Our online community has been going crazy for our resident artist German’s awesome recent unique designs, so we thought we’d do an interview with him and one of his clients to give these tattoos the spotlight they deserve, and let you guys learn more about this exciting member of the Ink Factory team! The legendary Eve from our crew sat down and chatted with German and his tattooed up fan Jack. Read on to discover more…
Eve: Ok so about two, three months ago… you introduced fresh subject matter into your tattooing, something that’s really important to you on a personal level; you found something you’re happy with?
German: Definitely, definitely
So tell us about this transformation… how did it happen?
Well, I’m trying to show the beauty of the male body, and using a convination of technics I’ve learned in all this years of tattooing, I feel I can do a nice style to show that. Everyone creates images of real beautiful girls – pin ups, girls in positions, all these things, girls girls girls! So I just wanted to do the same except with some extra spice. I’m not doing these types of tats to be the only one at it, it’s because it’s what I like. It’s a way to mix existing styles that I know with a new way. It’s not Traditional tattooing, it’s like it but something a bit different.
How long did you have the idea for these works in your head?
Well I used to do designs like this before, for a while
Ok so you just kept them personal?
Yeah, yeah. I used to draw a lot of images of guys, faces in a sort of traditional style. But I don’t really remember what’s the first one that I did this way exactly.
And why did you never take these designs public before?
I never had anyone to do them as tattoos on really. It just happened that someone asked me to do something of this type, so I had a chance to bring these sketches into tattooing. And once I did it I realise like, ‘fuck it, this is exactly what I want to do now in my work’. I was just sketching away myself and I didn’t think someone was going to be open to getting such a tattoo.
So from that moment you started to trust your inner voice. How does it feel now when more and more people ‘get’ your designs and want to have them?
I love it. And I wasn’t expecting it, so it was definitely a surprise. And it’s not only the images of guys, I do a lot more other sexual designs as well. So anyone who comments negatively on them saying they’re giving off a weird message… I don’t really understand it because everyone does that in the privacy of their home or whatever. So some people like to express that in public, some people prefer to keep it more private, and I don’t feel like it’s bad to show that off – because it’s something that everybody likes. We all do it!
And do you like it?
Of course I like it!
So how were these designs first received?
I had a good few negative comments, say on my pictures of in private messages; people saying what I was doing was bad, or wrong. People saying like, “why are you doing that? It’s disgusting” and I’m like “what? You say that and then you’re probably sucking a dick at home later!” But yeah. I don’t really feel like it’s necessary to talk too much about that, more about the tattoos themselves.
So yeah I feel like I’ve really found something I like to do, and I’m happy that people want to get tattooed in this way. And I’m so happy about the reaction of so many people, like friends and other tattoo artists, and artists in general too. So at the moment I’m working on more and more collaborations, people want to know more about what I’m doing as an artist, doing interviews…
Who are some of the companies you’re doing collaborations with?
Ink Addict – I did a t-shirt design for them. Hot Dave – they’re a cool zine; I’m doing a set of stickers with them which should be coming out next month.
When you released your sexual designs – with dildos and naked guys – how were you feeling about it? I think I would maybe feel anxious or embarrassed or something…
No. Y’know, if like it myself, that enough for me to share it with people. Any time you put content out online, you’re going to have good reactions and bad reactions. But I only care about the good reactions.
They’re not only sexual, but they’re strongly aesthetically appealing tattoos as well – beautiful black, clean work. What’s your brief background in art? You have a degree in design, right?
I don’t have a degree! I didn’t finish it. I didn’t really study anything related to art, I studied Industrial Design. It’s art, in a way, but aimed at industry so it’s quite different. But yeah, I like creating tattoos in black because it has a stronger visual effect. For me, they look nicer like that. They’re solid lines, so I can feel sure that they’re going to look good for a long time. It can be fun to use colour, but I’m doing such small, detailed faces and stuff like that, it’s better to do them with these heavy, black lines and shapes.
And where do you get inspiration from?
Really random stuff. The gay aesthetic and tribes inside the gay community. So like different styles within it such as say, normal guys, or leather and latex, different types of fetishes that people are into.
And so for your clientele, for your fans, I think they see something in you they haven’t seen before in Dublin – what do you have prepared for them? Because they eagerly looking forward to what’s coming next!
There’s a new project I’m starting, next to my amazing friend Babs Daly, that’s going to be available to everyone. It’s not tattoos, it’s going to be a printed work, like a little book. And calendars too. I’m starting the project now so, if everyone goes smooth, it should be ready for the new year.
We are looking for male nude models to volunteer for this amazing idea! And the result is going to be a series of drawing of the models!
And the final question – how do you feel about doing all this work in Dublin? Because Dublin is somewhere that’s been transformed, big time, in terms of tattooing over the past few years.
I think the group of people in Ireland who are into these types of tattoos I’m doing is not as big as it is in other countries… but I think, little by little, people are starting to become much more open to different designs. So I’ve tattooed a good few people who said they never thought they were going to get something like this, but because they saw the tattoos on other people, they came in to get them done, they felt behave enough to go for it then.
That’s awesome! It’s so interesting to hear of that happening. Well thank you German, it’s been a pleasure.
Interview with Jack:
Eve: So German started this style around two months ago, and before he was into Old School, but his new approach is becoming a big hit online in Ireland because it’s so unusual to see, first of all sexual images and secondly gay sexual images. So, as a client of his, what was your first impression of coming across this work?
Jack: Well, when I first saw his drawings…. I’d never seen anything like them before. I went to the Dublin International Tattoo Convention, and I’d previously heard of German, but I saw his skateboard with a male nude on it and I thought, ‘woah that’s amazing’. So yeah I’d never seen anything like it before and that’s what makes them so special. He’s the only artist in Ireland – that I know of anyway – who’s doing stuff like this. The style just really struck me because it was so original.
Cool. And what does it mean to you to get a piece like this? Is it more of an artistic appeal or is it a statement for you?
For me, it’s artistic. I like the aesthetic of the men that he draws, and yeah the ideas that they convey as well. Because, over the past few years there’s been a huge change in regards to sexuality in Ireland. Everyone is more open and it’s great to see tattoos reflecting that change in society. Because it’s quite common to see a female nude tattoo, or something like that like a pin up, but to see a male pin up is very rare, and German is creating his own style there.
I mean it is difficult to admit you have a different sexuality, because there are plenty of restraints in society, so it’s even more brave to put something visual on your body to represent this. So I imagine you’d have to completely trust yourself – because you can hide your feelings if you want but you can’t really hide a tattoo like this in the same way. So have you dealt with anything negative; has this been a challenge for you?
No, no nothing like that. Any reaction I’ve had to these tattoos has been really positive. I haven’t had anybody say anything negative or anything like that about them. So yeah, no issues.
So would you in the future cover yourself in male sexual tattoos like this!?
(Laughs) Well yeah, I might. Not all of it – I do have other interests! But definitely more of German’s stuff, yeah. Anything he comes up with, I’m a fan of; it’s a very original style.
Yeah like I think it’s something really authentic. It’s something quite deep and personal – both for himself and the people who respond to the tattoos.
It is, it is. I think the tattoos that he creates are something everybody can relate to, because everybody has sex. Of course he doesn’t just do make nudes, he’s also started branching out into scenes of couples, and I think that’s something that would be reflected in a lot of people’s lives. So I can see how they’d be pretty popular.
So where do you see Dublin in five or ten years time?
In terms of tattoos, or sexuality?
In terms of sexuality.
I think it can only improve. I think at the moment, y’know, things are good, and I think if everything continues the way it’s going, then there’s not going to be any issues.
Awesome. Well listen thanks so much for talking to us, it’s really important to hear your opinion, and to get it out there, as well as the artists.
Cheers, I appreciate it too. And yeah I mean tattooing, it’s more popular than ever. It used to be a specific type of person, now almost everyone has a tattoo.
Absolutely. Actually, let me just ask, what industry do you work in?
I work in finance.
Interesting, so you have to wear a suit and all that?
Yep, I wear a suit!
Wow, so you have to be pretty brave having these tattoos then…
Yeah, well all my friends are gay, so it doesn’t feel unusual at all for me, to display something like this.
Nice! That’s inspiring. That’s the main word that comes to my mind.
Well thank you
All the best Jack!
And you too!
To keep track on Instagram:
German – @gerfer_tattoo
Jack – @lumberjack1991