Crez interviews Amar Goucem

I’ve met Amar Goucem at one of the “old” Milano Tattoo Convention. I was a big fan of his works since the early nineties: he is a tattooer like the ones I was used to meet back in the days, a crazy guy, with strong passion for what he does. Being a tattooer between the eighties/nineties wasn’t a career choice, it meant breaking with society, whatever society you came from, no one likes tattoos and tattooers back then. The choice was changing your life forever, there was no turning back. With this spirit in mind, tattooers grow as strong artists, they know where they wanted to go, artists that wasn’t looking for compromise, but for freedom.

When and how did you get started in tattooing?
I got tattooed by gipsy bikers on the road: my brother and friends made the drawings for me. In 1986 I knew what I was going to be a tattooer myself.

Tattoo by Amar Goucem
Tattoo by Amar Goucem

How long did it take to get the first proper results?
A couple of years

Do you consider painting a part of your learning process? Tell me about your drawing and painting routine…
Drawing and painting must come hand to hand with tattooing.

Before you’ve started tattooing were you involved in any subculture, such as punk, dark, metal, rock and roll, rap?
Punk rock and everything not commercial at those times.

If you have to pick three tattoo artists that inspire your work, who would you mention and why?
Satoru Koizumi, Masa Tosui, Yvan: simply for their beautiful artworks.

From when you started, how has the business evolved in your country?
Didn’t stay long enough in France than went for traveling all around the globe.

Machines (rotary or coil), Tebori (hand tools) or both? What’s your choice? Why?
Love it all: coils for lining, rotary for shading and packing colors… And tebori… I don’t know I’ve never tried, but it seems like the ultimate discipline still in this modern time of tattooing.

Tattoo by Amar Goucem
Tattoo by Amar Goucem

Can you list a top five of your favorite visual artists of all eras? What is attractive of their work in your opinion?
Hokusai, Kuniyosh, Imanara, Magnus, Masami Teraoka: I get motivated and really enjoy to learn and keep up
 from them.

How do you feel about the “ban” of tattooing in Japan?
It’s a shame!

What’s the most challenging subject for you?
Backpiece bodysuit warriors for example: from building the whole concept to making the drawing (from studying references) until the all back piece is complete whit lining process.

Amar is working at Dragon Tattoo Eindhoven, the shop of Orie’s family. Check out his works on Instagram: @amargoucem