Tell us your Name and where is your Studio?
My name is Cedric, nickname Cee. I have a cosy studio in a little town in Belgium. Cee’s pendulum swing tattoo. It’s located in Maldegem, between Bruges and Ghent.
The studio is located where my living room used to be so that means I’m always feeling at home in the studio and there’s no traffic.
Are you working as a Guest Artist? What do you do for a living?
I used to work at a recycling company where I was driving a crane and a bulldozer. But while I was at work I was always thinking about getting home after my hours and finish a painting, a drawing or a song. I wrote lyrics while driving the bulldozer. But I quit this job in 2021 and now I only work in the studio.
Also, I’m not guesting at the moment but I would love to travel and meet other artists! Not only in Belgium but everywhere.
How would you describe what you do?
I’m still learning a lot and I am just at the start of this journey so I feel like I’m still searching to find my own style. And it would be awesome to develop my own unique style. People see my work and they say I have my own thing going but I don’t see it yet. I guess I’m not where I want to be now. But it’s a prosess.. Maybe it always will be a process.
But now I love to do realism and fineline tattoo’s.
When did you know you wanted to become a tattoo artist?
Not that long ago at the first lockdown when covid19 was still fresh. A little two years ago I started painting longboards. A friend of mine crafted them and I added the print and the epoxy coating. At that time I rebuild my basement to a studio and that’s where I had my first try on realism.
The first try on reaIism I painted was a mandril monkey (see photo).
I guess by seeing what I could do and also by having a lot of tattoo’s sparkled a thought that would later become to evolve in being a tattoo artist.
How did you get started?
I started with synthethic skin. But the ink would spread out while trying to clean it and it got real messy real fast. After trying on 2 or 3 of those I crossed the street to the butcher shop where a week later I got a plastic bin with pig skins.
Put those in the freezer and and every day I took one out and tried lining, also tried some realism and it was going pretty well. So I almost immediately started a little unicorn tattoo at my girlfriends back.
What does your work entail?
I’m just doing what I love and I’m really gratefull for all the people who trust me and choose me to tattoo them.
I don’t see it as work either. It’s a hobby where people pay me for and it still feels weird to ask money for it also.
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What do you feel was one of your biggest struggles?
I learned everything on my own.
A lot of watching youtube video’s or online courses. So I struggled a lot and I’m still learning.
My biggest struggle will be that I have no mentor. Someone I can look up to and learn from.
Without a mentor I’m still facing the some problems or get used to some problems and think they are normal.
I think the tattoo industry nowadays is way to crowded and a lot of shops take advantage of this. The price for an apprentisship is absurd here. And not possible if you have a loan on a house and not live at home with your parents anymore. So that’s why I started on my own.
What do you like about what you do?
I love that it brings me places and opportunities
that would otherwise never cross my path.
I was a tattoo artist at tommorowland this year and other festivals which I really love.
I’m starting a collab with a very skilled drawer of metal album covers.
I display and sell taxidermy/stuffed animals of very skilled artists in the studio. I designed hoodies for the tattoo studio with custom prints.
I also really love the logo that was made for my shop.
The logo also brings opportunities.
I love to see my logo on a ring that will be finished pretty soon. I see my logo on bussiness cards, flyers, posters. And I’m always really excited to see what the result or print will be like.
What I also like is the possibility to have a job that is in the spare time of people so they are always here because they want to and were looking forward to it.
I love that I don’t have any complaints from a boss. No boss to always have something bad to say. If I complain against myself it’s probably because I deserve it.
What do you dislike?
Some people are not to friendly at all.
Some people think they can choose the price. Or choose the date. They want to come sooner or pay less.
My shop is open on appointment only. One time a guy was ringing my bell from way early in the morning when it was still dark out. Every 2 hours my bell rang. At 11am I opened my door.
There stands a guy who wanted to discuss a new tattoo. He denied he rang my bell earlier and I invite him in. He was a guy with a lot of tattoo’s. And he wanted to make a sleeve with all the tattoo’s on his arm. So, fill in the blanks. He had no idea what he wanted. And we discussed a style and searched for examples but then he didn’t like it and we searched for other examples, etcetera.. The talk and drawing some stuff up was going on for about 1 hour. We also discussed two tattoo’s his wife wanted. And when everything was discussed we set up an appointment and I asked for a deposit and clearly state that he gets his deposit back on the last session of the tattoo..
At that moment he gets really furious and storms out the door. He rings the bell 5minutes later to ask if his apointement is cancelled because he was sure he was getting ripped off..
I was shocked.
Later he called to make sure it was cancelled, he mailed, he messaged me on facebook to be sure it was cancelled and his wife also send me a message on messenger. When I asked what spooked them they said that ‘It is easy money asking for a deposit’.
So, that’s something I don’t like.. people wasting my time with bullshit.
How much money do you make as a tatoo artist?
I make good money. I hope to expand the studio in the future so I can get guest artists over here so I can learn from them and share some stories and knowledge. But it’s still located in a small town so I dont know if I can afford to have a extra resident artist but I guess that time will tell.
What are you specializing in?
I’m specializing in realism with fine details and fine line tattoo’s. I love tattooing animals. I hope to have more chances of tattooing animals in the future.
What education or skills are needed to do this?
I think a natural interest in art and in dissecting art pieces from all styles.
The ability and patience to look at works of other artists and dissect them and get inspired at the same time.
I realy think natural artists also have a way of seeing art differently.
How would you describe your personal artistic style?
I would love to develop a style where the tattoo is like a surrealism painting.
A style where the tattoo doesn’t match reality but still is beautiful and classy and flows well with the body.
I can’t wait to develop more of my unique style.
What is most challenging about what you do?
It’s still all new so every realism piece is a challenge. I’m always a bit stressed before a tattoo appointement. But in the end it all comes together.
What is most rewarding?
The most rewarding is to see the pictures of the tattoo the next day.
At the moment the tattoo is finished I don’t think it’s that nice because I stared at it for to long and I’m still thinking about the technical stuff and details and don’t see the big picture.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Make sure you are a artist. Don’t start if you can’t draw or paint. Be sure you want to be your own boss and manage everything.
I don’t think you have to know your style or have any tattoo’s but you have to be creative, independent and stressfree.
How much time off do you get/take?
For now when I feel it’s a bit to much I book in a week after the last set of appointements.
I also think it’s better to take some time off every once in a while to grow as a painter too so I can focus on experimenting on canvas.
Do you think there are challenges in being a tattoo artist that artists who create for themselves don’t face?
Yes, people bring challenges but in a good way.
Every individual has other ideas, maybe sometimes ideas that I would never have. That can create opportunities that I would never even think of so that keeps it interesting.
Which is your first love: tattooing or animation/illustration? What are your goals/dreams for the future?
I was drawing from a young age.
Always drawing on everything. Even on the walls of my bedroom, maps from my classes,..When i wrote a note or a card there was always a drawing there. But at First I started drawing, then later I started painting and not soon after that I started tattooing.
I’m attracted to a lot of things that involves creativity like the art of making music. I always played in a band and also am a solo musican.
I mainly play guitar and write lyrics on guitarchords or riffs and even on beats. But I played a lot of instruments for a while.. Like saxophone, drums, piano, bass..
My dream is to have a tattoo shop/bar with a interior design of a tattooshop with dark walls and taxidermy and stuffed animals.
This would be in the centre of Bruges, a picturesque city.
A bar/studio where you can get different beers and while drinking look at people behind a glass getting tattood. Now and then a few bands that come and play. Man, that’s the dream.
Location: Maldegem, Belgium