“I started tattooing in 2014 after moving to Berlin. Before that, I was going to teach art at high school, but honestly, I felt sick to my stomach every time I used to think about it – it just wasn’t what i wanted to do. So, I came to Berlin and I worked it out.
I’m originally from Shepparton, a country town in rural Victoria, but I consider myself a Melbournite.
I was a freelance artist for ten years in Melbourne, but it got to the point where it literally wasn’t feasible anymore. It was like ‘I don’t know how I’m gonna pay rent this month’, so I thought, I guess I’ll be a teacher. But I moved over to Europe instead.
Melbournites almost see Berlin as a right of passage – if you’re creative or musical, you can come here and not have to break your back like you would in London or NY.
Tattooing is an amazing job because it doesn’t feel like a job. I literally have to draw to get work and I love drawing. It’s so nice because it’s this constant push to be creative. It’s so nice.
I believe in routine. When i moved here, I felt like I didn’t have that – I found myself partying on a Tuesday and sleeping on a Friday. That’s really different to Melbourne.
My eating habits changed drastically too. In Melbourne, I didn’t eat much meat, but as soon as I arrived, I became vegetarian. I felt a push because the quality of meat definitely differs over here. I’m sure some of it is way better, but for me, I really feel like the quality of produce in Australia is amazing and that’s something I didn’t obviously consider until moving away.
I’m still learning and growing at a tattoo artist – I’m not at the top of my game be any means, but I’m getting there. It’s a real compliment when someone requests some of my existing designs.
I prefer to stick to my own visions when tattooing because it’s my art. I did something food related just once – ne time a girl asked me for a Maltese dog in a knitted burrito and i was like… wow, okay! I mean, a maltese dog isn’t easy because it’s basically just a nose and eyes. So maybe it should be a french bulldog. Then we added some hands so it looked like actual knitting.
Wearing tattoos is such a form of self expression that you can’t get away with in every job. It’s why I like chef’s – they’re like the rockstars of hospitality and can cover themselves in tattoos. I warm to chefs because they’re passionate. It’s crazy that food can be so stressful – it’s like this holy thing that everyone needs.
I don’t cook enough. I can make two things – a red lentil soup and a thai curry, but that’s enough to impress people. I cooked for my family when I was in high school but for a while it just became a bit of a chore for me, so I stopped. I can cook I just don’t like cooking. I order a lot of pizza instead! I’m starting to come around to the idea of cooking and hosting dinner parties more and more though.
If I could cook for three people it would be Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Surandon. Because I’m a big fan of the Witches of Eastwick – I just did this drawing of them. In that film, they embody the most beautiful, strong amazing women.
My Berlin chapter is nearly over for now – myself and my good friend Juli are going to road trip from Florida to Oregon in August and then, I’m heading back to Australia.
It will be weird to see what’s still there and what’s changed in Melbourne… there’s this place called Mamasita’s, god I love it. It’s one of these amazing fresh mexican places that Melbourne’s really good at. They’re sick. God, I miss eating in Australia! But at least the pizza’s good here too.”
Follow Jen Von Klitzing @jen_vonklitzing
Photography by Antonia Meissner