interview with Nicke Wencel | tattoo style | sweden |16/04/2019

Hello Nicke Wencel! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. It's always a pleasure to share some of my thoughts with creative people, there is so much that can be learned so maybe some of our audience will find this interview inspiring enough to start their journey in this business.

Q: What intrigued you to start tattooing? Do you have any artistic background?
A: To be honest, I was broke and didn't have a job. I needed to get some cash and did some odd jobs just to get by. Then I met a local tattoo artist who saw some of my drawings, (I went to an art school for 3 years so I used to draw a lot) and she thought that I should give tattooing a chance, so I did. With a premium china kit and some highly toxic inks and two oranges that's how I started my career.

Q: What was the most interesting part of becoming a tattoo artist? Was it hard to learn?
A: The most interesting part was when I found out that there was a whole culture and community behind tattooing, which I had no idea for the first few years, and I fell in love with that part. Learning to tattoo is extremely hard. I still learn every day, and it's always important to push your limits and experiment with your skills.

Q: What type of art outside tattooing you like the most? Do you have any artists you consider as your influencers?
A: Music of course. All music that's created with the love of music, instead of money and image is inspiring to me, the same way tattoo artists who create for the love of tattoos and not money and image. I have many artists that influence me, but they are too many to list here.

Q: How has your style developed throughout the years of experience? Would you give your style a name?
A: Yes of course. In the beginning I did everything, all styles and I sucked at everything. After I started working in a shop and there were a couple of guys and it was easier to divide the jobs to a preferred style, I realized that black&grey realism was my thing.

I would call my style anything different than Black & Grey Realism, but I use to describe it as darker black & grey with high contrasts, and I love to use double exposition in the designs.

Q: I love your black&gray work! Very detailed, nice contrasts between black and white ink and perfectly captured facial expression. Those are the few words how I would describe your portrait tattoos. Some of them look like photos not tattoos on skin, impressive work! How much time can take to finish a portrait tattoo? What parts are the most challenging of the whole process?
A: Thank you very much. The time spend on the tattoo always differ, because of different skin types, details in the photo, background and so on. But usually around 6-7 hours. The most challenging part is always the composition of the tattoo, especially if the client want a sleeve in the end, then you really have to make all the piece flow together and follow the body flow and make sure you have your light sources right.

Q: I love how you combine more than just one design in one piece. Really creative. Do you collaborate with your clients on tattoo ideas, are you ok with them bringing some reference images or you prefer the design to be your own unique creation?
A: Thank you! Usually the client have some form of idea and I try to incorporate more then one image in the design, but there has been times when the clients have good reference photos that makes it possible to use their images in the designs, but it all comes down to the elements of the picture. If it's the right angles, light sources and resolution.

- What reaction from your clients makes you happy after the session?
Every time someone says "It's better than I expected!". What did they expect? Did they have low expectations? Or high? Anyway, that makes me happy.

Q: Back tattoos and other big pieces can take more than just one session, do you remember the longest period of working on one tattoo? I bet there's so much excitement from both you and your client to finally see the end result.
A: Yes, haha they usually take several sessions. But it's a process itself and it's really great to watch the piece grow and come together. There was a back piece "The mafia"-back piece that took around 50-60 hours, done in 8-9 weeks. That was intense.

 Q: There are some beautiful, Photoshop designs in your portfolio ready to be on some lucky client's skin. Are they your designs or do you collaborate with some graphic designers? All look absolutely amazing.
A: Unless I do a straight up photo or picture, like an animal or a portrait, I always do my own designs.

Q: How much is important to strive for creative progress, do you put some challenges for yourself as an artist?
A: It's the key to become a better artist! If you start to slow down and relax you'll never reach higher levels of your creative knowledge. I try to challenge myself everyday. I always try to do more advanced tattoos and experiment with techniques.

Q: Located in beautiful Sweden, I guess you have some interesting and growing tattoo scene there. I've seen many great artists from Sweden. What's your opinion?
A: Oh yes. Sweden is a perfect place for tattooing. We have good cold climate, not so much sun, and pale people. I think that's why black & grey is so big here. And also the Swedish people love getting tattoos. We have some great artists entering the international tattoo scene, which I'm very happy about.

- Meeting new people and forming new friendships is very important for one artist. There's always something new to learn or just to share nice experiences with people. Do you travel and work as a guest artist around Europe or even farther?
A: Oh indeed. It's very important for every tattoo artist to travel and learn from other artists, just to become a more versatile artist yourself. Except conventions all over the world, I also try to attend seminars, guest spots and just visit other inspirational artists.

Q: What do you recommend to all those who plan to try their best in this business?
A: There are no shortcuts. Hard, dedicated work is the only way to a long lasting career. Make priorities and stay focused.

Mr.Nicke Wencel, Thanks for the interview,
Kind Regards,
The team