interview with Charles Huurman  | realistic tattoo style 25/01/2014

Hello Charles Huurman! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. Please start by telling us a little about yourself, how you got into tattooing? Are you self-taught?

Hello! Thank you very much. I used to be the type of person that would follow society rules no matter what. Since I was 17 I worked in restaurants, real state agencies, offices, in the port... But nothing felt right. Then I decided to be an entrepreneur and I opened a spa centre and a real state agency at the same time… By that stage I was only 21 and had a house mortgage, two car loans and a couple credit cards.

Suddenly it all collapsed and I lost every thing. By then I was devastated until one day I realized that that was one of the best things that ever happened to me. The house, the car, the business… they all felt like a heavy weight on my back and none of them made me happy. So I decided to invest all my time and effort doing things that I really enjoyed no matter the money involved in it, even if that meant being chased by banks for ever. Drawing and painting was the only thing I had ever done for fun, but I never thought about it as a career. So I started to believe in it. Once you see the path messages come to you if you listen. A friend made me realize that by getting into tattooing I could draw for a living. Then something clicked on my brain, and since that day my path has felt right.

Q: Your color work is outstanding. What inks do you use, what's the trick? hha
A: I often get asked about the inks I use. And I say I go changing; now there is many great companies that are all good, Eternal, Intenze, Fussion… For me the trick is laying as many colors in the table as you need. I can have up to 40 cups in the table to play with. My other method is thinking in color as if I was doing an oil painting, so I tattoo by layers.

- Would you say that color tattoos are more challenging?
I would say they are more fun. Because you have a bigger range of colors to apply. So that gives me the feeling of freedom, with black and gray it feels all more rigid.

Q: What are the most important details in doing a photo-realistic piece?
A: The picture comes first. Many clients expect you to do good realistic work with really bad pictures... And preparation, I really like to study how I’m going to do things before I do them.

- Do you have any special person you would like to put on someone's skin? heh
Actually many. Any face with an interesting expression and full of contrasts.

Q: How people usually react when your done with the tattoo? Any interesting experiences with the customers, you would like to share with us?
A: I’m very lucky because many of my clients trust me so much that one of the reactions is “wow, I didn’t really understand what you were going to do but I love it”.

Q: Where are you based now?
A: After LA I wanted to go somewhere were it was easy to live, and for the moment I found it. Cork in Ireland is a small city with a lot of life and very nice people, looks all good. I’m working now in Smiley Dogg Tattoo and Guest spotting around Ireland, Spain and soon Thailand.


Q: How do you usually get inspired? What are your other hobbies outside tattooing?
A: Definitely oil painting and charcoal. Now I’m preparing an art exhibition. One day I would like to live of it and tattoo only for fun.

Q: Every creative work requires dedication and love, especially tattooing. What's the biggest mistake when it comes art progress?
A: The biggest mistake is when I stop looking at others instead of learning from them. You always learn something new out of every artist you see, even beginners. I don’t usually stop doing this. But I might forget some times.

Q: Would you change something in your style, or you love to keep it "simple" and improve even more?
A: I always feel like I need to improve a lot. The day I don’t feel that, I should stop.

Q: So far, do you still enjoy tattooing? How do you cheer up yourself when things get tough in the studio?
A: Yes, I have a lot of fun. Sometimes you have to force yourself to disconnect. Looking for a guest spot works for me. Look at other artists work and say “I want to do that!”

Q: Art could be a great influence on someone's personality. What is the best lesson that you've learned from your art journey?
A: Let go and listen to your spirit. Simple to understand but difficult to do.

Q: Any tips for the new artists?
A: Work very hard, very hard and keep looking for ways to learn.

Please feel free to share your feature plans and your website.
Thanks for all. Please contact me at Facebook: “Charly CH Tattoo“ or email
I’m in Cork (Ireland) now and I do guest spots in Spain regularly.