Interview with Ian Wahnschaffe, professional tattoo artist

Ian Wahnschaffe

Good afternoon Tatuajesxd visitors,I’d been planning this section for a few months, that of Interviews with tattoo artist X, in which we carry out “mini-interviews” with professional tattoo artists from around the world.

We ask them to share a little bit of their experience and also clarify some questions that can come up. If you have already had a tattoo, you’ll know tattoo artists are the most interesting people you can talk to about this stuff. They know it all, they show a great attitude and what could be better than to talk to somebody while you are having a needle pricking you all over.

Today, and in order to launch this section, the kick-off interview goes with Ian Wahnschaffe, professional tattoo artist that currently lives in Buenos Aires city and that has works in different tattoo studios in different countries. I strongly recommend you to follow him on his Facebook account, and well, let’s get started!

When did you start tattooing? Can you tell u the story of how everything started?

Well, going back to the beginning, I should stay eternally grateful to my grandpa who fostered painting and drawing in me. He was a great draftsman and I had always been in contact with pencil and paper as far back as I can remember, thanks to him.

As regards tattooing, it happened many years after studying graphic design and working in advertising. I got tired of that working environment and thanks to a friend of mine that was a piercer in Power Machine Studio (the place where I started out). I had the chance to get into this incredible world that is tattooing.

Having Jorge Payeras, Alex Martinez (La Santa Ink- Spain), Esteban Félix (Ink Attack- Bahía Blanca) Colo Barada, and many other mentors, I started to go into different styles.

Nowadays it’s been five years since I started tattooing and I’ve had the possibility to travel a lot with my art, and go around and share months of work with great artists from different places in the world.

Tatuador desde pequeño

Ian Wahnschaffe early years (just kidding!).

There are a lot of youngsters wanting to become professional tattoo artists, what piece of advice would you give them?

Well, I’d tell them to get in to a decent studio, observe a lot, open up your minds, widen your horizons, ask without hesitation all the questions you have, and above all apply self- feedback. You must know your own limits but at the same time be able to take risks for your passion.

As a complement to that, you should always visit museums, see watch paintings, sculptures, films, photography and anything related to visuals and expression.

Every artist has their own style which is developed with time, so how would you describe your own style?

I actually draw a lot when I was a teenager, so nowadays I feel a great influence from that school, but at the same time I see it pretty differently in tattooing.

What I like the most is tattooing Japanese, traditional and neo-traditional style.

I’m always on the lookout, the artist has to be always refining and re-defining his style and that is what is nice about art.

Nowadays, I consider that every tattoo I do helps me learn and advance in my career even more.


Ian Wahnschaffe tatuajes

So, when you were young, did your parents approve of your tattoos? Tell us the story of when your parents learnt about your first tattoo.

I’m still young, ha ha ha, but now that you’re asking, my mom has always liked them. She is a decorator and loves painting. She gives classes and her own workshop. She loves my tattoos and she’s about to get one.

As for my father, at the beginning we had several disagreements, but that was due to the distance each other lived from the other. One year we had the chance to share time together and I was able to get him immersed into this beautiful universe that is tattooing, which is at the same time so artisanal, artistic and unique. So not only did he end up accepting that, but also I tattooed his arm with a good-sized tattoo.

There are no limits to Art!!

I’ve seen a lot of your sketches and I really like them. Tell us, what inspires you as an artist?

I find inspiration in many things, from emotional states, to relating with other artists. As regards tattoo, not only am I inspired by the designs, but also the idea of making it fit in the skin. Looking for the design to harmonize and match the body’s anatomy. That is, for me, a vital factor at the time of planning out big-sized projects!

Diseñando tatuajes


Trabajo Ian Wahnschaffe

 Ian Wahnschaffe(C) 2009

Is there any tattoo artist you look up to?

I feel great admiration for Filip Leu, Lars Uwe, Pablo Barada, Alex Martinez (great friend and mentor), El Bara, Shige, Hide Ichibay and many other great artists!

A message for the people that say “Your tattoos will look terrible on you when you get old”

They always ask me “Won’t you get bored of looking at yourself and seeing your body full of tattoos?”

I truly believe I would get bored of seeing my skin so bland and white without any tattoos in my life, hahahaha!  

Without a doubt my tattoos will crumple as my skin wrinkles and the colors will become more opaque, but I think they will look even better than today!!

And just to wrap it up, could you recommend us a song?

Ok, so that we finish this really on the upbeat, there’s no better than THE ART OF SHREDDING!

Ok, and finally, I would like to thank you Ian Wahnschaffe for your time and wish you a good trip to Spain, as it has been posted on your Facebook that you will be going back to work at La Sala Ink in Cantabria, España. If you have the opportunity, don’t hesitate to follow him on Facebook.

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