tattoo | art interview with Sanne Vaghi by iva kancheska 25/08/2014

Hello Sanne Vaghi! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our magazine. It's a great pleasure to share some of my thoughts with you, you have very unique style, something I haven't find similar to any artist our there, which makes me think of how much you're personally unique as well as expressive in a creative way...

I bet your art journey has lots of cool stories, let's start from the beginning...

Q: How old are you when you first got interested in art?
A: I think I was very young, I have vivid memories of illustrations in children's books. For example the drawings of John Bauer in the collected fairy tales 'Among Gnomes and Trolls'. The movie 'The dark crystal' by Jim Henson made a big impression on me when I was young and I had some of the drawings tattooed when I got older. I guess something that touches you at a young age has a lot of influence.

- Did you attend art school?
Yes, I studied Illustration at Willem de kooning academy in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. But after 3 years I decided to change to Fine Arts and I received my bachelor's degree in 2008.



Q: What kind of art interested you in the beginning?
A: In art school my main interest was photography and etching. And I worked manly with the intaglio printing technique, which combines these two art forms. What really fascinated me about this medium, where the structures it created I think this technique inspired a lot of my tattoo designs and changed my way of approaching the drawing process, letting structures play a big role in the design.

Q: As I said on the beginning, your style is really something unique. How would you describe your style?
A: I would describe it as fine line, abstract, organic work. My main focus is the line work, combined with vein-like structures. This became eventually a way of stylizing my characters, the animals and creatures in my designs.

Q: I love the fact that you draw custom designs for each client. Tell me about the making process. Your customers bring you some sketches and then you re-draw the design or they totally let you be the main creator of the tattoo?
A: It depends on the wishes of the customer. For example with the animal/illustrative designs, I will prepare a sketch before hand. With the abstract designs customers let me draw free hand on the body. I feel very honored when a customer gives me this trust because this allows me to give them not just a custom design but to interact with the flow of the body. The most important to me is that all designs are unique and connect with the personal meaning for the customer.


- Btw, have you ever tried to do something completely different, like a Japanese sleeve etc?
Yes, I tattoo non-custom designs, or designs not related to my style. I'm curious to learn other styles, it might give me new ideas to develop my own. There's still so much to learn and I would like to see my style evolve over the years.

Q: Do you think that a bit of singularity, is a necessity for one artist? Should we all, be know for something that is unique for ourselves?
A: No, I don't think so. It's great that now there's a wide range of unique tattooing styles, but I think flash work is very important in the history of tattooing. In any style of tattooing there's the personal handwriting or signature of the tattoo artist. Which gives the tattoo a unique feeling.

Q: What personality note most describe your tattoo/drawing style?
A: It is difficult for me to say, looking at it from my point of view, but I guess my style is somehow the result not just of my life experiences and emotional growth, but also of all the inputs I "feed" myself with. I'm not just talking about illustration s in books, inspiring pictures and movies, but all the elements I fill my world with. My love for old dolls, nature, grave sculptures, and the music I listen too.

Q: Do you use other art mediums such as painting, photography, to get inspired?
A: I often use photography to get inspired in the first step of a creating a design , but I like to experiment in general with different mediums. I also make small sculptures and installation in old boxes I found at flea markets, I enjoy creating small worlds where organic materials such as moss and branches are combined with parts of dolls. This might not be directly related to the process of creating a tattoo design but it certainly ended up influencing my lines and my structures.

Q: Do you also work on customs for sale? If so, share some of the coolest experiences with the customers.
A: I request to put my designs on t'shirts or as a print. This is something I'm planning to do in the near future.

Q: Any "dream" piece that is waiting in you sketchbook, ready to be inked on someone's skin? hehe If there is any, please let us know, what's that. hah
A: I would love to do a big abstract piece, completely freehand, even without any sketching on the body. Allowing the design to create itself during the tattooing process.

Q: I bet your art journey gave you the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people, hear lots of life stories, so far... Is there anything you realized/learned from it? How much the art could be a salvation from all the positive/negative aspects in life?
A: What I find the most special about this work, is the personal experience that the customer shares with me. Everybody responds so differently to pain, we are generally not used to physical pain. I believe that the pain felt during the tattoo session, allows the customer to experience a moment of being in the present completely. Something that is rare for most people, we tend to worry about past or present events. During a tattoo session, time seems to slow down. To be able to connect with the customer at this moment is very important to me.

Q: Do you have any special career achievements?
A: I guess being invited as a guest artist throughout Europe, gave me a lot of confidence in my work. In the last year I did guest spots in Corsica, London, and that was a very good learning experience. When I moved from the Netherlands to Berlin 3 years ago, there where several studio's in Berlin that I really admired. The different tattoo styles, the fact that tattooing and other art mediums could be found in the same place. I feel very proud to be working at a few of these studio's this year, for example 'Zoes Zirkus' and 'AKA'.

Q: Any advice for the beginners?
A: The most important is that you are motivated, becoming a tattoo artist should be your passion, it will take a lot of time and energy. The way to become a tattoo artist changed a lot over the years. An apprenticeship at a studio does not seem to be a necessity anymore. But I believe being an apprentice at a studio can be very important to give you a solid base for the rest of your career. Learning all the hygiene rules, communication with customers, drawing skills, etc. I'm very grateful for the mentors I've had, to be thought to have respect for the profession and not to forget that you're working with people and not canvases.

Please feel free to share your work info/website.

Where to find me;

15-27th September
Tokyotattoo, UK
10-15th November
Namaste studio, Italy