Interview / Ivan 14

Interview with the tattoo traveler Ivan 14.

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Can you please introduce yourself ?

My real name is Ivan, I was born in 1992.

What are you doing today ?

Today I’m in New York and, as it’s raining outside, I’ve decided to get done all the things I’ve had to do for weeks – like answer this interview. After that, I will get back to my drawings and prepare tomorrow’s tattoos.

How did you start tattooing ?

I’ve got friends who run a micro-edition gallery in Bordeaux (Disparate Galerie, I owe them a lot) and they were one of the first exhibiting illustrators from a new perspective: tattooing. The concept was simple, you would come by during the exhibition, choose a unique drawing, then you would get an appointment the next weekend in a (huge) squat to get poked / pricked. I flashed (joke) – there is no other word for it.

I went back to Nantes with no money to afford tattoos, so I spent my Christmas cheque on a cheap tattoo machine, started on my own thighs, then moved quickly on to my skate-boarding crew.

What’s your favorite context in which to tattoo ?

I am currently working on a project / concept which will soon be visible online. I tattooed on a balcony overlooking Valparaiso – warm wind, sun, I won’t tell you more but I think it’s the beginning of a new phase in my work.

Update : Ivan released the video. It looks great, it has some good music and you may have a look at it here

What would be your dream tattoo-request ?

Right now my work is focused on my “Tattoo Postcards” that represent cities based on my travel pictures, and I would deeply love to be able to realize this as a long-term project on someone, to turn his/her body in to a travel diary. I would really enjoy that.

Who are these women here ?

Women are vectors of wisdom and sensitivity; they have a central place in my life – as friends, mothers, or lovers. I don’t feel like a feminist because I don’t like what this word implies, but to me women represent balance and delicacy, both morally or purely aesthetically. I like knowing that my drawings are inhabited by these kind and sad women, like the Virgin I wear around my neck.

Can you tell us something about these series ?

For this exhibition I wanted to work on journalistic archives of events that have had a big influence on our society’s memory: the first step on the moon (1969), the 11th of September 2001, the 30 years of Israel. These archives are evidence of time passing, and as time goes on, they gain a spiritual meaning. As tattoos, they are vectors of memory, and it’s this connection with time and memories that I wanted to highlight, as it touches me.

How important is it to you to share your ideas and opinions through your art ?

Synthesis is what directs the work I produce – a combination of what I am, transcribed into my work: traveling, graphic construction, empathy.

My drawings do not claim a point of view or even an opinion of the world, I do this more in my way of life. To earn freedom, escaping the slavery of working, that’s my engagement I guess: “la sobriété heureuse” (“sober happiness”, as said by Pierre Rabhi)

Do you reference any artists in your work?

I admire many contemporary artists, but I think the golden rules I use in my work have been transmitted to me by artists like Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, or Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, with whom I had the chance to work.

Seems like you travel a lot… In what way is travel important to you ?

Traveling is wandering, you’re going nowhere but you’re going. And you only keep the nectar of life with you when you travel, it’s the essence of the “sobrieté heureuse” philosophy – what does not fit in your luggage is not necessary.

You do posters, illustration, graffiti, tattoos, silkscreen printing… What is / are the next technique(s) you want to play with ?

For my further projects I’ve decided to focus more on concepts rather than on the medium itself, I think we have already fully experimented with tattooism as it is today, it is our role to take it somewhere else, so that it finds its own place in the galleries.

We can’t wait to see that. Thanks Ivan.

 


instagram.com/ivan14_paris