Interview with the German owner of the ‘Black Lotus’ in Bochum. An artist in love with his work, with his partner and his ornamental tattoos inspired by folk art.
Hi Lenn, would you like to tell us something about yourself?
Hi, I am Lenn, 32 years old, living and working together with my girlfriend in Bochum, Germany. I like to travel, train Muay Thai & go on walks with our dog Bodhi.
Ever since I was a kid I used to get bored easily by normal tasks and my known environment. So I liked to dream away vividly, imagining foreign worlds and draw them. It was quite clear for me that I didn’t want to work in a normal 9 to 5 job… (smiles)
How did you discover that you were going to be both an artist and a tattoo artist in life?
After I finished school I was a bit lost but got some tattoos and it was love at first sight. I started to draw tattoo designs like mad and worked my way into this industry with dedication.
I did the first tattoo on myself and it felt so right that I never stopped.
Yours is not only a relationship with tattoo art but with a woman who creates tattoo art herself. Would you like to tell me a little bit about this important person who enriches your world on a daily basis?
Tattooing gave me so much to be thankful for, especially getting to know this woman (IG: @sherinmariemavi). I got to know her when I was an apprentice and we had known each other for some years before she finally became my girlfriend. Now we have been working and living side by side every day for several years.
She became my apprentice and was such a fast learner that she managed to get to the point where she is now.
We both run ‘Black Lotus’ together, do conventions, travel the world and help each other to flow and grow.
What have been the important milestones in your career so far?
The first milestone was to make a living out of my own art. That people like the stuff that flows from my mind so much that they are willing to wear it on their bodies permanently. To get recognised and valued by other artists I admire myself was another one.
Especially to get invited to guest at their studios. To feel as someone who contributes to the ornamental art and being inspiring makes me really happy. Building our own private atelier ‘Black Lotus’ (IG: @blacklotusbermuda) is a big thing to me as well.
How did you choose the name Black Lotus? What inspired you for that name in the first place?
For me the lotus is the symbol of purity, cleanness & elegance, icon of the enlightment. That is what I want my tattoos to be. Clean, black, bold & beautiful done in a balanced state of mind. Therefore the name Black Lotus was picked as it seemed to be appealing for what we stand for.
What should a client expect in terms of environment and atmosphere in your studio?
We created a place which is a bit hidden on purpose to work in a relaxed atmosphere, minimalizing useless distraction. So both, tattooer and customer can just focus on the process and achive the best possible result.
I love to get in my “golden bubble” while I’m tattooing. It’s like kind of a meditative process for me.
I feel no time, no stress just peaceful being. So don’t expect a street shop-like-environment. It’s more like a comfy living room/home without hectic but chilled music and art. I like to do only one customer a day so I can fully focus on the project of the day.
You define your tattoos as “ornamental” or “patterns”. Would you like to explain instead how you incorporate “folk art” within your creations on skin?
My drawings are based on images I have seen in my life, while travelling around Asia & Africa, in books with folklore art on carpets, jewellery, patterns on clothes my mother showed me from our roots in Scandinavia, or on several other materials from all over the planet. I like that folk art can be full of hidden meanings and/or just being decorative.
Tell me something more about it.
Well, it’s an art form for the people by the people, always in flow, including traditional elements as well as new ones.
There are a lot of similarities between single symbols or whole patterns even when their origin differs.
The simplicity in design but the complexity at the same time to reduce an image to an easy looking and understandable timeless symbol never cease to amaze me. Therefore folk art is a very important inspiration for me. The basic idea to simplify a design to its core to create something universal.
Do you already have conventions or guest spots marked on your calendar for next summer?
We are honoured to get invitations to guest in Barcelona & London this year. We really wanna do more conventions again as we like the exchange, but still quite a bit busy with building ‘Black Lotus’ and raising our dog. It’s just more planning now as we have more things to care about.
And your last famous words are…?