Traditional Japanese art is not just ghastly dragons, graceful koi, and deities surrounded by threatening waves. It is also fraught with cute little animals, humor, and beings, of all shapes and sizes, lounging around while enjoying the finer things in life...like sake and sashimi.
What was your childhood like? Were you always creative and was tattooing always your career of choice?
I read in an interview that you said, “I think art is like a sandwich- it always seems better when someone else makes it.” which is basically genius and so incredibly accurate sometimes. Who are your sandwich makers? What artists, films, books, or philosophies inspire your work? Who are your heroes?
What was it like opening up your own shop? What are the pros and cons of taking on the extra responsibility of shop owner?
I am definitely guilty of being obsessed with tattoos of Japanese styled animals holding food, which includes a large portion of your portfolio. Why do you think people are so crazy about tattoos that blend animals, food, and Japanese patterns? What is it about your work that makes it so powerful and how do you infuse your characters with such personality?
How does the locality of where you live and work affect your art? How does Berlin’s tattoo community contrast with Australia? What is your favorite place in the world?
Your cover for Things&Ink was described as purposely “androgynous” makes me wonder how you feel about being female in a, generally, male oriented industry. What has your experience been like, and do you think gender has played a role?
I tried to give the theme an androgynous feel for the Things and Ink feature because “Identity” was the theme. I am female and I am an artist, but those are separate things which don't affect the other. I don't want to be judged for my gender first. I have a purposefully neutral alias on Instagram, @wenramen, so my art can make the first impression.