2020 is not a year I will easily forget. This isn’t just because of the pandemic and what it has caused worldwide. 2020 has led me to make some choices and face some difficult situations that have been both unexpected and unacceptable.

Yet at the same time, it’s as if this year has become a turning point in my professional life. 2020 spirited away Marcus Berriman, my friend of twenty years with whom I shared so many passions. Marcus was my business partner for the London Tattoo Convention, and I trusted him more than myself. Together we shared all the joys and satisfactions that this event has given me over the past 15 years. He passed away, leaving an immense void in my professional life, and now I feel like the single parent of a creature whom both of us devoted our hearts to.

Marcus Berriman
Marcus Berriman

2020 has also given me so much. It’s generated the desire to produce new projects and reach some objectives that I’d set for myself awhile back, and that probably were waiting for the right moment to materialize. This was the case for the book Mike Dorsey. Japan Reimagined, which has become a global success, followed by 10 Years of Grindesign. The Art of Robert Borbasl; a big hit amongst tattooists who love the dark genre, this book shows them what a certified stamp of this style looks like. These two titles have rewarded my desire to create tattoo culture, to contextualize and provide proper references for folks who do research and want “certified” tools that don’t just offer a “one shot” photo, but rather an entire creative process.

And now it is Filip Leu’s turn. Anyone who knows me knows how much I care about Leu, both as a friend and artist. Filip is a role model for hundreds of tattooists who have looked up to him and continue to do so – sometimes without even realizing it. He’s a master of a style that is so popular and consolidated that any trace of its roots has been lost. I’d like to lead not only the people who do oriental back to those roots, but also anyone else in general who wants to see what real tattooing is: no gimmicks, pure and true, and technically perfect in its awesome visual power. The Filip Leu book led me to look back over forty years of tattooing and become a witness to the forty-year career of an artist who is truly extraordinary.

This is my goal: to help true fans of tattooing stop for a moment and step away from the flooding river that drowns us with thousands of images and creative solicitations. I hope that each one of you chooses to devote yourselves to “tidying up” tattooing in order to find its purity, as you observe and study the people who express this purity through their own creativity. Without holding on here and there, in order to avoid drowning in the river that’s flooding the web.