I also teamed up with my friend and photographer, Lindsey Appolis. I had a go at art directing and we had great fun shooting Juli.
Make up artist: Jess Adams
Location: Joseph Stone in Athlone, Cape Town
Clothes: Models own
How did you start your career as a tattoo artist?
When I was in college, a friend of mine introduced me to tattooing. She started practicing on her own and encouraged me create tattoo designs (flash sheets) and sell them to tattoo parlors. I was quite curious so she showed me and even allowed me to try it out on her. It didn't occur to me at that time that I could actually take it further. It took 3 years of working as a Graphic Designer to realize that it wasn't for me. I'm more of the "hands-on" type. I prefer working and creating with my hands. So I quit my full-time job, got a part-time job in a Garden Centre (swapped the computer screen for sunscreen), and gave tattooing a serious try, on the side, while having a steady income. I took a complementary course in a tattoo parlor, to make sure I knew the correct health and safety procedures, and started tattooing from home. I had my own little private studio for 4 years, and then moved to Montreal and started working in a tattoo studio.
Who or what influences you?
I'm drawn to designing ornamental pieces but back then in my hometown, the demand for it simply wasn't there. I accepted many different projects and tackled many different styles, which allowed me to become quite versatile through the years. My greatest influences have always been found in ornamental, decorative, tribal, ethnic art as well as patterns and symbols found in art, jewelry, architecture or textiles. It can be simple or intricate. Colourful or not, it could have a very deep and spiritual meaning. It could be sacred, or simply abstract and beautiful. I like looking at the entire body like a whole canvas, and then imagine what would look nice and where .I look at what would underline the curve of the hip or compliment the shape of the chest? I'm pretty much driven by the desire to decorate things and people.
What has been your favorite moment in your career so far?
I don't think I have any favourite moment. I'm just happy for being where I am right now and excited for what is still to come. It's a constant learning experience. It has allowed me to grow in ways I had never expected and it's given me amazing opportunities to travel and meet many people that have added to my life. It's what I need to be doing to live the life I dreamed of and it might even lead to something different. Who knows...
What is your favorite part of being a tattoo artist?
Just everything about it. Creating something, every single day of my life. Living off my art, of course but more than that;just being a part of something important to the person getting inked. Helping people express and heal themselves. Tattoos are currently a trend, and mainly a fashion statement but to me, and to some of my clients, they are a lot more than that. It's a radical, primal form of expression and being the person they come to and trust to mark their bodies for life, it's quite something.
If you could describe your art in one word, what would it be?
What are your plans for the future?
Travel more, discover more. Allow more space for my own ideas. Allow more time to create for myself. Paint and draw, just for fun.
Thank you Juli! xoxo
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