Julian Siebert's impressive colour realism stole the show at The London Tattoo Convention 2015. We caught up with Julian to talk about his roots in tattooing, love of horror imagery and how it felt to win the coveted 'Best of Show' award...
How did you get started in the tattoo industry?
I was 6 years old when I was interested in WWF wrestling - at this time I saw The Undertaker and I was amazed at his coloured skin. When I started listening to hard rock and metal at the age of 10 my interest returned; I saw all these bands with tattoos, like Slayer, Slipknot and Pantera. After a car accident I wanted to get a tattoo and I found some Paul Booth flash, which I have now had for over 12 years on my chest! The tattoo artist asked me if I knew Paul and when I checked out his biography it was crazy because he had tattooed The Undertaker, Slayer, Slipknot, etc. After a second car accident, I stopped doing what I learned, quit my school and started an apprenticeship in a tattoo shop. After these accidents, I just saw how fast everything could change and began to live my dream.
Which artists do you admire?
Before I found Paul Booth I was stoked about the art of HR Giger and Todd McFarlane.
Your portfolio centres heavily on horror imagery and darker themes. How did this style develop?
I really don't know why, but I always had these tendencies to veer towards the dark side, whether it was Skeletor, Vader or the Undertaker. But Booth, Giger and McFarlane have been a huge influence. They are also the reason I love biomechanic, dark imagery, and dark comic/realistic styles. There are also a lot of different artists I really admire! I think the body flow is really important for a good tattoo and artists like Shige or Jeff Gogue understand this – I love their work. The freehand work of my friend Toxyc Xlr also helped and inspired me a lot.
Where do you seek inspiration?
I work together with great artists and friends so I think there is constantly a nice creative inspirational flow. Also guest artists like Neon Judas and Toxyc always keep it interesting.
You won Best of Show for the incredible front piece you created at The London Tattoo Convention 2015. From the initial sketches to the immaculate final piece, it was amazing to watch the tattoo come together. How did it feel to win the award and do you have any more large scale projects in the pipeline?
I was positively shocked when Miki Vialetto told me that I could attend the great London Tattoo Convention! And it is still for me the greatest honour to be a part of this show. To win a prize, really, I never thought that this could happen. I just wanted to do a special piece for the Convention.
I work in a traditional way, so it has to be my own drawing and I want tattooers like Shige or Tin Tin to look at it and see that this is 100% handmade, no Photoshop! 90% of my work is on a larger scale, whole sleeves, front/backpieces; but I had never done a piece like this in one Convention.
And how does it feel to win Best of Show at the world's best convention? You can't describe that feeling!