Expat Entrepreneurs: Julie Obviously, Expat Tattoo Artist In Brno  

Julie Obviously is a French tattoo artist based in Brno for a few years now. She spoke to Brno Daily and told us a little about her life and what it’s like to work in this industry as a foreigner, as well as giving a message for people interested in the world of tattoos. 

BD: How did you get involved with the world of tattoos?

At 19, I got tattooed for the first time, one of my designs, and the outcome was a disaster. Convinced I could do better than what this artist did to me, I started to draw intensively and to look for an apprenticeship. After a couple of years, I landed a job as a body piercer in the south of France and worked at big tattoo conventions, which allowed me to extend my artistic network. This journey ultimately brought me to the Czech Republic, where I really began to tattoo.

BD: Do you have tattoos, and if so which are your favourites?

Yes, I have tattoos. Some I did myself for practice, but most were done by several different artists from different countries. I’m not a loyal customer, I like to change artists for each of my tattoos, to have a unique work of art signed by a different hand each time.

I like almost all of them equally but my favourites would have to be a portrait of a woman on my arm by Lolie Kiwi, a French artist. It’s a tattoo that helped me through a grieving process. My second would be a composition from the film “Leon the Professional”, on my hip, by my colleague Bratr Vira. There’s a crazy story behind this tattoo, probably too long to talk about here!

Bratr Vira, the studio where Julie works. Photo: Julie Obviously

BD: Do you get personally involved with your work? Have you ever refused to do a job or got particularly excited about a design?

It often happens that tattoo sessions turn into “therapy” sessions. People who come to get tattooed are in a vulnerable physical state because they are entrusting their bodies to a stranger, the tattoo artist. This often leads to very personal conversations and exchanges between us, resulting in emotional involvement and friendships with some of my clients.

“I never ask about the meaning of a tattoo. The purpose can be very personal for the client.”

Julie Obviously

However, I never ask about the meaning of a tattoo, for example. The purpose can be very personal for the client, so if they want to talk about it, they can, but I leave the choice up to them because it is none of my business if I may say.

I have never refused so far a tattoo because the design was problematic, only if the drawing or placement was technically impossible. And if I have been particularly excited about a project, yes, that often happens. Especially if it’s in my style, or if it’s a completely crazy concept, or a technique I haven’t tried yet that challenges me.

BD: Do you consider yourself an artist?

It took me a long time before being able to say it out loud. My family and friends have always considered me as such, but sometimes, it feels a bit pompous and presumptuous to present myself as an artist, and other times, I am very proud of it. I suppose it depends on my emotional state and the doubts of the moment, as writers sometimes experience writer’s block, it obviously affects how we perceive ourselves as “artists” at that moment.

BD: Are there any artists that inspire you?

I love a lot of artists, whether they’re from pop culture, tattoo artists, or painters. But I don’t have ONE master who inspires me more than another. It depends on the direction my work is taking at that moment. I am more inspired by styles or eras than by specific artists per se.

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