Here we are at the end of another week and this time round our Have a Nice Weekend comes from the lovely Kakau. Brazilian, hailing from the Amazon, Kakau lives between London and Lisbon and in this interview tells us how her love of tattoo is what got her involved in this line of work. As well as, we might add, her love of her partner – who we all know – João Bosco.
Hi, my name is Kamnara Klein, people call me Kakau. I’m Brazilian, born in Manaus, in the Amazon. I moved to a small city in Portugal to live with my mom when I was 18. I was about to start veterinary university, when a local friend said to me: ‘Hey, I’m going to get a tattoo. Would you like to come along?’ I was pretty excited and said yes! My mom has tattoos and I always wanted to be tattooed like her, but in Brazil my grandma would never allow me to get one. So, to cut a long story short, I went to the studio with my friend. I left the place with a tattoo! Yay!
What was it?
A red flower on my right arm. I was only 19 years old and I dedicated it to my grandma. It was so painful! By the time the artist had finished, I told my friend I would never do it again! But guess what, two weeks later I went back to the same guy (he later became my best friend, Maksym) to get another one and yeah, never stopped since. (laughs) I started doing my right arm and got some small ones on my fingers.
But always with caution because I was worried about spoiling my skin with bad tattoos.
And then tattooing became your job, didn’t it?
A few months passed, and so did my dream of starting at uni, as my application wasn’t successful. I was really sad and depressed because I would need to wait another year for another chance to apply again. Then my best friend Maks asked me to try doing tattoos in the meantime, That’s when I gave it a go and tattooed him, a small skull on his ankle. It, felt really nice doing it but I didn’t feel confident enough.
That’s when I met a body modification guy called Binho Barduzzi who accepted me as an apprentice, and that was my introduction to the piercing and modifications world. A few years later, I started dating Joao Bosco. He was constantly drawing and he said I should try it. ‘Its real fun’ he said. So then I begun to mess around with pencil and paper together with him. He walked me through Japanese culture, painters and many other things, I felt so attracted to everything, it was contagious.
At this point something changed inside me and I suddenly started looking for references and knowledge about Asian art and tattooing.
How did you start? Did you study by yourself or did you have an apprenticeship?
I started practising at home at the end of 2017. I know this is not the best way, but after a few frustrating attempts to get an apprenticeship at the few tattoo studios in Lisbon, I decided to put that idea on hold for the time being. My good friend Maks and my boyfriend João are always happy to help me with tips, advice, ideas, corrections and so forth. and for that I feel pretty lucky and blessed and I appreciate it very much. Although, I know that I have a long way to go and still have so much to learn.
Where do you work now?
I’m currently tattooing full time in Lisbon and London.
What are your favourite subjects?
I love drawing Japanese themes! My favourites are geishas, flowers and masks. I love to explore Black and Grey to learn its tones and contrasts
Do you have a tattoo artist in particular you like the most?
The tattoo artists that inspire me the most there include:
Claudia de Sabe @claudiaddsabe, Som Nakburin @missorangetattoo, Jan Willem @janwillemtattoo, Joaquin G. @acetates, and @ninteendo.
You are also a model!
Yes, I’ve also been doing modelling since 2015. It all started at a Tattoo Convention in Lisbon when a close friend of mine, Maggie, convinced me to participate in a Miss Tattoo contest thing. I particularly don’t like that kind of show and exposure, can’t deal with crowds even to the present day, but it was fun. I won the contest and after that I started to receive messages from photographers and brands and the rest is history. I’m glad to witness how tattooed people are becoming more and more accepted in the modelling business, and I’m proud and happy to be in some way a part of it.
What about you and the tattoos you wear? What sort of tattoos do you like?
Since I started tattooing, I have been even more careful about my tattoos and think more about what I want to cover myself with. At the beginning most of my tattoos had to be meaningful or done by a friend or something, but nowadays it’s more about a subjects that I love or artists that I admire. I love the confidence that my tattoos have given me and how happy it makes me feel about my body! For me, tattooing is still really painful, but at the same time, makes me feel proud of myself!