Johann Ingemar started tattooing in 2010 at Rock of Ages, Lennox. Johann’s favorite style is western traditional, but he loves to tattoo in all styles including fine line black and grey, Japanese and tribal. He has a very positive attitude towards the future of tattooing and he is well known for versatility and attention to the detail. It was a real pleasure interviewing him. You can now find him at Light House in Sidney, Australia, or around Europe during his current guest spots! And now, without any further ado, feast your eyes on these beautiful tattoos!
How did you get into tattoos? Can you remember when you first fell in love with them?
I remember having the stick on tattoos when I was a kid but not really much more than just knowing that it was “cool” to have one. I got seriously interested when I got involved in the local hardcore scene. There all the older guys that we would look up to had them so naturally the younger kids wanted them too. A few people I knew had even started apprenticeships, this is when I began to think that this is something you can actually do.
How did you make your decision to get your first tattoo? What was it and when did you get it? And your latest one?
I got my first tattoo from one of my friends who had just started tattooing at the local shop in the town I grew up in. I was 18, it was a rose on my thigh. It’s covered up now but I still have fond memories of the experience. It was one of the first tattoos he did in the shop and we went on to work together for years.
What do you love the most about traditional tattoos and tattoo history?
I’ve always been fascinated with history even before tattooing. So learning about the history of tattooing has been very interesting to me. Reading about the old masters of western traditional and the people they tattooed, I’m always captivated by the underground aspect of it. The fact that in the western world at least it was done very much on the fringes of society and that it was a real act of rebellion for some, to me gives what they were doing so much more power.
Where do you find your own inspiration?
My main source of inspiration is old tattoo flash and photos of tattooed people but also vintage advertising where a lot of old designs were taken from. Lately I have also been looking to the tribal tattoos of the Pacific for ways to make tattoos really flow with the body and accentuate its natural form.
Who did you get tattooed by, so far?
Demi Iacopetta, Stuart Cripwell, Theo Mindell, Matt Howse, Scott Sylvia, Stevie edge, Chad Koeplinger, Whang Od, Uncle Allan, Zooki, Judd Ripley, Josh Roelink, Matt Cunnington, Andrew McLeod, Jess Swaffer, Bugsy, Tom Burrey, Milly Loveknuckles, Dan Sinnes, Steve Boltz, Bert Krak, Eli Quinters, Dan Santoro, Steve Byrne, Cris Cleen, Liam Jenkins, Shaun Allen, Lina Stigsson, Corey Crowley, Tuppu Ritola and probably some I forgot.
Do you have any hobbies outside of tattooing?
Surfing and painting keep me sane.
What does travelling mean to you?
Travelling is everything, seeing new places, meeting new people and being exposed to new ideas can do so much for you both as a person and as a professional. As a tattooer travelling to get tattooed by those you look up to or even working with them is the best way to grow and learn. I am fortunate enough to have been tattooed by some of my idols and even call some of them my friends.
What do you love the most about nowadays tattoo society?
As cheap and devaluing as the internet and social media is with its instant reach and endless content can be, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I have done without it. The fact that I have been able to go to cities all over the world (over 15 countries so far) and have people come to me for a tattoo is amazing. The amount of tools available these days is also amazing, so many reference books are being made especially for traditional tattooing as well as the amazing needles, machines, pigment etc available at a moments notice via the internet. All of this wasn’t available to the generation before me and to some extent wasn’t available even when I started tattooing 8 years ago. Although times are changing and people are increasingly seeking out specialists for their tattoos I still pride myself in being a versatile tattooer with a street shop background.
I love tattooing everyday people who just want a well executed tattoo just as much as the people who have done their research come to me specifically.
Everything is going to be fine, tattooing is not going to magically implode on itself one day, people worry too much about the state of tattooing. There has been some primal need for humans to mark themselves for centuries now and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so. People are going to continue to recognise the tattooers who really care and take pride in their craft. Hey if I have to do infinity symbols all day it’s still the best job in the world in my eyes.
How would you like to see it evolve?
I think it’s an exciting time for tattooing, there’s been a real resurgence in traditional tattooing and by this I mean not just western traditional but also traditonal tribal and Japanese tattooing for example. People are starting to look more to the source again for inspiration. In my opinion this is the way to create tattoos with the most longevity both stylistically and technically. I feel like stylisation is important but I’m a firm believer in the concept that new does not always equal good. I don’t consider tattooing art but rather providing a service to the client, it’s not my place to be putting too much of myself into the work that I do I just try to make something that is going to be timeless. I don’t want people to look at my tattoos and be able to say “ohh that’s so 2018”.
The fact that tattooers and clients alike are looking to the timeless classics more and more for inspiration makes me really hopeful for the future.
Any upcoming guest spots and conventions?
For this spring I have planned a few guest spots in Paris, Hamburg and Copenhagen. Being half Danish, I try to return to Denmark at least every couple of years to see family and to tattoo.