Julia Rehme | Interview in TattooFest Magazine
Julia Rehme | Tattoo artist based in Berlin.
Aquarelltattoo, Aquarell, Watercolortattoo, Watercolourtattoo, Watercolor, Watercolor, Graphictattoo, Tattoo Artist, Tattooer, Illustration, Abstract Tattoo, Berlin Tattoo, Tattoo Studio Berlin, Tätowierer Berlin, tatoo, berlin, tätowieren in berlin, Aquarell, Illustrator,
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Interview in TattooFest Magazine

1. Are you from Berlin? Please tell us more about your background. (origin, education, family)

-> I was born in Osnabrück- a green, unhurried town in west Germany. I grew up in a big family with 2 sisters and one brother- but I was looking for new influences. Luckily I could develop my drawing skills since i was very young, my parents supported me. I was constantly drawing. At the age of 19 I moved to Hannover to study, stayed there for 6 years and graduated in 2008. After that I moved to Berlin. 

2. For how long you’re involved in tattoo scene? What made you go this way? (Have you ever had a different idea for life? What were you doing before you started tattooing?)

-> Before I started learning tattooing in 2009 I studied fashion design. I knew since a young age that I wanted to practice a creative profession. Creative expression or rather the paper and pen have become from early on, a way of communication for me.  It´s also been a valve, a way to express and a way of self-discovery. 

Of course my design studies influenced me. A design concept has to be thoughtful. During my studies I was working rather experimentally and so I have created new forms, a visual world with a new aesthetic by using unconventional approaches. I was not very interested in trends. Additionally,  I painted and drew a lot in that time. The university was very versatile and there was a wide range of artistic courses. I tried different printing techniques and went to nude figure drawing courses. For sure fashion illustration played a major role.

After being a short time in Berlin I got a tattoo for the first time. I was very impressed by the intensity of this experience, a final decision, a statement to yourself. I decided to learn tattooing. 

3. Your works are a lit bit different, I see there many plants but also abstract forms. A lot of work is done in the watercolor style but not all. Please tell me about your works – what you create? What effect you want to achieve in your work?

-> I have developed my own handwriting during the years. I am working very intuitively and this works the best for me with abstract, free designs but also with plants and organic elements. It´s more difficult for me to design motifs based on objects because they are planned, designed and reasoned. They are filled with meanings and this represents a limit for me. 

I have no claim to be a watercolor artist. This technique just suits my way of working, that´s why it´s often used. My sketches often consist of opposites. Clarity and  fuzziness. Coincidence and planning. Line and fluid color. Stability and fragility.

4. Which flowers, plants or animals belong to your favorites? Do you know them from books or from real contact with nature?

-> There are no favorites. Nature itself is an excellent source of inspiration, whether it is a cellular structure or a huge rock. Experiencing nature is always good for body and soul and to expand one´s perspective in general. I observe a lot.

Books often serve as a source of inspiration, however, not only nature books with photos or old books with science graphical drawings. Over the years I have collected books from different fields, which serve as sources of inspiration, such as painting, photography, illustration, street art, print-graphics. 

Music is another big source of inspiration for me, at least as important as other influences. I listen to a lot of electronic music (experimental, ambient, techno) but also classic and contemporary classical music. 

The mood affects me a lot while working. My tattoo style -as it presents itself right now- the abstract, is influenced by painting and experiments. This takes place regardless of tattooing. In addition, painting is an outstanding balance. Music and painting!! It creates a special atmosphere which I transport on paper or canvas when I´m listening to a music set for several hours.

Especially the abstract, that is not tangible and non objective both in music and in the visual arts is so interesting, because it is unfathomable and unlimited. I can describe something by using lines and shapes and there still remains room for interpretation.

Because my work appeals to many people, it´s meaningful for me that it is understood on a certain level, as they can perceive and read what I create, regardless of verbal or body language.

5. Berlin is full of tattoo artists who creates interesting designs. This certainly is inspiring but also challenging. What do you think? How looks currently tattoo scene in Berlin?

-> Of all these tattoo artists in Berlin I only know a few personally. There is no challenge in my opinion. All of them who have their own style, did not create it to be better than anybody else. Therefor another, personal source is required. Thats why its not so meaningful to me to get inspiration by other tattoers. But it´s interesting to see what is technically possible and how far the field of tattoing reaches and new frontiers are explored.

There are many tattoo artists who already had an artistic career before they started tattooing. It’s interesting to see these influences and to understand why an artist works the way they work.

6. Please describe your shop, workplace, co-workers, etc.

-> For the first three years of my career as a tattoo artist I have worked in various studios in Berlin, abroad and in conventions. Then, 2 years ago I founded the tattoo studio called „NOÏA“.

The desire for a quiet place grew in me, as a studio with walk-ins and much hassle is not the right place for me to work. For our clients this is way more relaxing as well and it is easier for them to get involved with this intense experience.

Currently we are 3 resident artists in the studio and we have guest tattoers from time to time. The atmosphere is familiar and there is a lot of technical and creative exchange, although we have very different styles. Nonetheless this works well, because sometimes you can get an opinion from a different perspective.

7. Do you prefer when a client comes with a fixed idea of a tattoo or is it better to leave you all the thinking and designing? What features should a person have who wants a tattoo from you?

-> It has developed to the point now where clients give me the space for being creative, which I appreciate a lot. As I already mentioned my style develops more and more into the abstract. Ideally, clients send me a „mood-board“, which transports the mood and statement of their idea, in case there is one. Examples of my work are welcome too. The way I proceed is to design a sketch or a concept on paper, and at the appointment I complete it with stencil and free hand drawing. In my designs, it is very important to deal with the body shape, because the tattoos are extending on more than one body part often.

8. What philosophy are you guided by at the work? What do you appreciate the most in your work? Which part of your work you like the most?

-> The artistic work is always a process, a search, something very organic. The urge for this existed since a was a kid.

It is important for me to make sure that my creative work does not pressure me. As a tattoer, this happens very fast.

The profession connects to a lot of responsibility, physical effort and expectations. I had to learn to take time outs. Only if I can give again complete freedom to the creative process, which means that it is not earmarked and completely free of expectations, a development is possible and the only way I can permanently stand behind what I do.

9. Tell us something about yourself that will allow us to know you better (not about tattoos ;)). For example: character traits, what is important to you, what you like to do, etc?

-> The most difficult question at the end.. I guess describing the way I work and the claim on my works already reveals some parts of me. I am constantly in dialogue with myself, don´t need the exchange with others permanently, and love being alone for hours. I just need that from time to time, otherwise I can´t enjoy the company of other people.