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Raise Hell: Interview with Tattoo Artist Mike End

Raise Hell: Interview with Tattoo Artist Mike End

Tattoo Artists4 min Read

In this interview with Mike End, he talks about 90s tattoo inspiration and his natural progression to becoming a tattooist.

His artwork may be unique riffs on hardcore old school classics but Paris-based tattooist Mike End has the type of down to earth vibe and stand-out style that attracts clients like bees to honey. His tattoos merge the aesthetics of 80's - 90's tattoo magazine biker culture with graphic novel, comic book, and cartoon references that often give a humorous edge to Mike's brutal skin blasts. Whether depicting butterflies or barbed wire, Mike End certainly whips out pieces that make up a tour de force portfolio. As studios being to open again for business, make sure you snap up an appointment with him asap for an addition to your collection you'll love for a lifetime!

How did you get into tattooing and why was it something you were drawn to?

It’s always a tricky question about how long I’ve been tattooing, because I’ve learned by myself and have make small breaks at the beginning. But the first time I’ve touched a machine was 6 years ago. But I would say that I’m tattooing for more than 3 years. It sounds a bit cliché but I’m drawing since I’m a kid and as a teenager I was really into graffiti. Then, I got more and more interest for the tattoo culture. It was and it’s still for me a powerful and strong way to express yourself. You can’t meet somebody with tattoos and not getting curious about it. It will always attract your eyes and curiosity. Even though people can love as well as hate it, they can’t be insensitive to it. That’s what makes it powerful. The tattoo culture and history were also very appealing for me. Therefore, I would say that I got drawn by the visual and the cultural aspect at the same time.

Stomach tattoo by Mike End #MikeEnd #stomachtattoo #snake #panther

Can you talk about your inspirations, and how your style has evolved over the years?

I draw mostly my inspiration from biker’s tattoo culture, black and grey tattoos, 90s tribal and traditional tattoos at the same time. Outside the tattoo culture, I draw my inspiration from a lot of different things like the old horror and crime book covers, comics from the 70s to the 90s or even 90s action movies. Music and especially metal and hard rock from the 70-80s are an important inspiration in my work. I have to say that I really like the American culture from the 70s to the 90s. I really like digging for references and inspiration everywhere. Everywhere I’m guesting I visit the museums, libraries, book store, flea markets... I think that inspiration and references can be found everywhere and you’ll find better ones than on Google or Pinterest.

Considering my style, it’s a lot different now from what I was doing at the beginning. I started with bold and broken lines and a lot of dot work, because it seemed easier for me to begin to tattoo those kind of designs. As a matter of fact, with time and practice I got more and more able to do fine lines and more detailed design. But I think that a lot of tattoo artist’s style have evolved that way because of technical reasons.

At the beginning I was making my designs considering what I would be able to do good. But thankfully these time is over and now the technical aspect of tattooing is no more a burden. To be honest, I’ve never been looking for my style. I think that if you are sincere in your work and do what you truly love, style comes naturally.

GOJIRA for Enrico ! Thanks for this supercool custom project ! Last tattoo made at The Chamber Berlin. #tattoo #tatowierung #berlintattoo #godzilla #godzillatattoo #gojira #monster #blackwork #blackworkers #blacktattoo #darktattoo #darkart #dark #custom #

Who are the tattooers, or fine artists/movements, that have inspired you over the years?

There is a lot of tattoo artists to mention. Considering those I follow the work since I started tattooing and by the way made me wanted to become a tattooer, I would say Cokney, Rafel Delalande, Richard Warnock and Sera Helen. Inspiration is something but I would never have evolved this way without the help of my coworkers, former coworkers and friends, especially Yung Mocci, Robin Kss, Aulp & Flex Mecca, Clr.ttf and Cold Zilla.

 Many artists have a philosophy or motivation behind their work...what would you say is yours? How do you define success?

I don’t have a special philosophy or motivation in mind. I only do what I want. And I really like trying a lot of things. That’s why I started to tattoo designs from comics book for a year. Therefore, I’m able to make design in another way, which is more a work of references researches, digging into comic books to find nice designs.

I also started designing and tattooing typography two years ago with my friend Clr.ttf for a common project called TrueType Tattoo. I studied type design and it was for me something very interesting not only to draw letters and tattoo them afterwards but to design them at first to be tattooed.

NÉFASTE/ Thanks Marie for trusting me again and again. Thanks for looking. Booking: mikeend666@gmail.com or DM #blackwork #fineline #blackandgrey #paristattoo #tattooparis #paris #tatouage #tttism #darktattoo #blackworktattoo #tattoooftheday #spider #spid

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? What is the best advice you feel you can give?

Friends told me once « To make a cool tattoo, you have to take your time. » it’s definitely the best one I’ve ever had. And if I could give one it would be: Don’t follow the hype, do what you truly like and be sincere. Your work will always be more interesting that way.

Beyond tattooing, what are you passionate about? How do you spend your free time, and what do you do on your vacations?

Everything I am into is related to tattoo or I use it for my design. I really like to collect a lot of different kind of things like Harley-Davidson’s stuff, comic books, engravings, 90s tattoo magazines, knives...I have to admit that I’m never really "off". I’m always drawing, looking for references or thinking about tattooing. To me, it’s a never ending journey...

Any plans for 2020 you’d like to share?

In those times everything is on pause unfortunately. I was planning to go guesting in Canada and maybe in the USA but I’ll have to do it later. I’ll keep on drawing everyday for now!


Justine Morrow
Written byJustine Morrow

Social Producer, Journalist, Editor, and Curator for Tattoodo I am here to support you 🌻 IG: @lathe.of.heaven

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