Tattoo Artist Interview: Emre Cebeci

2 November 2011

Emre Cebeciweb 150x150 Tattoo Artist Interview: Emre CebeciEmre Cebeci, article and photogallery on Tattoo.1 Tribal #64

1 How long have you been doing this work?
I’ve been doing this work for 18 years. I started at 17.

2 Who taught you?
Well, for one year I did all tattoos by myself manually (with needle and thread).  In 1995 I met Carlsten Kazim Salahor, who asked me if I would work in his tattoo studio. The studio was named “TattooJitsu”, which was among the very first tattoo studios in Turkey. Kazim introduced me to the tattoo machine and thus encouraged me to use it. I remember his words: “If you want to learn you should tattoo…”.

3 Are there tattoo artists that you consider your teachers or reference points?
Since tattooing wasn’t spread out in Turkey in those days at all, there weren’t any tattoo artists I could possibly consider as teachers or landmarks. But the immediate artists, who most encouraged and influenced me in my very early years were my parents.
My father is a painter Selim Cebeci and my mother Zerrin is an illustrator. Tubes of oil paints, turpentine smell, gouache paint, photography, art movies and music surrounded me since the very beginning of my existence. My parents were constantly producing art or and discussing art with friends at our home, which is today my studio.

4 What inspires your art?
I studied Illumination-Miniature and Calligraphy Design at the Mimar Sinan Art Institute in Istanbul. During my education I started to see many similarities between tattooing and traditional crafts, such as calligraphy and miniature (*). Both, calligraphy and miniature had grown my vision. The traditional arts discipline, the power of fiction, the craft aspect and the mythological and cultural mysterious side connected with tattooing and influenced my techniques in particular for lettering tattoo and painting.
[ * Ottoman art (or Turkish art) has a long tradition of illuminated miniature illustrations and calligraphy, fine arts which survived longer here than in Europe. The Ottoman artists wanted to hint at a transcendent reality with their paintings so they stylized and abstracted every subject they depicted – NdR.]

5 How much does the person who asks for the tattoo influence your creation?
We are speaking about every detail before we make any decision. When it comes to present the project, I can perfectly answer their expectation.

6 What was the first tattoo you created?
And what was the first that you got on your own skin?
I made a “yin yang” on my upper left arm, continued the very next day, with the word “dimensions” around it and the following day I circled all with flames and made it look like the sun. It was the logo of the very first rock band I was playing in.

7 What are you working on now?
During the time remaining from illustrative projects and my family I am mainly engaged in making music and keeping a healthy life.


8 What is your philosophy?
It isn’t important what you do, but how you do it.

Go to Emre Cebeci tattoo photo gallery

Emre Cebeci – Cebecizade
Istanbul (Turkey)