MASTERS OF INK & NEEDLE: JOHAN BIGFATJOE ANKARFYR

Imagine you get something tattooed as a souvenir, of any single city you’ve stayed at. How would your body look like? I’m not the most traveler person in the world, but looking backwards I can’t say I’ve been too static. It was almost one year ago in Stockholm, when I had this idea of getting a souvenir from each city. Once I’m settled and right on track, I think I’ll do it.

Right now, deep in the tattoo culture, I could name some artists I could visit any time in most of the cities I’ve ever been to, but there’s one in particular I discovered after being in Stockholm I’m regretting not visiting, because I really enjoy following his work. His name is Johan Bigfatjoe Ankarfyr, and his surname means Anchor-Lighthouse. Adorable, isn’t it?

I can’t recall channel I got to know him, I think I discovered right after I got my piece by Miss Arianna Settembrino, in April, but what I’m positive about it’s the piece I got a crush on, this Man Without a Face.

I had seen blind and faceless men, but this one was as attractive as sinister. The moustache, one visible eye through the glass of its monocle and the eyebrows, providing some kind of evil expression which fascinates me completely.

This piece would sum up the artist’s own words I love to do twisted, one off, personal tattoos with hidden messages and double meanings”.

We could say that Johan’s is this modern old school style, using a palette of intense colours, combined with the shading technique.

Regarding the subjects of his tattoos, there are no preferences. He loves humans, animals, and the personification and animalizing of them.

One of his most impressive pieces is this Underwater Fight among between these huge creatures, with a scared to death diver witnessing the whole scene.

The intensity of the color, the movement of the tentacles of the octopus grabbing the lighthouse and the diver, the menacing glance of the two creatures while fighting against each other. The whole composition has plenty of small details. It’s awesome!

Animals possess very marked personalities, they are very powerful, and when humanized their features become softer, and look sweet and tender. Personally I prefer the last ones, creating interesting and surrealist scenes.

Referring to humans, he usually chooses the early 20th century aesthetics as his main source of inspiration. It’s strange the appearance of robot tattoos, even though he always depicts the most vintage ones. In general, humans lack of face expression, and it’s hard to guess whether they are happy, upset or sad observing their half-closed and tired eyes.

Johan works on both big and small pieces, and complexity in details varies. What it’s undeniable is his technique, very clean, with the outlining very accurate.

It was really a pity getting acquainted with this incredible artist after my visit last year, otherwise I’d have visited him for sure. It’d be great if he was visiting us in the future, but in case he wouldn’t make it, having my Stockholm souvenir made by him would be enough good reason as to come back to Sweden, don’t you think?

If you’re willing to see the final result of these two pieces in progress, as I am, I suggest you follow him on his website or FB. I think he’s worth it.

*** NEW UPDATE***

Johan has just opened his own new studio, Crooked Moon Tattoo, in Stockholm. For appointments, you can find all the information here.

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