Jacob Gardner: The wizard in the sand
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House of Solace, located on Australia’s Gold Coast, is a private studio which Jacob Gardner shares with three amazing tattooists who are also three of his best mates: Will Duncan, Ben Kendall and Jesse Taylor. This is where his Neo Traditional creations emerge, all characterized by a mood which recalls Art Nouveau and the Renaissance painting tradition. You’ll also find references to the classic traditional style and a spark of magic which, as Jacob tells us in this interview, comes from a memory of childhood stories in which there was a wizard in the sand…

Read an abstract of our interview by Maggie Whales on Tattoo Life and enjoy some of his amazing artworks!

Jacob Gardner
Jacob Gardner

Hi Jacob, can you tell us something about yourself?
Hello, I’m from New South Wales, in Australia. I currently live on the Gold Coast and have a private studio called House of Solace, located in Coolangatta.

How would you describe your tattoo-making process and style?
I guess it depends on what I’m feeling for each piece that is requested. In general, if I were to try and define my style I’d say it’s a balance between traditional aesthetics with illustrative styles. Some of my pieces are bolder with heavier lines and a simple palette, while other pieces are a lot more detailed and sometimes have a softer finish overall. I’ve learned how to develop this way of tattooing with different skin types or areas on the body.

And I always strive to make a tattoo hold up over time.

How did you develop your style? Could you talk about some important milestones?
I started tattooing and painting a lot of realism early on in my career, and that has had quite an effect on my work, currently. My work has always had a lot of influence from European styles and artist like Lars Uwe, Adrian Edek and Sebastian Domaschke. I’m interested in developing how much detail will hold, and ways to achieve an overall classic feel. My biggest influence over the last couple of years has been traditional style tattooing; understanding ways to keep my tattooing classic and not too over-the-top is what I’m striving for most. Although I’m not stripping it right back, because there’s a lot going on, I try to manipulate lighting and different ways to shade subjects all the time. I just want each piece to look classic.

What subjects do you prefer doing? Are you able to do any kind of tattoo request that comes your way?
I like to do mostly female subjects, I never get tired of drawing them. If I’m honest, there’s not a whole lot I get tired of tattooing these days. I’ve been finding little things here and there to add to my work to keep it interesting for myself and – hopefully – others. Most people give me creative control over the piece. I don’t particularly prefer this all the time; it actually is good when a client comes in looking for a particular feel or look. And I want to give them whatever it is they’re after.

Follow Jacob on Instagram: @jacobjgardner
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