You are 25 years old, have been tattooing for 6 years and already found your style, made a name for yourself, won several awards and use Cheyenne Hawk-pens exclusively. You can safely say things have been going great for you. Could you describe your road to success?
Yes, things have been goingreally great, and I feel like I'm only just getting started with my career. But it takes hard work, determination and willpower, and you could say that in our field, as tattoo artists, it's rarely just another 8 to 4 job, but to most it's a lifestyle. At the beginning of my apprenticeship I was the first to arrive and the last to leave, and I always went straight home to draw and prepare. Fortunately, after me and my husband Charly Phoenix found each other at work, he also showed me how to achieve balance in my career. That opened a whole new world for me, realising what life as a tattoo artist has to offer. But deep down I live and breathe for what I do and for the craftsmanship that I have been granted, so PASSION and hard work would be the key words to becoming successful.
You are originally from Bornholm. Tell me about your upbringing.
It's kind of special growing up on a small isolated island, but after leaving the island I've always felt incredibly fortunate to have grown up in a safe environment, with an altogether different rhythm than the rest of Denmark. Bornholm is known in Denmark as ”Sunshine Island.” Nature there is all different to the rest of the country, since its paved with rocks all way round, with its secret caves and amazing stories to tell. My greatest childhood memories are of my mother walking me through our adventurous garden, full of roses and other flowers. All the sensations, colors and impressions that come to you when seeing a rose emerge from a tiny bud to a fully blossoming flower. And of my father, sitting and teaching me drawing techniques by his home-made lightbox, doing caricature-drawings of strangers, making their personalities come to life with amusing inputs as bakground. My imagination is something that my 2 siblings have helped me keep alive, with old tales, massive swordfights and survival hikes into the dark forest.
When you were 19 you became an apprentice for Charly Phoenix. How was your apprenticeship?
It was rather a special feeling to become a tattoo-apprentice. It was pure coincidence that I became one, since a couple of days after my arrival on Fyn I walked into Art of Ink to get another tattoo in remembrance of the new journey that I had embarked on. That tattoo, the Tim Burton quote ”One person's craziness, is another person's reality”, gave me the opportunity to present my portfolio of drawings and rendered my an appenticeship to become a tattoo artist. It can be difficult making it as a female tattoo artist, and prove your worth in a man's world, and since I was the firts female tattoo artist at Art of Ink I obviously met with some suspicion. But since I've always been ”one of the guys” it wasn't long before I became part of the furniture. I've learned a lot about myself, and naturally about being a tattoo artist, from being Charly's apprentice. He has emphasized all the traditions, and the loyalty that's part of tattooing history was an integral part of my learning process. He's been that hard but fair teacher who concerns himself that you'll be doing your best every time, and presents constructive criticism if that's what you need. I learned a lot about myself and what I was capable of from him, since he always had faith in me. I owe him everything I've learned and accomplished, and becoming the woman and wife I am today. Without him I never would have become a tattoo artist. Thank you, my love.
At the age of 18 you moved from Bornholm to Sjælland, How was your first year on the latter island?
The day after my 18thbirthday I moved to Søborg in the outskirts of Copenhagen to start an apprenticeship to become a pastry chef. What has appealed to me has always been the creative side of things, and the need to work with my hands. And while baking delicious cakes during the day, my evenings were spent drawing pretty roses. My favorite pastime during my time on Sjælland was placing my sketchpad under my arm, my ass on the seat of the bus and go straight to central Copenhagen to let my imagination loose on paper.What a feeling being completely alone with my thoughts, even if thousands of people are passing by with their stressful daily routines.
Being able to find beauty in a chaotic world is one of my favorite things, which probably makes me a chaos person. That would certainly explain why the words ”Beautiful Chaos” are tattooed in the back of my thigh. But after a while I came to realise that my creative urges weren't satisfied in that nice little pastry shop. So once more I packed my bags and the next part of Denmark I landed in was the island of Fyn.
These days you're running The Phoenix Ink in Odense with Charly who is also your husband. Would you describe the studio, and the lovely town of Odense?
Our shop is small and came about because of a true love story: the innocent young apprentice who falls in love with her tutor. We taught each other to feel on a whole other level, a perfect symbiose between inspiration and passion. After several years we decided that what we wanted for our lives and our careers didn't correspond with where we were at in life. Then we decided to open up our own shop, to be able to fully focus on our art and bring our romantic vision into this world. Our plan originally was that it would only be the two of us, husband and wife, who worked and maintained the shop. But after a while we started to get requests from former colleagues and good friends, who were happy to share our vision. So we formed a close unit with likeminded people. And as time went by, we got the shop built up, and started our strong tattoo-family, all tattoo artists: Mads Schrøder, Chris Hou Immerkær and our newly arrived apprentice Tine Enemærke. It is an extremely important priority for us to be very professional, but at the same time keep a nice shop where we feel a close bond both as co-workers, but also as for the whole atmosphere around our customers.We will always take the time and nobody should get the impression that we're running a factory. This has become our little baby, created in our spirit and where we stand before you with open arms, welcoming everyone into the homely atmosphere of our lovely shop. We always think of it kind of like we're inviting guests. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on a 200 m2 location in an old bond timber building from the 18thcentury, with ceiling beams laid bare, a low-end ceiling and crooked walls, making our studio special and personal. It's located in the sweetest of properties,Lottrups Gård, which exists in a completely different time zone than the rest of Odense, 10 steps away from the busy street. We put great emphasis on the personal element and do everything to give our customers the ultimate experience of getting a tattoo, in a safe and fun environment. Odense is a wonderful town, with small pretty streets and coffee shops, but you could still get the big city feeling if that's what you're after. It's kind of a matter of taste, as long as you know where you should go. The town has a proud history, and is honored that the author H.C. Andersen was born and raised here. I, like most people, grew up with his stories and they've been an inspiration to many. This is also something that reflects all around the streets of Odense.
You specialize on the new school-style, what is it about it that you like?
I love the fact that you get to use your imagination, and you can create amazingly unique designs, since there are very few rules on what you can allow yourself in the composition, or what combination of colors you may use. The only limit is your imagination, and the possibility to create the things you ever so often wished that they existed is not to be missed. At the same time it's a style that is very suitable for using many colors. I love working with colors, because I think that it gives a tattoo a wholly special expression to use complimentary colors, that you can adapt perfectly to your own taste and personality. Drawing and composing designs have been a part of me since childhood, and being able to make one's art permanent on another human being, who shows you that much trust and chooses you for yor knowledge and style, is an increible feeling that no tattoo artist should take for granted.