Tattoo Legends: Filip Leu

katievidan in Stories

A third-generation artist and second-generation tattooer, Filip Leu is a pioneer and master of tattooing.

Nowadays, there are hundreds of thousands of tattooers in the world, but I believe it's safe to say that a very small fraction of those artists came from a family with deep roots in the craft. The Leu's are the definition of that kind of family.

Felix and Loretta Leu, were lifelong artists that spent their years traveling the world, raising their children, and tattooing for a living. Their first child, Filip showing much artistic promise at a very young age, had been a fixture in his parents practice. He helped out around the studio, kept their workspace clean and tidy, and aided in the stencil making process; which at that time involved re-drawing tattoos on grid paper as the nearest photo copier was about an hour away from their studio. It was there Filip became immersed in the culture.

The Leu Family – Ibiza 1994
Filip, Titine, Steve, Doug, Ama, Ajja, Aia, Felix, Loretta and Tracy
The Leu Family – Ibiza 1994 Filip, Titine, Steve, Doug, Ama, Ajja, Aia, Felix, Loretta and Tracy

Needless to say things escalated rather quickly. Filip received his first tattoo from his father at the age of 10, and had been taught the technique by age 12.  At 15 years young, Filip alongside his parents founded The Leu Family’s Family Iron Tattoo Studio & Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. By his 18th birthday, he was internationally revered as one of the best tattooers in the world. Talk about a child prodigy.

Filip tattooing at a young age.
Filip tattooing at a young age.
Filip and wife, Titine circa 1994.
Filip and wife, Titine circa 1994.

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Leu is responsible for creating a complete sub-genre of Japanese tattooing; coined Euro-Style Japanese. This new genre made such an impact on Japanese tattoo that it eventually made it's way back to Japan and essentially inspired a new generation to create their own unique approach to traditional tattooing.

Filip Leu
Filip Leu

Filip's style is commonly described as a blend of surrealism and psychedelia, which prior to his work- had never been seen before, and is often imitated but never duplicated. He has inspired many people over the years and has continued to help the art of tattooing grow and flourish with his incredible story and formidable talent in making tattoos appear effortless... as if they had always been there.

So without further adieu, we give you the work of Filip Leu.

Karajishi, Shi shi, or Foo Dog & Peony bodysuit by Filip Leu
Karajishi, Shi shi, or Foo Dog & Peony bodysuit by Filip Leu
Filip Leu
Filip Leu
Black & Grey Tibetan skull by Filip Leu
Black & Grey Tibetan skull by Filip Leu
Large Koi backpiece and sleeves made by Filip Leu
Large Koi backpiece and sleeves made by Filip Leu
Negative-space Dragon bodysuit made by Filip
Negative-space Dragon bodysuit made by Filip
Negative-space Dragon bodysuit made by Filip
Negative-space Dragon bodysuit made by Filip
Filip Leu
Filip Leu
Filip Leu
Filip Leu
Colorful backpiece made by Filip Leu
Colorful backpiece made by Filip Leu

katievidan

@katievidan

Southern girl living in NYC. Interests include fried chicken, heavy metal & sleeping. Tattoodo Social Media + Writer. @tattoodo

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