Levi Netto (NL), tattoo artist, Antwerp


“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.


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?


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.


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.”


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