Levi Netto (NL), tattoo artist, Antwerp

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“Under the Christmas tree. That is where my very first tattoo set was waiting for me. I studied Illustration at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and I was interested in becoming a tattoo artist. I practiced a lot: on pig skin, fruits or my friends who were brave enough.  And obviously I practiced on my own body. It was enormous job, because actually I have a needle phobia. I tend to faint in the doctor’s or dentist’s office.  It was a huge thing to tattoo myself. But obviously it helps me everyday now: I understand what some people go through when they come here to get tattooed.

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My work can be described as naïve and traditional. Humour is very important. Even more important than aesthetics. I use bold lines, high contrasts. I also like the traditional way of working: one enters a tattooshop and chooses a design from the wall. I don’t think a tattoo needs a symbolic meaning; it can be just decoration, no?

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One of my clients is around 60 year old. Whenever he has saved 100 euro, he comes in and asks me: ‘Levi, what can we do today?’. I love to work like that.

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I’ll never tattoo a face or hands when the clients has no other tattoos yet. I follow the traditional tattoo code. Tattoo-shops have become much more accessible than before. It’s easier to get tattooed, but maybe people decide too soon nowadays and later regret it? I want my clients to be very very sure.”

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Levi tattoos at Glorybound in Antwerpen and at Rubicon in Hasselt.

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