What can we all learn from Charles Huurman and his inspirational story?

Watch this full video interview with Charly Utopian Tattoo Tribe Valencia/Kilkenny to learn about his tough beginning, big fall and beautiful way back to the top.

Interview with Charles Hurmann:

Inspirational story about becoming a successful tattoo artist – video interview stript.

‚’I was very lucky to get to start a business being so young because by the age I was 21 I had a mortgage, I had car loans, I had a business loan with workers, in a completely different industry.

So I was really lucky, that all that collapsed and I lost everything because that made me realize, that for me all those things, you know like, success that society told me, were not really important. They just made me really really stressed.

So losing everything in that case, made me open my mind.
Because I was, I still am naive with many things, but back then I was much more naive.
Like many people are really bright and know from the start this is what I want to do, this is what I like, I don’t take this bullshit.

Maybe I wasn’t so bright… but I actually needed to create my business, to get loans and all the crazy story that everyone has and loose it all to get a fresh start.

And that fresh start was the best thing that happened to me.
Because I realized, that I really wanted to do something I liked. Not thinking, about how important it is in society. Like basically all the crap we sometimes get, that you have to be successful, own a car, own a house, all sort of this things made me realize I want to do something I like and that I have passion and that I am not doing it because I am thinking of money, money, money.
You know, so that’s what got me into tattooing.

The only thing I realized I liked, was always drawing, charcoals.

With my father, he does oil paintings and he also sold many.
He wast able to live of it but I still enjoyed all the time that I was with him, you know like, I was drawing, he was painting.

So I though that this is the only thing I have ever done just for fun, so could I make it a living?

The second I realized I wanted to enjoy what I did for a living, then I found out about tattooing

So for me it was magical, you know, to find something that the better you get at it, because you like it, the more it rewards you. In the professional way and in the personal way.
For me it was mind blowing

All the people are brighter and they don’t need to loose everything before realizing but it was not my case.

People often asked me how did you learn so many things so fast.
I still think I have a lot to learn. That’s the first think I would say… I would say is the need I found since I started to get better.
Initially it was very difficult for me to make a living out of it and I really needed to.
So the need gave me a good start and a real motivation, then from there on it was just an appreciation, the ambition of wanting to do what other artists do.

When I started it was the time when Buena Vista were creating realistic trash, something new. Dotwork started appearing. Like the whole lot of new things in the industry, that now are really common.
I just have this need to know and to learn so that kept me moving from studio to studio.
Not staying for more than 6 months in the same studio and in the same city.

The most important key is to learn from everyone, like I still find when I am doing guest spots that I can learn even from the apprentice. Learn from everyone, go to any artist, ask questions and most artists are really happy to give answers, because they know if you give answer they can share the knowledge.
Don’t be shy, don’t think you know too much to not to ask questions. That’s the best way.

You see many artists that will be working with you and they are not interested in how you are working and you are working completely different…

Traveling, working in different environments and meeting different artists.
Even if I am good in the studio and I have plenty of work, I still do regular guest spots.

I realized that for me is so important to keep meeting other artists. All the learning for me was about asking them, see how do they work and just getting influenced by them.

Different personalities, different ways of thinking and all of them are good.

The way I like to call it is abstract reality.
I love the feeling of rigidness of the rules. There is many rules when I am doing something realistic, like the eye has to be exactly the same proportions, the nose has to have exactly the same lighting.
But I really love the feeling when I have done that and the big contrast of the freedom of the abstract.

The abstract has kind of, no rules.
I can start tattooing and I have a kind of basic idea of where I want to go. But from there on, it is free.
So for me it has always been like mind blowing, the jump from one to another and putting those two things together, abstract reality.

I don’t know the best name for it definitely avant garde now they were saying, avant garde it’s a cool name…

Because you can get many different ideas into the same image. If you have something that is a half face mixed with background and mixed with something else.
That just gives so much meaning, that’s what clients are looking for.
Especially, what I like about all the splashes and all the stains in tattooing… It just feels like the energy, like when I see a stain, I actually see the movement.
You can see the stain falling and creating a splash and creating an effect but all that is movement. It is not still, it’s like an explosion caught in that moment.

So that’s for me what is so beautiful about an ink stain.
It is like stopping time for that explosion. It’s the moment when the ink hits the paper, it just gets stopped there. The movement stops there and you can actually see how hard it hit, how fast it hit. Just like the energy, like watercolor, like one color mixing with other color.
Thats basically so much to play with.
It is so free when you put it beside something that is so rigid as realism, it is like opposites put together and that’s what I really like about abstract reality, surrealism and all this things.

I wouldn’t know if for every tattoo artist it will be important to explore other mediums but for me it is. It has definitely such a big influence, it has really changed my techniques.

When I started tattooing I had all sorts of rules, like the orders of colors, I had to follow a structured order of colors.
First had to be the lines and the blacks, then the dark colors … all that, for me with painting and drawing it really changed. So for me it is really important.

The more I paint, the more I tattoo like I paint, or I draw.
I actually in the exact same ways when I am doing a tattoo that resembles watercolor, I am actually not following the tattooing rules, I am just following how you would paint a watercolor which is for example the opposite like when you are tattooing.
You normally learn, that the first is the dark and then the clear, so you don’t mess up the clear colors.
But with the watercolor you first put the really clear colors and then, the dark so they blend in.
So that’s how I would tattoo it, how you paint a watercolor.

The more I paint the more I tattoo like I paint and the more I tattoo, the more I paint like I tattoo.
It is really, really combined.
And I can really notice when I spend a period practicing how to do portraits on a charcoal or whatever other medium, just practicing I go to tattooing and I see so much more colors and shadings, I didn’t see before.
That intense period of practicing, for example doing faces and I can really notice the change, like it opens your mind.

So in my case they go together. I really wish I had more time for painting.

I really enjoy color work.
It is what I go for most of the time.
Clients are still very reluctant to color realism in particular.
I think it is because they haven’t seen much color realism being done. It is not very usual and people just go for what they are custom to. And also because they are afraid.
I really understand the difference between something being really colorful, which for me in other words, technically means having a lot of different color ranges together. For example greens. reds blues, yellows, purples, all different. But I also understand how to make something that is color and that’s not colorful.
I explain that a little bit better. For me when something is color, not colorful means more like, in the real live. Sometimes things are not full or colors but they are not black and grey. The word would be muted colors, they are toned down, they are not vibrant.

For me it is a much bigger range of possibility with color, than with black and grey. Because its black and grey or many colors so I feel more free to do more things. Also, when I use color, when I look at the color portrait, for me it feels so much more realistic than a black and grey portrait.
Why? Because reality is color, like we don’t see in black and grey. So for me, it makes more sense that color looks more realistic.
In many many cases black and grey is the best option, so I am not to rigid about it. In many cases I am the one who says ‚’ok that should be black and grey’’. Because many times I feel that it is better to do something in black and grey. Even tho I love color but sometimes I find a intermediate which is just doing black and grey with some kind of color at the end. In my case, I love turquoises so that I really like. ‚’

If this story inspired you to get tattooed by Charles , you can follow him on his social media and contact his studio for appointments.

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  • Ramesh

    Hi Chary,
    I follow your tattoos on FB . I’m really impress with your artistic work of tattoo.
    I only have 1 tattoo in my right arm .
    I’m planning to tattoo a Big Ganesha by you on my back , I’m preparing the colours combination on the pictures . Hope to see in Asia one day to be tattooed by you .
    Thana .

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