WE CAUGHT UP WITH ROBLAKE IN BLUSTERY BRIGHTON OUTSIDE THE STUDIO WHERE HE IS CURRENTLY PLYING HIS TRADE AT DEAD SLOW TATTOO. WE ASK HIM WHERE HE DRAWS HIS INSPIRATION AND WHERE HE SEE'S HIMSELF IN THE FUTURE.
So who is Roblake where did you grow up and when did you move to the UK?
I was born in a small redneck town In northern Denmark. I moved with my partner to UK about 3 years ago.
When did you know you wanted to become a tattoo artist?
It’s a question I get asked a lot, I think I was 9 years old. I used to collect gum tattoos and developed a passion for tattoos already then. At that age when everyone was selling lemonade at a little stand I sold “tattoos” I would just draw on people with markers. I just love to draw every minute of the day. And being a tattooer let’s me do just that.
Do you have a formal art background?
I studied art at college in Denmark and had some exhibitions in my early 20's. I also had an art course for less fortunate people (poor families and drug addicts etc). But I kinda got tired of the whole art scene, drugs seemed to weigh more than the actual art.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I used to do a lot of paper art and vinyl prints, so I worked a lot with negative spaces and shading around shapes to build- up an image. I can see that technique in my work. I’m trying to stay as much out of exposure from other artists. I rarely look on Instagram other than when I post. Too much information can overload and kill my creativity.
Do you think there are challenges in being a tattoo artist that artists who create for themselves don’t face?
It depends what kind of artist you want to be. I’ve always known what I want and where I wanted to be with my work. There is definitely a much deeper relationship with your regular clients that I really like.
What have you done to improve your knowledge As Tattoo Artist?
I’ve gathered as much knowledge as I could before becoming one. If you don’t think about tattoos 24/7 then don’t be- come a tattoo artist.
Many artists have a philosophy or motivation behind their work...what would you say is yours?
I want to make something that is timeless and looks cool forever. I want to create a feeling of being part of something special, something unique. A lot of that is sadly lost in the trade today, and I’m hoping to keep it alive.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Mostly in my mind. The inspiration can be from old prison tattoos or being locked up in a mental hospital myself. Inspiration comes from life experience and from the legacy of tattooing.
Are there any artists you look up to?
Yes so many. And I’m very proud to say that today a lot of those artists I can call friends! William Rose is an all time favorite of mine. He has tattooed most of my head & I consider him a friend. Also of course Duncan X, who I have yet to be tattooed by, but he’s defo on my list of all time fave tattoo artists.
How do you evaluate success as a tattoo artist?
Only the individual tattoo artist can answer that question. All I know is I am successful, and I’m very grateful for that.
What advice do you have for young artists trying to get into tattooing? What was the best advice you received when you first started?
I would ask them: Is tattooing all you think about! Have you drawn before you could walk? Do you have an interest in the trade and it’s history? If not, stay the fuck away.
Beyond tattooing, what are you passionate about?
I like movies and porn, but basically drawing and tattooing is my life.
How do you spend your free time, and what do you do on your vacations?
In my free time I like to drink lemonade and smoke and sit and draw in the sun with my 2 dogs. I love to travel around the world with my partner. We often travel for tattoos or other body modifications.
Any plans to open your own studio or do you feel that it restricts you in anyway?
My partner and I dream of opening a studio in our favourite city Los Angeles.
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