Local dealer in tattoos: Lina Stigsson

Local dealer in tattoos: Lina Stigsson

Dec 10, 2010 |  by  |  Art, Spots
About the author
Hi! My name is Faye and I will be your guide through Amsterdam for the day! Enjoys randomness chat, good banter and will help you find the best dealers in fun, food and adventure.

Your local dealer to help you get your ‘fix’ in Amsterdam. From the best tattoo artist to finding the perfect ‘birthday’ cake.

From the ‘this love is eternal; I need your name on my body’ tattoo till the spur of the moment drunk tattoo.. Some of you have them, some of you want them and some of you cannot stand them. Many people have their bodies engraved with ink for numerous of reasons. Personally I never understood hype tattoos such as the tribal generation, but I can admire a well contemplated one. So where in Amsterdam do you go for a decent tag? Read on to find out!

this love is eternal; I need your name on my body

Not too long ago, a friend of mine proudly demonstrated me his newly inked arm. The result was a dreamy eyed girl staring back up at me with a cap made of a wolf’s head. Enthusiastically, he started telling me about the artist who made the designs and where I could find her:

Meet Lina Stigsson, not your average tattoo artist. She is responsible for my friend’s piece of art. Originally from Sweden, she went travelling the world with a friend at the age of 19 and got stuck in Amsterdam along the way. Now, 13 years later, she considers Amsterdam her home town and works at the Rob Admiraal studio in the Marnixstraat. This lady has created quite a reputation for herself and has a 365 day (!) waiting list, so you’ll have enough time to chew on ideas before Stigsson will get her hands on you.

From a brush to a needle

After waiting tables in London and Amsterdam for a year, Lina got into the Rietveld Academy (a well known art school in Amsterdam) where she studied art for 4 years.

So from fine arts to inking people. What happened there?
Well, at Rietveld I discovered that fine art was not my thing. To sit in a studio alone, with a blank canvas and no one talking back to you, is very lonely and hard. To do fine arts you have to be the critical person in society and talk about your own work a lot. I prefer to receive an assignment and interact with the customer. The customer’s input is very interesting, it makes me do things I would not normally do. It gives your designs that extra ‘push’.

How did you create your tattoo style?
I think when you do something for many years you automatically create a style. It just happens, I never picked a style. One day people just started pointing out to me “Hey, Lina that’s your style”. It’s something that just evolved over the years. I guess in the tattoo world my style is described as old school/western traditional. In general, if you look at my paintings and all the works I do, I like it to be a little bit vintage looking from the ’20s, ’30s or ’40s. It has a bit of a nostalgic and romantic atmosphere.

Lina discovered her talents at a young age and was influenced by her mother who is a hobby painter. Next to tattooing Lina paints and illustrates.

Most of the time it’s important to pick a tattoo that feels personal, but in the end it’s more important to pick the right person to do the tattoo.

Tattoo revelations and ethics

Where do you derive your creativity and inspiration from?
Things influence me all the time. Next to Rob (Rob Admiraal), ‘Tattoo Peter’ was also a big influence on my tattoo style. I worked at Tattoo Peter’s shop for two years. It’s the oldest tattoo shop in the Netherlands and covered with all these old tattoo designs from the ’50s and ’70s. I loved working at Tattoo Peter’s, but working in a studio is easier. You don’t have opening hours, but work on appointment. I like to go travelling for two months at a time and in this way I make my own hours and I am more my own boss.

You have a waiting list of a year. Why do you think people want a piece of your art on their body?
Well, here at the studio we take our time to talk to the customer and listen to their ideas. I meet with them 6 months in advance to discuss the design. In a street shop it’s less personal: you talk to the floor manager then go to the back of the shop and get tattooed by a person you have never met before. Here, I have the ability to develop and customize every tattoo. They like my style because it is clean and simple. Rob always says that we try to “escape the taste matter of the moment”. It is important to create a timeless look and execute a tattoo in such a way that in twenty years time it will still look good. I think the customers that come here appreciate this work ethic.

Tattoo leisure

What do you do in your free time?
Drawing, painting and animals! I am a vegan and crazy about animals, and when I am old I want to start my own animal rescue centre.

What does Amsterdam mean to you?
I love Amsterdam. It has become a home. I come from the countryside in Sweden and I became who I am in Amsterdam, city-wise. If I would move to Stockholm now I would feel like a foreigner, even though I am in my own country.  Amsterdam is so small, but it still has a bit of a big city feeling. You can go to the same bar every night, but you will never meet the same people. In Sweden it’s different. If you go to a place or bar you immediately are part of a certain scene and everyone recognizes you. In Amsterdam that’s not the case and it’s the cutest place I have every seen, it’s so pretty. All the little crooked houses, it looks like Santa Claus city. And the light in the evening is very nice, it’s different in every country. I just like the vibe.

What are Lina’s hang outs?
I like to eat at the Bolhoed. It’s the only real vegan/vegetarian place in the Dam. It’s located on the Prinsengracht and very cute. For a drink I like to go to the Soundgarden at the end of the street. They play rock music and have the best terrace in Amsterdam during the summer. Sometimes I like to go to the kinderboederij (petting zoo). In my opinion the best one is on Prinseneiland. It’s very pretty. You can sit there have an ice cream and be surrounded by pigs and ducks.

Do you have any advice for people with a craving to become a tattoo artist?
Anything is possible. It’s very hard to become any kind of artist in general. The other day someone asked Rob if it was hard to become a tattoo artist. He said if you go to art school you have one teacher and 30 students, but if you want to be a tattoo artist it’s harder, because there is only one master and one apprentice. But stick to it and be patient and if you are at the wrong spot go find something that suits you better. I have been holding a pen since I was a kid. So study art, look at references, work hard, be dedicated and observe everything.

Would you like to see more of Lina and her art? Then go meet her at the “Flash & Blood” exposition from the 10th utill the 12th of December. This is a group show of Dutch and international masters of art and tattoos.

Photos courtesy of Miss Andrea Huls

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