Q&A: Lina Stigsson
Lina Stigsson is a Swedish tattoo artist living in Amsterdam and working at Admiraal Tattoo. Over the last decade she has been creating striking designs with a modern twist on classic imagery. I caught up with her to ask her why she loves old school style tattoos, who has inspired her through the course of her career, and what she thinks is the best thing about being a tattooist.
How did you get started tattooing? Who has been the biggest influence on your career so far?
I went to art school for four years but I actually wanted to be tattooing. In the end I was lucky to get an apprenticeship in a small city called Deventer. I was there for two years working with Tomas Kynst and Angelique Houtkamp. Then I got a job at Tattoo Peter In Amsterdam, a place I had always wanted to work at because of its history. I had a great time, getting very inspired by the old Tattoo Peter designs covering the walls. After two years I moved on to work at Admiraal Tattoo studio where Rob inspired me to get into the Japanese style. I have learned a lot from him. It’s difficult to say who has been the biggest influence for me.
How would you define your own style? Did you always draw and use colour in this way?
I try to be clean and simple and lately I’m using more bold lines. I like to do oil painting and watercolour, I find oil painting easier because you can mix the colours easier but watercolour is closer to tattooing so therefore I do it more often.
Your work seems to be influenced by classic tattoos, borrowing elements from old school/ traditional. What is it that appeals to you about this kind of tattooing? Why do you think these motifs that have been around since Sailor Jerry’s time are still so popular today?
I like the iconography of these old images and the strong classical emotions that they represent. They are timeless.
What is it like for a woman working in tattooing, which has until recently been quite a macho, male-dominated industry? Do you find you have a lot of female clients? Do you have any advice for young women wanting to break into tattooing?
I always found it pretty easy being a girl in the tattoo world. But I always liked to hang out with the guys so maybe thats way. I have a lot of female customers although I do think I have more men than women. For anybody who wants to get into tattooing I would say to just be yourself and good luck.
How was the London Tattoo Convention for you this year? How do you feel generally about working conventions (some artists love them, some don’t)?
I had a great time at the London convention, I always do. It’s of course a bit more stressful when there are so many people, around but it’s nice to meet friends and to see other tattooers at work. I always get a lot of inspiration.
What is the most memorable tattoo you have ever created?
Every time I do a tattoo I try to make it the most special one I made. It’s too difficult to pick one thing.
What for you is the best and worst thing about being a tattooist?
Being able to make your own schedule and being your own boss is very nice of course, it gives you a lot of freedom. Dealing with the clients can at times be stressful though and it can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.
Where do you think the tattoo world is going? Can it get any bigger and more popular than it already is?
Yeah. I think we will only get more tattoos in the future.
My name is Hannah Smith and I am a regular contributor to Tattoo Revolution Magazine, and now I blog for Tattoosday UK, as long as you dear readers don’t run me out of town! I am on the hunt for ideas for future blog posts so please send me your pics, news, views, whatever to email@example.com or twitter.com/ hannah_fran_ink