The Neo Realistic Tattoos of Fabian de Gaillande
In spite of his young age, Fabian de Gaillande, aka Fabz, is at the head of one of the most talked-about tattoo shop in the ink planet, The Black Mark in Melbourne, Australia. One could say that Fabian has not chosen yet a specific tattoo style, but in contrary, his borrowings from many different styles is what makes his work unique. If the main subject of his tattoos is mainly realistic with painting effects, the tattoos have also influences of surrealism art, with neo traditional lines and Japanese background’s effects. A promising hallmark that already has catched the eyes of the professional tattoo magazines and ink connoisseurs.
If the former science student is still very humble about his work, he still has gained the respect of the trade, and being invited at the prestigious 10th edition of the London Tattoo Convention is a proof itself. I met him during this event and he accepted to answer my questions.
Was tattooing always your passion?
Tattooing is a passion of mine since I was a teenager. I remember drawing on myself in French classes because I was so bored. And I ended up going home with my left forearm and hand covered. My mum was scared I would end up with skin cancer from the sharpie ink. I continued scribbling on my books through university and tried getting into a tattoo apprenticeship with no luck, so I kinda gave up and focused more on my studies. It’s only towards the end of my degree that I felt the need to get tattooed again and scored my apprenticeship through the rough sketch of what I wanted to get on me. Since then I draw a little bit better lol.
Tell me more about you: your background, interests, spare time hobbies?
In a nutshell, I was born and raised in Vanuatu, a small pacific island near Fiji and moved to the Gold Coast in Australia in 2003 to study a bachelor of science. I started my tattoo apprenticing almost at the same time I was graduating 7-8 years ago. Now I live in Melbourne where I opened The Black Mark with my associates Mick Squires, Kitty Dearest and Crispy Lennox 2 months ago. We also have two other amazing artists working alongside us : Benjamin Laukis and Ben Thomas. We also have a list of outstanding artists organised to guest spot with us, how exciting !
My interest now : well, growing up on an island, it was easy to be drawn to the ocean so surfing took a big part of my life. I also loved playing basketball as a teenager, so of course I’m a big fan of Michael Jordan and own a lot of his shoes ! But now being older I rather go to the movies, or staying in bed watching movies or going out for coffee, you know, just chilling. On the other hand to keep up with age and the tattooist’s back curse I started 4 years ago to do crossfit and now enjoy it a lot, so i train 6 days a week for 1-2 hours per day.
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Do you have a type (or different types) of tattoo you prefer to do, and if yes, why?
The type of tattoos I like doing are influenced by a wide array of style, from trad/ neotrad to realistic and bio to Japanese, I also like how black and grey tattoos look classical, distinguished and timeless when done properly. For my part, I would say my style is more illustrative. I like my subject matter to be realistic with maybe the use of lines, power lines, key lines, grey lines, coloured lines even, just so i can increase the focus/ attention on the subject. I also like the use of pure black and contrasting colours to reinforce that effect of focus.
In which direction would you wish to go in your art?
In the future I want to spend more time on improving my art, sketching/ drawing and painting in order to improve my tattoos. I also think that the style I will use for my art will not derive from which medium or canvas I will use but from the theme or subject at the centre of the piece. I am also working on giving a kind of sinister feel to all my future piece but that’s another battle since my work is pretty bright at the moment.
What was your feeling about being there at the London Tattoo Convention ?
To participate to such an amazing environment is very difficult to express, especially for this 10th anniversary event where most of the artist I looked up to through my apprenticeship where present here, as well as my heroes of today and my nemesis of tomorrow lol . For a kid it would be like being at a party with Santa, the tooth fairy, the easter rabbit and all the other magical characters hahaha ! For real, it made me feel small but also good and humble, and proud at the same time. There is no mediocre tattooist at this convention and I heard about more than 2000 other artists being on a waiting list. It is safe to say that London is the most prestigious convention in the world.
What do you think about how popular tattoo art is now?
That’s a double edge sword, but I’d like to look at the bright side where only the true believer will survive the apocalypse. If you are in it for the wrong reason your gods are not strong enough to carry you to Valhalla lol.
What do you think is the best in tattoo conventions?
There are a lot of reasons why I like conventions. On a social level they allow me to reconnect with all my friends from around the world and make new friends. On a Business level, I get invited to other prestigious conventions that way, or to do guest spots all around the world. It allows me to touch base with my sponsors, supply companies and establish new relations with potential business partners, sponsors, clients and guest artists. Finally on a art level, it just give me a push to improve myself by taking me out of my comfort zone. Also you can always walk around to your peers and artists you admire and ask for advice. Conventions are really win win environments if you put your mind set into it. I always come back super motivated from a convention.
If you could choose: one place in the world to practice tattooing, one person to tattoo, one tattoo to do, what would you pick?
I would choose my shop The Black Mark in Melbourne. I think my partners and I have created the best environment for ourselves to create our best work. The person I would choose, is not necessary someone famous but someone who love what I do and would let me run with anything I choose to do without second guessing any of my decisions on the way I would do it. The subject of the tattoo would have to be something that I like doing often something similar to what I have in my portfolio. As generic as it might sound, a beautiful girl face, a skull, a rose, a bird, you know something with a nice flowing composition. And bit of sinister, romanticism, mysticism or spirituality touch to create an atmosphere around the piece.