INTERVIEW // DotsToLines
May 9th // Inteviewr: Shane Allen // Art
What was your first creative outlet as a kid?
Born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, moved to Berlin 5 years ago to learn how to tattoo. I had a pretty normal childhood, I was not a popular child at all and spent most of my childhood in front of my computer. I never had any artistic background, never created art beside playing a guitar as a hobby and for sure nothing that has to do with drawing / tattooing. in fact I was not attracted to tattoos so much before I started to think about getting one, which I cant really explain why it happened.
What beauty do you find in black and grey?
I use black as the main colour for me tattoos simply because I think that it is the only colour that will look timeless on a timeless design, I also think that it looks good on our body more than any other colour, I do use red sometimes but it is very rare.
It seems like most of the people I see you tattoo, have no other tattoos on their body, is this your preference? Are you a lot of people’s first tattoos?
I get a lot of requests from people that never had been tattooed before and always wanted a tattoo and from people who never wanted a tattoo and was afraid of it, most of those groups of people saw my work in the virtual media and liked it, as in their eyes it is not in the same pattern as tattooing is. they see it more as an art form than as the conventional way of seeing tattoos is. and this what makes me love tattooing more and more, when I succeed to open more and more people to tattooing.
When you will ask those people about tattoos the first thing that they will think of will be skulls, roses, anchors and so on.. so I really think that it is really necessary to show and to talk as much as possible about modern-undefined-categoriyly-tattooing because, as much modern as it is, it is closer to the source of tattooing with its aim. and thats my trigger when writing this interview. to open as many peoples eyes to the beauty art of tattooing.
Your tattoos seem to draw similarities to the perfection of the way smoke forms. Is this something you look at for reference?
I get inspiration from nature, I think that it is the most honest thing for us artists to get inspired from. off course that i get super excited when i see tattoo designs or other art forms which stimulates me, but i really get most of my inspiration on a more wide aspect of just observing or thinking about nature, as mathematical as it is, as spiritual and abstract as it can be.
I try always to balance my designs as nature does with its creations, when a design is too geometric it is often creates a cold feeling, the goal is to find the right balance into it. When I take a project I have always the feeling to create something that will look super cool from far away and when you will come closer it will have a lot of dimensions in it and will stimulate the viewer’s eyes in the strongest way. It doesn’t have to be too complicated, it can simply be made from one line that flows through the entire body, it is all a matter of personality and what the costumer is like. how he moves, how he talks, how he is describing himself like and how he wants to be described.
I really take the time to learn those things before making a design and tattoo it, I studied computer science and psychology in my past and I guess that the combination of those 2 fields are what really makes my designs interesting and stimulating. It is very interesting how cold lines and dots can have life and unique behaviour.
Do you have a background in design other than tattooing?
As I never had any art education I cant really draw as efficient as other tattoo artists, I cover that with a lot of computerised designs that I make with strong passion, but I would love to develop my drawing skills more by doing more organic motives like animals and buddhistic figures, I think that those motives works amazingly good with geometric forms and patterns, and create a nice atmosphere when used in the right way. The good side of me being a non educational artist is that I am not really patterned to create something defined that a lot of educated artists feels comfortable with. for me to create lines that flows all over someones back is easier than to draw something defined like a traditional anchor, place it on the body and being satisfied with it, as weird as it may sound.
Would you call your work minimal? What is the importance of a mandala and why are you attracted to them?
is hard for me to categorise my tattoo style as a certain style. but as weird and minimalistic as this style is, it is like it is being asked not to be categorised into a certain conventional style pattern. I actually started to make those designs because it was weird for me that people try to categorise tattoos and other art forms.
Sometimes people waste more energies when they stand in front of an art creation by trying to understand to which gender it is connected to and to under which category it should be defined instead of enjoying the endless opportunity of having something undefined. I could say that I have that split into my designs, just like in my personality, I make those art minimalistic lines - the computer kid inside me, and very detailed mandalas - the spiritual man inside me.
Do you meditate?
I am a very spiritual person, I travelled in India for 1 year and since than I adopted a lot of buddhistic ways of life, on the other hand I was a computer guy that see the world in a drastic and definite way.
Every tattoo you do seems to fit the client’s unique body composition, what’s your approach to finding what works on someone and what doesn’t?
I make my designs according to the body structure of my clients, I cant ever make a sketch before, because it could look pretty nice on the paper but wouldt fit the body as I dont see most of my clients before because most are travelling here. my studio is located in berlin, it is private which means that there is just one person at the time there, I dont take walk ins and tattoo one person a day. I think that it is impossible to tattoo more than one person a day as a tattoo artist that tries to go through a spiritual experience together with the client and to create something positive out of it from the psychological aspect as well as from the creation aspect.
As more as the client that I have in front of me is open minded I create something more individual for this person, and the creations that I feel the most comfortable with and love the most are the ones that I created on people that actually came without any idea of what they want to get but with a strong will to get tattooed by me.
I do a lot of free hand with my tattoo designs, most of the lines art design, and the process of designing is sometimes longer than the tattooing process itself. it is sometimes very hard to find the right lines that floats through the body, specially when we talk about geometric designs. our body is not symmetric and to try to put a symmetric design on a non symmetric object most of the time ends with it looking as a sticker. If you choose to deal with geometric designs it has to be the right size, the right place and the right movement. otherwise it is simply not working. I experiment a lot, like on a daily base, which is a bit risky when comes to a non reversible form of art, but I guess that it is the only way to develop your own style as an artist, and create something individual daily
Your tile work seems to be a natural progression of your art. Do you think of it as progression, orjust another medium to express the same ideas you do in your tattooing?
I would love to experience more art mediums like drawing and sculpting but I simply have no time as tattooing takes 14 hours of my day and I enjoy every second of it.
Check out more of Chaim's Work //
Instagram // @dotstolines