Angelique Houtkamp, a tattoo artist and painter from Holland. She has her own tattoo studio in Amsterdam, published two books with her artwork and is populair all around the world. Her speciality is bringing modern, romantic, feminine and symbloic elements in the old school tattoos.
KALTBLUT: Hi Angelique, thanks for taking time for us! How have you been?
Angelique: Right now not so amazing, cause I got the flu, but other then that pretty darn good. My tattoo studio is about to go into it’s 4th year and I work with an amazing little group of artists. On top of that all my customers bring me really nice design ideas. So I can not complain at all.
KALTBLUT: How old were you when you wanted a tattoo and when did you get your fist tattoo?
Angelique: When I was about 10 years old my aunt dated a man who had a classic snake and dagger on his forearm. I thought it was wonderful and magical and always wanted to look at it. He warned me never to get one cause he regretted it, but I think that was the tattoo-seed that was planted in my mind then. When I was 19 and moved out of my parents house I got my first tattoo.
KALTBLUT: Did you already knew you wanted to be a tattoo artist or was that after your first one? And where did you start from there?
Angelique: Before I got my first tattoo I was thinking it would be a good profession for me. I started drawing more and went by tattooshops to ask if they would teach me. Mind you, this was over 25 years ago, so there weren’t a lot of shops I could go and ask. It didn’t happen then, in fact, it took me an other 10 years to get an apprenticeship. The moment I got one I got hooked on drawing day and night and becoming better.
KALTBLUT: What do you think of the tattoo industry now days? Because you tattoo’s are oldschool right?
Angelique: The tattoo industry has changed a lot. So many people want to get tattooed and there are so many tattooers now. It has it’s pro’s and con’s. I don’t care much for all the tattoo tv shows. It shows very little of what is actually means to be a tattooer. There is a huge load of very bad and mediocre tattooers now, but on top of that there are also a lot of amazing ones, although you have to look good to find them and they usually are not in the busy shopping streets. The nice thing about mediums like Instagram is that it makes it easier to find them.
I have always loved old school [or what we call traditional] tattooing. To me it is also the best way to execute a tattoo. Keeping things simple and clear will ensure a tattoo will still look good 10, 20 or 30 years from now. Now the hard part is to keep a tattoo design simple and clear, but also make it interesting. I really like that there are a lot of styles out there and there is something for everybody. In the USA realism is really popular and in Europe and Australia it seems that traditional and neo-tradional [sort of the middle between realism and traditional] are more the flavour, but I think it also depends in which areas or cities you are.
KALTBLUT: Most of your tattoo’s are girls, why girls?
Angelique: The most obvious reason is that that is what my customers ask of me. I’ve had two books published about my paintings, flash and tattoo work and a lot of my artwork in those books are girls. Girls are really fun to do, cause you can give them accesories and expressions that will set a mood. It’s almost like you can convey any emotion that you want with them. The books [Tattoo Darling and Tattoo Mystique, published by Outré Press] gave a lot of people ideas of what they want from me.
Angelique: Yes, girls, for the reasons I explained before. But I also like to tattoo other things. Mixing things up a bit keeps everything more interesting.
KALTBLUT: Did you ever refuse to do some kind of tattoo?
Angelique: I don’t think I’ve ever been asked to do offensive tattoos. I’ve said no a few times to people wanting their hands, neck or face tattooed. If they are really young and/or hardly have tattoos I won’t do it. I do go back and forth on this from time to time though. I don’t want to make peoples life hard when they have no idea what it is like to live with very visible tattoos. And on the other hand I sometimes think people should be free to do whatever they want. How can I predict what people will regret or not. I guess it depends on the mood you will find me in, ha ha.