For several years, Angelique has been imposing her simple and elegant designs as the ultimate illustrative sophistication. Living proof art schools are not a route to inspiration but merely to technique, the self-taught dutchwoman second-thought-freely offers the world a book of reference sure to bring her the recognition she deserves and a whole new repertory of beautiful designs for tattoo artists and illustrators worldwide.
ART & PROJECTS: www.salonserpent.com
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Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Uithoorn, a small town 30 km below Amsterdam.
What kind of environment was it?
It was a typical small suburban place. I could walk or ride my bike to school, hang out with my friends at the mall. I had a pretty good child hood, but ever since I became a teenager I couldn’t wait to get out of it. I always felt that there was the whole world to discover and great things to experience.
How did you first get acquainted to tattoo-related iconography?
When I was a kid my aunt had a bikerboyfriend who had an old school snake and dagger tattoo on his forarm. I used to love that thing. It felt magical to me even though I didn’t understand the meaning of a snake and dagger, or maybe because of that. He always told me he regretted getting it and I should never get one myself. Wrong thing to tell a kid, ha ha.
Were you first attracted by illustration as such or by tattoos?
As a child I was always into making stuff, whether it was drawing or soldering metal or with wood. My dad was kind of a handyman, so he always had lots of stuff to work with in his shed. I used to draw lots in spurts and then sometimes not for months. I never had much direction, I was always all over the place. I guess that’s why I never did a formal education. I had no clue what to do for work and the possibility of doing tattoos or illustration never even crossed my mind.
At what point did you decide to start to be a tattoo-artist yourself?
I had a shitty job in the centre of Amsterdam, where I would pass a tattooparlour on my way to work everyday. That’s when the idea started forming in my head that that might be something for me.
Did you study art or illustration?
I never did any art school or technical drawing school. I did start a drawing course a few times, but it bored the hell out of me and I never lasted more then two classes. When I started getting interested in tattooing is when I found a real drive to draw, all the time, every time.
How did you get to work with iconic amsterdam tattoo artist Rob Admiraal?
I suck really good cock. Yes, I do. But what you really mean is; how many burrito’s did Rob have to buy me to convince me to come work with him? Ok, serious now. Before I started working with Rob, I already knew him for a good number of years. And we get along really well. He liked my work, so it was a pretty natural thing to happen.
How do you relate to “traditional” tattoo iconography?
It was pretty fast after getting into tattooing that I felt a connection to old school work. It has that “passed time” feel where you can think that everything was better, easier and more exciting then. I do really relate to a lot of the dramatic themes in old school work, it has superstition and basic emotions to it.
Do you wish to sail away from it or is it for you an endless source of inspiration?
Both. And now I realise that that comes in tides and not even consiously. I may take excursions away from it, but never even really that far. No matter what I always return to it and I can be suprised again how much it IS an endless source of inspiration.
What are your favorite techniques, what do you feel the most comfortable with?
I love watercolor. I’m good at it. It came easy to me and it is what I always will be doing. But it is also really fun to do other things from time to time like oilpaint, or the painted babyskulls. So every now and then I want to do something different, but watercolour is my main medium.
What is your main activity now?
It can differ per period, but mostly it is painting. I worked a lot on the linedrawingbook this year, so I painted a litle less. Sometimes I make remote designs for people in other parts of the world where they get it tattooed by an artist in their area. I really enjoy doing that and I tattoo about once or twice a week. I also take care of orders of prints and such.
Do you find it hard to balance all these different activities?
I already paced myself a bit, cause I could be much wors. The only problem I have now it that I work in three different places, my studio, at home and at Admiraal tattoo. This is becoming a bit of a hassle, so at the moment I’m looking for a shopspace in Amsterdam where I can do all my things in one spot. Tattoo, paint, draw, design, ship orders and have a great looking place to work at where people can come by for a coffee or something and see all my print editions nicely framed on the wall. Maybe get some other tattooers to come work with me. I am super excited about this, setting up a place in my style and eastethics and not being spread across different locations.
Why did you decide to publish a book of line-drawings, knowing that a lot of uninspired tattoo artists will not hesitate to just photocopy it and sell it as theirs?
Mhh, I think I have a bit more faith in people then you. And I refuse to not do thing because of what some bad eggs might do. It took me a while to realise that people all over the world where using my paintings for tattoo inspiration. It seemed only logical then to make something that really caters to that. At first I was debating whether to make them in color or black linedrawings. I chose for the latter, cause I think it’s more fun for people to do their own thing with the colors and give it their own personal touch.
Is the book self-published, or do you work with a publishing house?
I published it myself. It has been a tradition for some time for tattooers to sell linedrawing or sketchbooks, mainly at tattoo conventions. These books are typical low-fi productions with wire-O binding. I really like that, cause they are made to work with. Off course I couldn’t help myself to upscale it a bit and have a nice quality cover and back printed.
The All-Killer-No-Filler Linedrawing book
This is a 30 pages open edition ring-bound publication and each one is signed and numbered on the front cover.
Lots of different themes like hinges, roses, cake-girls, hearts, pin-ups, skulls, snakes, circus, flapper girls, sailors and fans. Small stuff, medium sizes and chest pieces. I had great fun making it and hope you will in using it.
This book is meant to be used as linedrawings for tattoos, as inspiration and for reference, by tattoo-artists, tattooees and tattoo lovers or for your DIY and craft projects like stitching. The images heirin can thus be only for personal use and may not be duplicated in any other form and/or for any other use, commercial or otherwise.
You can use the line-drawings as is, or mix ‘n match them to your taste. For instance, take the lines of a fan and replace the drawing in the fan for something else from the book or something from your own imagination.
Try out different color schemes. I always prefer to use black shading and if possible not more then 3 colors. Keeps the design nice and strong. Or even, try out black shading and add only one color. You can also ask your tattooartist to have a go at a colorscheme for you.
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