Discovering the private studio in Rouen where a close-knit couple (Mikki and Marion) make cool tattoos in the name of art. Read our full story!
Mikki, have you ever managed to explain how it was that you developed such an original avant-garde artistic style?
(Mikki Bold) I’ve always done my best – whatever I was doing – to develop new things. To go further than what had been created so far. I would be inspired by my surroundings and by what others were doing, and push myself to always go further, bringing something completely new. I am constantly trying to perfect my tattooing techniques so as to give me the capacity to evolve in my designs and patterns.
Going beyond the rules, creating our own. Not letting go, always a step further!
What is behind a nickname like “Bout De Charbon”?
(Bout De Charbon/Marion) Hello, my real name is Marion! The nickname “Bout de Charbon” (“Piece of Coal” in English) is what they used to call me in the school yard when I was at school. It was because of my make up! (smiles) I had a very coal-like smokey eye and that’s how I wanted to stand out during my studies. The name stuck to me while I was in high school, even my family and friends adopted the nickname. It was deeply inked in my everyday life so I decided to keep it and use it for my work. I believe “Bout de Charbon” describes me well. It is also a reference to my origins. You know, I come from the North of France were coal mining was the main industry for years.
Mikki, you completely dedicated yourself to tattooing in 2009. When did “Obscurum Ink” become part of your life and what exactly does it represent for you?
(M.B.) In 2015 I founded Obscurum Ink after 5 years of being a tattoo artist. I needed a place in my image – adapted to my techniques and my workflow – to be able to tattoo in the best conditions and greet my clients in the comfort they deserve. It’s a place I love to share with other artists and this is another reason why I opened the shop. Anyone can enjoy the environment, the ambiance and the tools available. I’ve put so much energy and so much financially into this project and when I see how much it gives back every day in terms of the artistic projects created there and the relationships that are built, I realize how priceless it all is!
Marion, your tattoos are distinguished by the use of Black ‘n’ Grey, forms rich in details and a masterful use of shadows. How would you describe your style?
(B.D.C.) From my point of view, I make sketchy observational drawings. I want to stay loyal to my drawings on actual paper, to keep the pencil or pen streaks and give my art character, richness of matter and a real visual identity. My tattoos are always full of contrast, I love to add on details. The goal is to invite people to truly look at them, or that my clients can discover more and new details days after the tattoo was actually done. My themes are usually animal based, to me they are the richest subject in this line of work. I often accompany them with flower compositions to broaden my designs.
I regularly describe my tattoos as being soft and dark at the same time. I try to give them life and poetry.
Mikki, do you think that your figurative-abstract-geometric style may further evolve in the future or is it your daily goal to preserve this sort of “perfection on skin”?
(M.B.) I try to make my style evolve every day with every new piece. Metaphorically speaking, most tattoo artists use the same recipe and simply change the ingredients from one tattoo to the next. In my case, I do the exact opposite.
I keep the same ingredients and I create something new each time. Each to their own!
But as time goes on, I know my ingredients and their subtlety, so I truly know how to cook them day by day, whilst changing the recipe.
Do you and Mikki have any plans in the pipeline for this second half of 2020 or do you prefer to wait for 2021?
(B.D.C.) We have always had many projects on the go, common or our own, but what is very interesting to us is that each can participate in the other’s projects. We have a very different (opposite) approach so we can advise each other. The strengths of one compensate the weaknesses of the other.
We each have our projects but Mikki is definitely included in my work and vice-versa.
With the pandemic we have decided to bump some projects to 2021. We are sadly dependent on this virus and we would rather wait until things calm down. Our goal for the next few years is to continue to work on developing our other projects. To not “limit” ourselves to tattooing. Our careers have helped us build other things around us, and so we are able to bloom in different domains whilst staying in love with the tattoo world.
Last question: is it true that one of you has become an actual Youtuber?
(B.D.C.) Yeah! Mikki has his YouTube channel where he shares his knowledge about tattooing. His channel is already successful and keeps on growing. There’s also “Greenskin”, his line of Tattoo Aftercare products that keeps moving on, and so are his partnerships in product designs. For my part, I have a lot of tattoo collaborations, being invited as a guest abroad, and it will all be reorganized as soon as possible!