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Whenever I do the artist profile here on Tattoo Blog, I come away with knowledge about a new tattoo artist that I previously had no knowledge of. That’s a great thing, as I love seeing new work and learning about new artists. Every once in a while though, I come across an artist whose work knocks me so heavily on my ass that all I can do is repeatedly wish (to no avail) that I could travel to whatever city or country it is that this masterful artist tattoos from and immediately if not sooner, get tattooed by them. It sucks to want something that you can’t have any time soon, but in the end I guess it’s the price one has to pay for learning about beautiful things.
In case you haven’t guessed, this week it’s the work of Lea Nahon that has made me want to drop everything and catch the next flight across the Atlantic to Belgium. Or is it France? Or England? It’s actually quite hard to tell with Lea, because apparently she splits her time between three different tattoo studios in three different countries: La Boucherie Moderne in Brussels, Art Corpus in Paris and Brighton’s Nine studio. It’s hardly surprising that Lea would be in such demand, given the originality and quality of her tattoos.
Working primarily in black and grey, Nahon has developed a style that’s reminiscent of comic books, retaining the simple fluidity of pencil sketches. I don’t like to use the word simple in this context, however because Nahon’s work is anything but simple. A more accurate description would be that Nahon maintains a deceptively simple manner of creating tattoos that I for one, can’t take my eyes off of. They are beautiful works of art in every imaginable way, each one playing up a different angle or a different take on something that would otherwise be perceived very straight forward by a lesser artist. Even her portraits aren’t quite portraits in the traditional sense and that in itself makes them so much more intriguing.
It’s also little wonder that Nahon comes up with such a creative and original spin on tattooing, given the life that she’s lead and the places that her life has taken her.
‘“I was born in Paris and it was there that I grew up. As a child, I was really interested in the circus and enrolled in circus school where I studied for five or six years, during which time I learnt how to walk the tight rope and perform equestrian stunts. I loved my time there and there was no question in my mind that I would mould a career for myself in the circus. Unfortunately circus school is expensive and my parents eventually decided that it would be better for me to study a more conventional prospectus, so I was sent to regular school where I stayed until the age of fifteen at which time I went to art school.
After graduating from art school, I embarked on a movie-making course at university. That didn’t go too well as the students decided to boycott the university in the hope of gaining better facilities, so we just stood there for two months, campaigning. I then went on to study musical theatre, eventually hoping to become a dance teacher.”’
I myself am a firm believer in diversity in an artist’s life greatly affecting their work. It’s an unconscious effect, but one that exists none the less. Still, work like Lea Nahon’s isn’t solely the result of a diverse background. Without a doubt, there’s plenty of talent involved. All I can hope is that one day soon I’m fortunate enough to have some of that diversity and talent tattooed on to my own skin.
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