Fineline style is getting more popular than ever, and it’s all thanks to artists like Mr J, who are dedicated to making their everlasting art increasingly memorable.
Sitting at almost 165k followers on Instagram, Mr J is making single needle microrealism pieces to die for.
He’s the owner of The.fineline.gallery in Düsseldorf, Germany, and is talking with us today to tell us a bit more about himself, his path to becoming a tattoo artist, and future plans.
So Mr J, what was the start of your career like?
I discovered how small and fine details were possible to put into the skin and fell in love with this style. So I decided to buy a tattoo machine and supplies to try this out on fake skin. I never drew or painted in my life before this but I thought tattooing is different because I must just follow the stencil so It should be simple. In my mind at this point, I thought that I could try to do small outline designs. I started from the first moment with single-needle tattooing. After much trial and error and very much research I slowly started to understand the fundamentals of single needle tattooing.
Single needle is a very hard and peculiar technique. Tell us a little bit about your path to becoming the artist you are today and why this technique.
So I really liked the single needle tattoos because of the amount of detail that you can make on a small area and this is why I choose to become an artist in this technique. Yes, single needle is very hard to learn and even more when you don’t have anyone showing you.
I obsessed a bit about how to make it work and I tried everything (voltages, machines, inks, cartridges, fake skins, movement, depth, gauge of the needle, etc.) Even getting a stencil printer to print the lines thin enough took me time. After making hundreds of tattoos on fake skin and 2 tattoos on my own body I decided to offer tattoos through instagram and making them from my house.
I started out charging just 10$ for a tattoo to see if I could get any customers. Turned out people loved cheap tattoos and I was bombarded with messages. So after doing many tattoos and learning from tattooing on real skin, I started to raise the price accordingly to the quality of the tattoo I was making and seeing what other studios were charging.
I saw that your work ranges from microrealism pieces to minimalist ones. What’s the type of tattoo you prefer to work on?
I love to mix micro realism with fine line geometric shapes and ornamental enhancement. When I add the geometric patterns, they are never random. Every pattern of lines or circles has a special meaning which I explain to the clients. I always like to follow the patterns of 3, 6, and 9 in my work as I believe the relation of these numbers has to do with our universe. Additionally, I like to make the vision or motives of my clients into artistic metaphors that have profound underlying meanings. By turning my clients’ visions into metaphors, I create a unique and deeply personal piece of art that goes beyond mere aesthetics. This level of engagement and interpretation adds a layer of storytelling to my work, making each tattoo a visual representation of the individual’s narrative and experiences.
What would you say is for you the hardest part of being a tattooist?
The hardest part is to be a very patient person and have enough motivation. You need very much patience and motivation to learn and not give up. Lucky for me I learned when I was a teenager to play Guitar and later went to college to get a degree in Music. Every person who has learned to play an instrument knows how patient you must be. Once I started tattooing I was already a very patient person thanks to music.
Also, I am an obsessive person when it comes to learning things that really motivate me so I put endless hours to learn as much as I could to become the artist I am today.
What’s a funny story that happened to you with a client (or in the studio)?
Somehow my client fell completely asleep during the tattoo sessions while I was tattooing. Seems perfect right? Client is sleeping, not moving. NO. The client started to sleepwalk and talking weird languages while shaking her arms every 10 seconds. I would wake her up constantly but after 5 minutes it would be back to sleep. In the end I just had to hold down the arm very hard to stop it from moving. In the end the tattoo turned out great!
If you could say something to all your future / potential clients, what would it be?
Please take good care of your skin and use moisturiser lotion! This will make all the difference in the final result of your tattoo.
Do you have any ongoing/future projects you’d like the readers to know about?
In the heart of my future endeavors lies @The.FineLine.Gallery, a dynamic creative space where guest artists are welcome to bring tattoo art to life.
For those who want to get inked with you, what’s the best way to contact you and, on average, how long do they have to wait to get their session?
Best way to contact me for a session is on Instagram. On average I would say between 3 and 4 months so not that long.
Did you enjoy this interview? And who would you like to see next? Request your favorite artists via [email protected]