Filigree Calligraphy: Interview with Pierre Bourquin

Filigree Calligraphy: Interview with Pierre Bourquin

In this interview with Pierre Bourquin, aka Pierroked, we get to hear what inspires him and why he loves lettering.

 A quick glance at the portfolio of Pierre Bourquin, aka Pierroked, may lead you to believe that he is a master of the lettering art. Old English, massive Gothic blackwork, filigree script, and more, all with incredible intricacy. But, believe it or not, he can also do pop art portraits, realistic skulls and bottles of glass, Japanese peonies...he can even perfectly capture your favorite kicks...Pierre is one hell of an artist. 

How did you get into tattooing and why did you want to do it?

Around 12 years old, I discovered the tattoo. A friend's father was tattooed at «Puces de Clignacourt» when I saw him I told myself right away that I wanted to be!! I liked the atmosphere ..

Later, after working in a design agency, I decided to stop because I was tired of sitting behind a computer...I needed to draw more, to make the letter, to find an artisanal dimension in my work, to do tattoos!!!
So, I presented my work at Tin-tin tattoos who was looking for an apprentice and I had the chance and the honor to do my apprenticeship!

Why is lettering the style you do most and what do you love about it?

I discovered the letter at the beginning by graffiti, with time, by dint of drawing, I wanted to push the vice, to work the "letter" pure and hard with more rigor. I like the paradox that there is in lettering, as much freedom and so many constraints! When we look at a text, or a typographic poster it seems simple and obvious, but all the work on the drawing of typographic characters, on the inter-lettering, the space between the letters, the thickness, the height, the compositions of blocks, are assemblies...I like that we can decline and transform it to infinity !!!

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What inspires your work?

Lots of things inspire my work. Architecture, decorative arts, painting, engraving, graphic design, sign painting, wood carving, stone carving ... textiles ... old signs, covers of old books, constructivism. and many other artistic currents!!!!! I think that we must be inspired by all that is done in art, but not in the field we practice ... even if many tattoo artists inspire me! I can not quote a few, too difficult to make choices!

What is the tattoo community like in Paris? What is it like to be heavily tattooed there?

I do not know...like everywhere! There are a lot of talented tattoo artists!! And more and more! And tattooed people from all walks of life! The tattoo has enormously evolved in recent years, its practice also. So, like all the changes, it brings positive and negative...to tell the truth, I do not really pay attention to that...I try to concentrate on my work, my style.

What are you passionate about beyond tattooing? What do you do on your days off or vacations?

Beyond the tattoo, the drawing of letters really fascinates me. Wood too. Working on a medium other than paper or skin is very interesting. The work of wood is super nice and offers other possibilities...to be able to work in volume for example, engrave, assemble, paint. Sign painting also interests me a lot, I admire the gestures, and the techniques that the guys have!! But I do not know anything about it, even if i would really like to learn

During my holidays I try not to do anything! To cut completely from the tattooing and the drawing! I listen a lot of music, I make great aperitifs with my friends, sports, graffiti, I try not to produce! It allows me to recharge my batteries! I look at things that interest me, I read, it allows the brain to do its work alone! and then when you go back to real life, you're impatient to get back to it, you're fresh, and you're full of ideas!!!!!

Any travel plans, collabs, or upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Many projects are coming! I hope! I stopped tattooing full time at Tin-Tin Tattoos! I put myself "on the road" to have more time for my family, and other things! I want to have more time to do other things like wood typography, do more drawings, logos, t-shirts, prints, draw skateboards...basically do some lettering but not just on the skin! I hope to collaborate; I think it's important to share, observe and learn with others. I have some tracks but I will not talk about it for now!!

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