Tjuvkik genom pärldraperi på tatuerare som arbetar koncentrerat på StaDemonia Tattoo Stockholm.

QUEER TATTOO at StaDemonia Tattoo Stockholm!

QUEER TATTOO / In addition to our ongoing exhibitions of queer art and reserving space for invited queer tattooers, during 2019 and the first half of 2020 we will work on the project QUEER TATTOO!
We invite a number of international guest artists to tattoo with us at StaDemonia Tattoo Stockholm, expose their art and participate in conversations about Queer Tattooing, art and the creation of safe and inspiring places. Our aim is to highlight tattooing as art form and give room for queer artists and interested to meet and express their thoughts on art and how we make tattoo/art contexts more inclusive, pleasurable, safe. Look here for updates on guests and public conversations!

+Info and questions about  accessibility sara@stademonia.com / 0046-87556655

With support by Kulturrådet (the Art Council).

Queer tattoo artist Cynthia Sobraty. Looking sceptically at a pencil with colorful makeup and clothes.

Conversation with CYNTHIA SOBRATY, guest tattooing at Stademonia Tattoo Stockholm 31/7-2/8!

CYNTHIA SOBRATY, they/them, lives and works in Melbourne, Australia

How would you describe your work?
My work is a mixture of a lot of different things. It is not traditional tattooing, as it is loose and sketchy most of the time. My main mantra is to try and do things I haven’t seen before. Colouring outside the lines, and incorporating a lot of variety of styles and influences. 

How did you come in contact with tattooing? How did you learn?
I was looking for work and stuck in the capitalist existential crisis most artists face of just wanting to be creative all the time but also needing to survive. At this time I put up an ad to teach drawing on a classifieds site, and had my portfolio on there. Through that my current boss found me and asked if I would like a tattoo apprenticeship. So i was very lucky in this regard! I learned from my boss and from observing the other artists in the studio I did my apprenticeship at. 

Where do you find inspiration for your tattoo art? What makes you happy/curious? Do you work with art in other ways than on skin?
I find inspiration in a lot of things. I am obsessed with popular culture and am very visual. My influences span from 18th/19th century fashion and design, my experiences as a qpoc person, drag culture, anime, myth and lore, contemporary tattooing, abstract art and the idea of wabi sabi. 

What makes me happy/curious is taking an old idea and spinning it on it’s head. I like to try and work with people to create symbols of their own instead of repurposing old symbols with old meanings. For instance, a feather to represent freedom, wanderlust. How can we create a symbol specific for you that no one else can have? Can we create an asbtraction of a feeling? Can we create a demon, or a character to personify something? People do not consider their own capacity to create, and often automatically rely on pre existing images. There is a lot of power and fun in making something more unnusual, more unique, that is tailored for the indivdual and the artist. 

I am a bit of a creative jack of all trades, flailing my art limbs all over the place. I am working on an album at the moment, and I am also in a band called NOT QUITE WHITE, which is a PoC ”girl” band who write songs about our nuanced experiences as poc people. I am a performer as well, and am doing a solo show at this years Fringe Festival in Melbourne called ”Neuromantic- a queer cabaret” which is a collection of pieces that I have wanted to perform for a long time, ranging from poetry, storytelling, comedy, drag and original music. I am a very over analytical person but am more motivated then ever to put things into fruition, even if I feel like they or I am not ready or ENOUGH yet, becasue the reality is the world is burning and there is no time to waste. 

Talking bout tattoo culture, What changes would you like to see? In what way can we as tattoo artists make a change?
Tattoo culture is definitely more commodified then ever, with people regularly seeing things they see on social media and taking images to artists and saying ”I want this one please”. It has become more like fast fashion rather then curated fragments of imagination seen into fruition. It’s easy for artists to get swept up in this fashion framework of tattooing as it is very commercially viable and lucrative. It is harder to be an artist who does many different styles because they cannot be marketed as easily. And so artists start to pigeon hole themselves, and limit their spectrum of ability to create new and different things. Much like everything else in life I want tattooing to be more inclusive. Instagram is a doubel edged sword in this way. Now it’s easier for queer artists to find one another and for people to find queer tattooers. Insta can provide solidarity and community, but i also feel it is the bane of many artists self esteem. We have to use it to propel our business, but it also means subjecting ourselves to a scope of comparison to other artists that hasn’t really existed before. How much damage this is doing to our imagination is invisible and scary. Insecurity is rife and we are quicker to cut each other down because we fear being cut down ourselves. Other tattooers have called my style of tattooing lazy, and I know that this is by the standard they are holding themselves and tattooing in general. I feel there is room for everyone , and to call each others styles lazy, or not good enough is ultimately a reflection of our own insecurity. We should be making room for everyone to feel empowered, in the same way we should be empowering others in society to express themselves freely without fear of judgement. Those with perfectly executed masterpieces of ideas we’ve all seen before are similar to those in life who conform to societys ideals of what is ”good and normal”. Anything deviating from these ideals is up for scrutiny and ridicule. But the fact is diversity is beautiful, and we should be appreciating that. 

Cynthia Sobraty will guest tattoo at StaDemonia Tattoo Stockholm 31/7-2/8 and participate in a conversation about tattooing, art and how to create safe and lustful places 30/7 at 16.00 hs at RFSL Stockholm (Alsnögatan 7, floor 3). The conversation is moderated by Rudy Loewe.
For info and bookings with Cynthia write directly to csobraty@gmail.com!
The event will be held as an open conversation, so come and listen but above all bring all your thoughts and queries! 

Foto of queer tattoo artist Ciara Havishya, serious look and beautiful green background.

Conversation with CIARA HAVISHYA, guest tattooer at StaDemonia Tattoo Stockholm 13-15/5!

CIARA (pronounced Kira) HAVISHYA, they/them, lives and works in Vancouver BC
Foto: K.Ho

How would you describe your work?
My work has a few different facets but primarily I work with decorative Indian patterns and adapt them to bodies through tattooing. I also really enjoy botanical blackwork, and illustrative animal pieces. I feel like this variance in my work is important in keeping me feeling balanced and engaged. 

How did you come in contact with tattooing? How did you learn?
I taught myself how to tattoo mostly, about three years ago. I was very bad and made a lot of bad tattoos. It was awful. I looked for an apprenticeship but to be honest, my work wasn’t any good and I didn’t deserve one. But I also didn’t know anyone or get any feedback on what I could do better or differently. Now I’m much better at tattooing and I own my shop where I work with 8 other talented tattooers. 

Where do you find inspiration for your tattoo art? What makes you happy/curious? Do you work with art in other ways than on skin?
I find inspiration mostly in thinking about my childhood and all the culture and art that I was surrounded by. I had a very traumatic but rich upbringing with Indian art and textiles everywhere, and Buddhist thankas, and Inuit sculptures, and Hindu art and Indian music. I think about the grace and the elegance of my grandmother and her love of jewelry and good saris and I strive for that elegance and weight in the decorations I create for my clients. I find myself most happy and curious when I’m in nature looking at mushrooms and plants and insects and rocks and I find that I need to do that to spiritually and emotionally recharge on a fairly consistent basis. 
I’m in love with where the mountains, forests, oceans and wilderness of BC and truly that is my greatest source of comfort and strength as an artist. 
I try to illustrate and sketch outside of tattooing but I don’t find myself doing it very well, at least not to the extent of my tattooing. I find skin to be a perfect medium for me, and I find the process to be the most challenging. 

Talking bout tattoo culture, What changes would you like to see? In what way can we as tattoo artists make a change?
Tattoo culture is so complicated… queer tattoo culture is also so complicated. I would like to see more critique in tattoo culture and I’d like to see it normalized. I want to see artists in shops actively pushing each other and being honest with feedback to one another, I’d love to see artists with vastly different styles offering critique to others and lending their eyes to an artist for the sake of their growth. 
It makes me sad sometimes how unkind people can be in the realm of social justice and tattooing, I think in general we can all benefit from approaching each other with the maximum amount of compassion and respect for one another and our little queer tattoo communities would benefit so much from more of that. We’re all just human beings doing our best. 

Ciara Havishya will participate in a conversation with other queer tattooers about tattooing, art and how to create safe and lustful places at Queer Art Fest 11+12/5 at Konsthall C in Stockholm, as well as tattoong at the festival! The conversation is moderated by Samuel Girma and will be held at Konsthall C 12/5 at 14 hs, Cigarrvägen 14, Hökarängen.
For info and bookings with Ciara write directly to ciara.havishya@gmail.com!
The event will be held as an open conversation, so come and listen but above all bring all your thoughts and queries! 

Queer Tattooer Uve the Kid with big rainbowflag behind.

Conversation with UVE THE KID, guest tattooer at StaDemonia Tattoo Stockholm 9+10/5!

UVE RIVERA, she/her/they/them, lesbian/queer tattooer from Barcelona, working between my home town and London.

How would you describe your work?
I try to reflect my perspective and vital experiences through a variety of queer and kink imagery expressed in black illustration/graphic work that helps me to identify myself and, at the same time, the other person whom I am working with.

How did you come in contact with tattooing, how did you learn?
I was always intrigued by the craft and tattoo scene but it wasn’t until a few years back that I got into a non traditional apprenticeship in a studio. I have been extremely lucky since then as I never had a bad experience with customers nor fellow tattooers and everyone has appreciated my art as it is.

Where do you find inspiration for your tattoo art? What makes you happy/curious? Do you work with art in other ways than on skin?
As I was mentioning before I like to get my ideas (for tattooing as well as for illustrating) from the LGBTQIA+ community and my own experiences. Breaking the established rules of patriarchal and conservative tattoo scene is what keeps my ball rolling.

Talking about tattoo culture, What changes would you like to see? In what way can we as tattoo artists make a change?
It is crucial to be able to identify/relate with a public figure, to be seen and considered by society. I would like us tattooers to keep taking the craft to its inclusive, countercultural origins and keep helping non-conformist identities to express themselves. We need to create a solid network on media platforms not only to make information/imagery/aesthetics available but also to provide us with the opportunity of creating bonds in real life.

For info and bookings with Uve write directly to uverivera@gmail.com!
There will be a public conversation with Uve the Kid togeather with other tattoo artists at the Queer Art Fest Stockholm! Come and listen, but above all bring all your thoughts and queries! Moderator Samuel Girma. Welcome 12/5 at 14.00 hs, at Konsthall C (Cigarrvägen 14, Hökarängen)

Foto of queer tattoo artist Kai Knowfolly with sweet dog in lap.

Conversation with KAI KNOWFOLLY, guest tattooer at StaDemonia Tattoo Stockholm 8-9/5!

KAI SÖDERSTRÖM, they/them and she/her, lives and works in Portland Oregon but I like to travel for work as often as possible. 

How would you describe your work?
My work is illustrative-based, and I appreciate the clean linework and saturation of traditional so thats definitely an influence artistically, as well as retro colours and flow… but my take on placements, style, subject matter, etc… is all based in tuning into my clients personal energy, body, and desires while using my own creative perspective to intuitively manifest a mutual vision… often of healing or reclaiming our bodies. 

How did you come in contact with tattooing? How did you learn?
I have been drawing on friends and family with pens since I was a little kid, and in high school, eventually my skin drawings became popular and people would pay me real money! Lol, so I guess I consider that the true start of my learning how to work with skin/bodies. I started doing handpoke tattoos in college, and eventually dated someone who gave me my first intro into tattooing with machines. From there its been a process on building my art and teaching myself a lot, but I have been tattooing now full time for almost two years since I moved to Portland. I didn’t want to deal with a traditional apprenticeship, as I only had access to shops that were pretty shitty and white cis male dominated. As a survivor and Queer femme, I found my own way into tattooing without going through those ”gatekeepers”, who are profiting off of what is originally an Indigenous art anyways.  

Where do you find inspiration for your tattoo art? What makes you happy/curious? Do you work with art in other ways than on skin?
Lots of what I do tattooing (and visual art-wise) also focuses on body positivity. And my art of course is always my own take on life at the intersection of being a survivor, Queer/2Spirit, a white/white-passing Ojibwe Swedish Jew, with a focus on re-indigenization and ancestral healing. Tattooing was traditionally used medicinally in Ojibwe communities, and I am trying to reclaim it as a healing practice, so that is the main purpose in my work I would say, and definitely brings me great satisfaction and hope that I am evolving and learning and creating, while also honoring my ancestors and ancestral practices. I also get a lot of inspiration from florals and pattern work from these various parts of my family history. It is also really special continuing to learn and stay curious about the true history of the lands we come from and the people that have come before us. I also paint and draw, and do digital art and illustration, and make music. I honestly love all art forms and just being creative in any and all ways.  

Talking about tattoo culture, What changes would you like to see? In what way can we as tattoo artists make a change?

I would love to see more representation in all tattooing, especially when it comes to POC. There is so much gatekeeping and bullshit and white supremacy in how tattooing functions, for the most part, right now, and while its changing, its a slow burn. Queer tattooing has been changing a lot for the better, as a community I think we have shifted the economy of tattooing as a whole, definitely. Although I have realized within the Queer tattooing community, there is still white supremacist/patriarchal/colonized gate keeping going on. I think decolonizing the practice of tattooing, how we honor our client/artist relationships, hold space, and go about the process, as well as maintaining high standards of artistic excellency is really important. Remembering that rebelling against the tattoo patriarchy isn’t an excuse for shitty quality work, but an important route to communicate, educate, and make connections that are not possible with other mediums, and hopefully make positive changes in our communities and the world as a whole. I would also love to see more of an effort to start finding and using more eco-friendly ways to set up and stay sanitary, like hemp based plastic products, and natural products instead of petroleum jelly, etc… I could go on and on about ideas for that…

Kai Söderström Knowfolly will participate in a conversation with other queer tattooers about tattooing, art and how to create safe and lustful places at Queer Art Fest 11+12/5 at Konsthall C in Stockholm, as well as tattoong at the festival! The conversation is moderated by Samuel Girma and will be held at Konsthall C 12/5 at 14 hs, Cigarrvägen 14, Hökarängen.
For info and bookings with Kai write directly to knowfolly@gmail.com!
The event will be held as an open conversation, so come and listen but above all bring all your thoughts and queries! 

Queer Tattooer Mars Hobrecker in his studio Somewhere in New York. Mars is sitting relaxed with light from a window on his face.

Conversation with MARS HOBRECKER, visiting StaDemonia Tattoo and Trans Fest Stockholm 31/3!

MARS HOBRECKER, he/him, lives and works in Brooklyn New York

How did you come in contact with tattooing? How did you learn?
I’d always been interested in tattoos when I was younger, and when I started getting tattooed (at 18) it was an incredibly powerful experience. I’d mostly grown up without having a whole lot of say over how I presented myself, and getting tattooed was really the first time I felt I was really taking ownership over my body in a way that I couldn’t be forced to reverse. It was deeply personal, and I wanted to be able to offer that experience to other people. 

I never anticipated this become my full time job – when I started tattooing it had nothing to do with an interest in the industry, or any sort of respect for tradition. I just wanted my friends (who were mostly queer & not necessarily comfortable in a traditional shop environment) to be able to access that same feeling of having autonomy over their bodies, and started tattooing out of my bedroom.

My learning process has obviously been a much longer and more complicated story than just starting out of my house and evolving to owning a shop, but that’s the very highly condensed version of where my interest started! 

Where do you find inspiration for your tattoo art? What makes you happy/curious? Do you work with art in other ways than on skin?
My primary art practice & interest has always been performance based, and I think that still really comes through in the types of work I choose to tattoo. I almost exclusively tattoo images of people; I’m extremely interested in figures, and especially in the infinite ways people are able to touch & hold one another. Capturing that sort of interaction & bond between bodies is something that’s always been extremely compelling to me across all mediums.

For info and bookings with Mars write directly to contact@marshobrecker.com!
There will be a public conversation with Mars at the Trans Fest Stockholm Culture and Community Festival! The event will be held as an open conversation, so come and listen but above all bring all your thoughts and queries! Moderator Tom O´ Tottenham. Welcome 31/3 at 14.00 hs, at CCAP/C.OFF (Körsbärsvägen 9)