Sonia once was a terrific art school student. Then one day she discovered that cartoons could be transferred to skin… Read the whole article!
Let’s start from your nickname, of course: is it more a tribute (or a joke) to a celebrated and tragic British female soul singer?
(Laughs out loud) It was just because everyone tells me how I look like her. So I changed my name on my Facebook page for a joke and guess what? They don’t want me to change it back again! Then when I startedt my tattoo career and doing conventions everybody called me “Mymouse” for the promotion and it stayed forever. I am a terrible singer, though!
When did you discover for the first time that tattoo art would be so central and peculiar in your life?
I know tattoos from my grandmother in Algeria (she has got traditional Berber tattoos) and people on the street of course, concerts and stuff like that. When I was at art school someone showed me the work of Jesse Smith, Dimitri HK and Steph D and I was like “Wow, I really can do that! They are cartoons on skin.
Ok, I want to be a tattoo artist!”. Then I started to learn more about this art, the culture, getting tattoos, going to conventions etc.
One year later I stopped everything to focus on my art book and try to find an apprenticeship. Finally, five years later, I did my first tattoo.
Did you have masters and mentors to earn your current standings or is Amy Mymouse completely DIY?
I was lucky enough to have so many people trying to help me and giving me some tips. I learned how to tattoo fromh two tattoo artist from Rennes (France) – one from Tahiti who did traditional tattoos and the other who dide Japanese ones. How I can do cartoon with that? (laughs) Then I travelled a lot to try to learn and more and started doing guest spots. I went to Sweden, working beside Jimmy Lajnen, watching him at work. I learned stuff from Jesse Smith. I came to Frank Lanatra, Olivier Glamort in Montreal, Alix Ge and many more…
Does it happen still today?
Yeah, I’m trying to learn everywhere I go. My last crazy guest spot was at “Sailor Bit/Ethno Tattoo” in Switzerland. After a week there I was thinking to myself: “You know nothing, Mymouse!”.
Do you think we could say that Comics/Cartoons is your trademark? How did you develop this approach?
When I was in art school I wanted to be a character designer for animation. I was also doing comics and illustrations. So I had my style before being a tattoo artist. I loved Disney of course, comics, anime, all that stuff.
It was already on my draws! Then my style grew with tattoos and it became what it is now.
Your tattoo subjects are 99% female: why?
We got the power! Well, I’m kidding, just a little bit…
What do you think about that?
I think the subject of women is really interesting to show emotions, Technically I love working with female curves, the movement of the hair, the eyes etc. That’s something I never get tired of, there is so much to work on with it! If we think about art, painting – it can be Neo Classicism, Italian Renaissance or Art nouveau – women are mainly the subject of a canvas. They are beautiful, aren’t they? For me this theme is perfect to describe how I feel through my art, beauty, glamour, love, melancholy. You know, we need a little poetry in this world…
Is there any chance of meeting you at any European tattoo conventions in the coming months?
I’ve stopped doing all tattoo conventions everywhere all the time because I’m starting to get old! (laughs) My next will be “Le Mondial Du Tatouage 2020” in Paris (13th, 14th and 15th March next, ed.). Paris is the one and I am so excited every year! This November I will go to “Israel Tattoo Convention” for the first time and I will be doing a lot of travel connected to future guest spots.
Who did that New School piece adorning your chest and neck?
My neck is by Elio Martin from Montreal (“Elio Tattoo Montreal”) and my chest comes from the amazing Alix Ge.
Last question: what’s your favourite Amy Winehouse tune ever?
“Back to Black”, of course. God bless the real Amy! (smiles)