I started tattooing two years ago. I saw on Facebook that Ravi-Lassi (link) was looking for an apprentice, and after thinking for a while I decided to apply. I had been admiring Lassi’s artwork for a long time and therefore felt quite nervous when I sent him an e-mail with some of my drawings. Earlier, I had asked a couple of places for an apprenticeship as well, but they had rejected my applications mostly due to the lack of time or other resources.
To my surprise, Lassi answered almost immediately. Of course, he wanted to meet me in person before making any decisions. I lived in Tampere back then, but by coincidence, I was just on my way back home from Rovaniemi and was just approaching Oulu when I got his answer. I called him and asked if we could shortly meet in an hour or something, and so we did.
After two weeks, I came back to Oulu for a second meeting. Lassi watched me tattooing couple of lines on a practice skin and just said yes, you’re hired. I was so happy I almost started to cry! After that, I went to get us some Subway meals and called my mom to tell the good news.
This is my dream job, and the only career I’ve ever truly thought of. I studied graphic design for a while but quit it when my apprenticeship began. I’ve always loved drawing, and my parents have always supported my interest in art as well. I think they also kind of hoped that one day, I’d become a professional artist, like an illustrator or something. Well, I did become an artist, maybe just a different kind than they thought.
Blackcap (in Finnish: Mustapääkerttu) is a small, grey bird with a black cap on its head. It was actually my friend who originally came up with the name. He said that if I ever started my own tattoo business, I must name it Blackcap Tattoo, and I thought well, why not!
If I had to describe my style in one word, I guess I’d say it’s neo-traditional. Still, I try not to label my style into one specific category, but to focus on my individual style instead.
Animals are one of my favorite tattoo themes, and I also love designs with art nouveau -styled women in them. I’m inspired by Alphonse Mucha’s artwork and I think that kind of style works great on neo-traditional tattooing as well.
Even though I’m a professional tattooist, I love my work so much that sometimes it doesn’t feel like work at all. After all, this is one of the few handicraft professions left, and a quite old one, too.
I’m so grateful to Lassi, as he saw my potential despite my young age and recognized this is something I really want to do. During these two years, there has even been a couple of times when I’ve heard people recognizing my tattooing style somewhere. It makes me feel great, and very humble, too. Still, the best reward for me is to see a customer being happy with my artwork.