Spotlight: New School And Biomech By Dimitri HK
From world-renown tattoo magazines to prestigious international tattoo conventions, tattoo lovers may know the name (and of course, art) of Dimitri HK. Clients from all over the world are booking him (often one year before, due to a very long line!) in his shop of St Germain en Laye near Paris, especially for big pieces.
The style of this French artist is certainly eye-catching and intricate, with a massive influence of comic books, pop, street and Japanese art, but also realism and biomechanic. One could put him in the ‘New School’ box (just as artists like Jee Sayalero or Steve Moore and James Tex) but this high color character with a tattooed teeth would definitely feel squeezed.
I have to admit that when I first saw him I thought he was a French 90’s punk rock singer called Gogol 1er… Shame on me and hope he doesn’t mind. Singer, perhaps not (at least sober), but punk is a label this mischievous imp would not deny as he once sported the mohawk and played guitar several years in a real punk rock band, releasing discs and going on tour. But if Dimitri’s real career has been tattoo since 1990, he is a jack of all trades, touching to fashion (t-shirts), design (he once decorated a Lamborghini) and even books with his very own book house, Around the Caps. For 4 years, he is now exploring his painter’s side, mixing classic techniques with Photoshop, without renouncing to tattoo.
He has very kindly accepted to answer some questions for Tattoodo.
You have started tattooing in the 90’s: how did you get to it and how was it at the time?
I get to it by the freeway exit … No, just kidding ! I’m coming from the punk rock background and everyone was tattooed around me, so as I was doodling a little, it immediately tempted me to try doing it myself. My beginnings were a bit difficult : there wasn’t internet and the professional tattooists were mostly stingy with pieces of advice.But I have met some artists who explained me the rudiments, like Rats and Riton, and Marcel of rue Legendre, legends of French tattoo. There was no apprenticeship at this time and pieces of advice from an artist such as Marcel were gold for me. In the 90’s, tattoo was much more marginal and ‘rock’hate’roll’ than now and when I was asked what my job was and answered ‘tattooist’, people keep telling me ‘no, that’s a hobby, what your real job ?’. No one would imagine it could be a real job.
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How would you describe your style?
Well, I don’t think I have one style in particular. There are styles I don’t do anymore. At the beginning, I was doing what clients were requesting, from realistic native american portraits to cartoon or the classic roses … There was not many clients, so you couldn’t be so picky. But it allowed me to touch to many styles, some I’ve developed, some abandoned. But I can’t lie, I am genuinely influenced by comics.
You are also now a popular painter : do your painting influence your tattoos and vice versa ?
I’ve discovered painting very late, but that’s obvious, I enjoy that. I work on many different mediums that influence each others. When drawing, you are on a eternal search, so of course, ideas found in a painting can be used in a tattoo and vice versa. You just need to adapt it as skin is way different from canvas.
How do you imagine the rest of your career ?
I hope to do more and more paintings, beautiful tattoos, that my book house (with both printed and digital books) will be successful … I am also working on my application, ATC Books, where artists and tattoo lover scan find digital books on tattoo and tutorials. We're working on the Android version that should be ready for the end of July. ... and time will tell ! I have a big exhition from the 11th of October in Mantes la Jolie near Paris, with a lot of tattoo artists and music shows.
And as usually, you will spot me on international conventions such as Montréal and London in 2014, Paris in 2015, and much more…
A last word for our readers ?
Well, thank you for your interest and see you soon ! Tattooingly yours, Dimitri HK.