Tattoo artist interview with Pengi

6 March 2015

10176058 596142793824141 7227256373658845809 n 150x150 Tattoo artist interview with PengiPengi, article and photo gallery in Tattoo.1 Tribal #82

How long have you been doing this job?
I had my first experiences (or rather “adventures”) two and a half years ago but it’s all become more serious and professional over the last 18 months with the help of some really good teachers. It’s still a learning process for me and I’m sure it always will be.

How did your passion for tattoos first start?
In my youth I did some graffiti (more bad than good). I grew up in a really small town and so there were not many of us doing stuff like this. One guy was like a phantom for us kids because he’d already done graffiti in our town many years before. I went with a friend of mine to look for him and we found him working as a tattooer in a city 120km away from our home-town. That was almost 14 years ago (I was 14 years old at the time) and what he did made a great impression on me. For that reason I want to send out thanks and greetings to Snueden from Monkey Business.

How did you learn to tattoo?
First I tried at home on my friends but I soon realised that wasn’t the right way to learn. I’m happy that most of my friends from those days still are my friends.
Looking for a studio that was interested in me and my vision of tattooing wasn’t easy at all especially in a historical tattoo city like Hamburg where most of the people are focused on traditional tattoos.
After finding my first job the hard times began. Watching, cleaning and two jobs at the same time because you don´t earn as an apprentice in a tattoo shop. The people in the studio were really nice but after a while I started looking around again for something else because I didn’t share their kind of view of tattooing.
I started working and learning at one of the best shops in Hamburg and I stayed there for a year and a half. I met a lot of great people and tattooers from all over the world – it really was a good place to learn.
Today I’m still learning but I needed my own space to continue with my way of tattooing.

What was the first tattoo you created?
It’s best not to think about this one….. But the first tattoo I did on myself was a plum.

Can you briefly describe your technique and your style?
I would describe it as a kind of children’s book illustration. But if a client asks me this question I always answer just that my style is simply “Pengi”.

How important is the design on paper and how different is it on skin?
It’s the hard truth that drawing the design on paper and tattooing the design on skin are two completely different things. It takes a long time to learn what’s possible on skin and even if something looks good on paper it doesn’t mean that it will work as a tattoo. So when I draw my design I always think about how it will look on skin and if it will work. I always finish my designs by colouring them. It helps me for what I have to do on the skin even if it’s a different story when working with a tattoo machine.

How much does the person asking for the tattoo influence your creation?
Sometimes they ask but mostly I have no concrete answer to give because everything is happening in my head.

What inspires your art?
People, music, movies, art, love and of course good food.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on the idea of my own street shop in Hamburg.

When does a tattooist become an Artist?
That’s a hard question to answer because I think there are many different views of tattooing and thousands of great tattooists all over the world.
A solid and technically clean traditional tattoo is for me really mind-blowing and I love it. But in the same way I love tattoos with designs like you’ve never seen before. You’ll find one of these amongst a million tattoos.
In the end the main thing should be that the client gets a unique and good tattoo.

What is your philosophy?
Respect each other and believe in what you want.


Pengi Tattoo
Hamburg (Germany)
www.pengitattoo.com