With a stage name like that, we couldn’t help but gasp at interviewing this Dutch tattoo artist who has a penchant for Traditional style and soywax candles.
Moira, the first question is very obvious, but inevitable: I guess you’re a huge fan of Ramones, or am I wrong?
Hell yeah! Absolutely I love so much Ramones! Besides that they’re obviously legendary, I also just wanted a social media sur-name that was easier to pronounce outside my country than my real one. My complete name is Moira Blijleven. It literally translates to ‘Happy Life’ in Dutch.
In your Instagram account, I found references to both ‘Carrie’ and ‘Pet Sematary’. The Ramones themselves are Stephen King’s favorite band. How important was the famous Maine novelist in your formation and creation of artistic imagery?
I’m a big horror fan in general and King is one of my favorite writers. I definitely get a lot of my inspiration from older horror movie posters and imagery like the ones you mentioned. They have a certain magic about them that captures the vibe of a movie in a single image.
I try and get the same thing going in my tattoos and paintings.
You juggle both Traditional and New School tattoos in a very effective way. Did you have mentors to handle these two styles or are you completely DIY?
My mentor did mostly Japanese which I think has a lot of the same technical aspects as Traditional has. He taught me not hold back with using black and to pull a proper line. Which I think is fundamental for what I do.
In relation to the Instagram post of one of your tattoos dedicated to Kurt Cobain you wrote that you “would like to do many more portraits”. If you could choose, what would be the top 5 portraits of famous people you would like to tattoo with your style?
Good question! Yeah I would love for things to go like this and my definitive top 5 is: Madonna, Nina Hagen, Danzig, Cyndi Lauper and Elvira (aka the American actress Cassandra Peterson best known for her portrayal of the horror hostess character ‘Elvira, Mistress of the Dark’. Ed).
Rotterdam is one of the world capitals of tattooing as well as the Netherlands has always been a nation with strong ties to tattoo art. Do you think you would have been a tattoo artist even if you had been born somewhere else?
Absolutely. When I got interested in tattooing I was about 13 years old, but didn’t know about anyone with tattoos besides the people I saw on MTV. I remember thinking “Hey, hold up! Tattooing is the coolest thing ever”.
What is it like working at ‘Bont & Blauw Tattoo’ in Rotterdam? You seem like a very eclectic tattoo studio, right?
It’s awesome! We are a private studio (word on the street is that we’re the first private studio in the country…) with a team of people that are great to work with and all have their own styles. So we can accommodate everyone with their tattoo ideas.
You’re not just a tattoo artist, are you? You are skilled at making soywax handmade candles as well. Tell me more about this other business of yours as well?
(laughs) This started in the first lockdown as a hobby! First I used pre-made molds but I wanted to make things that were all mine from start to finish so tried my luck at making my own silicone molds. It was a disaster! (laughs again)
It ended up with liquid silicone everywhere but a couple of meltdowns later I got the hang of it!
But then things got better and better, didn’t they?
Yeah! The business was growing really fast and couldn’t keep up with the orders anymore. Also, soywax was sold out globally which was a blessing in disguise. Capitalizing all your hobbies makes them less enjoyable. So now I just make batches of them every now and then and keep it fun for myself.
And your last famous words are…?
Dooooooeeeeei! (It means “Hallo!” in Dutch. Ed)