of our readers.

Kate: We have spent the first year of our growth investigation and pursuing the best hospital-style sterilization components to incorporate into our “clean room.” Our artists are well versed in all the latest protocols and study Universal Precautions on a routine basis. We spare no expense in keeping a store of single-service, preventative safeguards in the studio and our products for tattooing are the best, most investigated items on the market. Including our inks, needles, tubes, machines. We have our fingers on the pulse of what’s new out there and continue to purchase and grow with the best our industry has to offer. We spend time investigating the newest developments. At the same time, we don’t want our clients to feel they’ve entered a “hospital” or “clinic” . . . one look at our photos shows a relaxed and gorgeous interior geared toward fun and bright retail items. It’s a store where you can come to shop, search and learn. While we’re deadly serious about what we do, we don’t want to browbeat anyone into anything. This is a great business. We want to have fun.

Artnbody tattoo studio interior.2

Disha: Art N Body opened its doors one year back. Looking down the line, what are your hopes for the space and business?

Kate: We have so many great ideas to bring into fruition. We can’t let too much out of the bag but, while our first year in business has been fraught with lessons and paying dues, we think the worst of it is over. We believe in our shop and concept and what we want to do and we think the community will respond because we have some great things on board.

Disha: How do names like Ed Hardy, Jerry Sailor, Suicide Girls, etc. are associated with you.

ArtNBody: Some of the names you mention are directly linked to our shop because we have Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand working for us now and she spent the earlier part of her career working with Sailor Jerry, Ed Hardy and others. This is an incredibly personal connection, no other shop in the world can make that same boast. She is intimately involved with both of those names and she brings her own collection of images with her. And we expect to develop a Shanghai Kate clothing line in the future in the same grain as the aforementioned names. She also brings with her many personal stories and books . . . and we expect to include these in our future marketing. The other names are direct off-shoots of the very popular Hardy and Jerry empires. We do carry their line and we look to other cutting edge clothing to incorporate in the future.

Artnbody tattoo studio interior for hygienic body art

Disha: There are various artists under one roof. Do you guys push each other to grow as artists? Or, be honest, you’re just too busy competing with each other?

ArtNBody: We very much push each other to grow and become better at what we do. We are not competitors. We believe that may have been the climate of the past, but we now live in an age of communication. Why would we harbor secrets or techniques to use only in our own little cubicle when we could all work more smoothly, more enthusiastically and more efficiently if we all share? Competition can lead to price gouging within the team, that leads to paranoia and turf guarding that leads to the sociopathic personalities we’ve all come to know and love in some of the less progressive shops. That is really OLD School and we want to be the wave of the future. Sharing creates fun creates money creates happy artists, happy clients and a wonderfully informed public.

Here, are the names of the crew members of Art N Body:

Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand, The Manager

Bob Bieber

Heidi Serth

Loren Webster

John Erickson

Sarah Grabowski, Retail/Counter

Bill Robins, Chief Operating Officer

Check out our Image Gallery for some selected Tattoos from the great Tattoo artists of Art N Body!



A True Graphic Designer Tattoo

Posted by Disha Singh on January 22, 2008
Square tattoo on forearm

We are always in a search of a tattoo, which reflects at least some portion of our personality or has some significance in our life. Ragnar Freyr got this square tattoo inked at Eternal Tattos in Clawson, Michigan. It was his first tattoo.

He said, “Being a graphic designer I work a lot with squares and as a modernism enthusiast I just had to get one.”

For him, “It’s also a great conversation starter.” And he explained it further by saying, “at one party a girl asked me if it was a real tattoo. I said yes and she replied: “That’s soooo weeiiird!”

He was mocked at when he asked the guys at tattoo parlor for a simple filled square on his forearm. However, he is satisfied and loves his cool tattoo!


Acquaint yourself with all sides of Suspension

Posted by Disha Singh on January 16, 2008
Joy’s 2 point sucide suspension
(“2 point suicide” or “2 point back” suspension)

Hello friends, today I’m here to throw some light on all sides of “Suspension” with the help of our friend and tattoo artist Joy Rumore of Twelve 28 Tattoo, Brooklyn, New York. She is also a member of a suspension group called “Rites of Passage” whose founder is Emrys Yetz.

I had asked her few questions regarding suspension and her group, she replied us and here we have an informative article based on her replies.

This post will surely wipe off the haze from your mind regarding “Suspension”.

Actaully, Suspension is an act of suspending human body via hooks that are poked through their body in form of a temporary body piercing.
2-point suicide suspension


“Suspension begins with the cleansing and marking of the area to be pierced. The flesh is then pierced with sterile needles and hooks. The person suspending is then securely tied to a rig, which is a metal piece of equipment attached to a rope and pulley system. They are lifted off of the ground and then suspend by their flesh alone. They hang for as long as they wish; 2 minutes or 2 hours. When they decided to end the suspension the rig is detached, the hooks removed, and the wounds are bandaged.”

Risks and Safety:

“The risks involved can range from small scarring at the piercing site to shock and death. Some people faint during suspensions. Some people have tearing of the skin around the hook and require sutures.

All people interested in suspending should do so only with those who are experienced and have knowledge about every aspect of the procedure.”

Joy Chest Suspension Scars and healed after 2 years
(Fresh and Healed Scars over two years)

What happens to skin after suspension?

“You may be sore for a few days and sometimes bruising is visible, the skin does go back to normal, though there may be small scars at the piercing sites.”


Suspension is an expensive procedure and to take an idea regarding its cost we asked Joy to tell us about the fee of their Group. It can vary but she replied;

“We have a donation fee of $100 per suspension. All of us in the group perform suspensions on a non-profit basis. The money received by those who suspend is put back into the group to buy more supplies.”
Suspension hook in the skin
(A pierced hook in the skin with markings on the skin)

Thanks Joy, for sparing sometime from your busy schedule.