photos: Guen Douglas.
Berliners are known to have a certain affinity for tattoos. Luckily for us, the city attracts some of the world’s most amazing tattoo artists whose designs truly transcend the visuals. One particular artist whose works are especially brilliant – bold, beautifully executed, and abounding in cultural references, is definitely Guen Douglas from the Taiko Gallery studio. We had a little chat with Guen to find out more about her background, style, and some inspirations behind her designs. Read on!
Hailing from Britain and French Canada, Guen embarked on a quest to find a forever home that took her to Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and even Brighton before eventually landing in Berlin. As she explains, the Hauptstadt wasn’t really the obvious choice, but it definitely stood the test of time – Douglas kept on coming back before she eventually decided to call it home.
”During a year of travel, on a mission to find a new home, I came to realize that this place is everything I was looking for. Centrally located, inexpensive for visitors, with a plethora of things to experience for all types of people, and on top of all that, a still untamed spirit. A rare gem!”
And we can only thank her for that – her contribution to Berlin’s tattooing scene is a bold, colorful statement that proves just how fierce inking can feel like. Looking through Guen’s portfolio, I am amazed and inspired by the images of brazen females, captivated by the otherworldly creations of her and her clients’ imagination, and intrigued by the many cultural references she draws in some of her designs.
Guen herself describes her style as ”illustrative with a heavy influence of American traditional”, and admits she’s also enjoyed being described as a ”surrealist”. When asked about her ”manties” series – the designs depicting hearts with men’s underwear – Guen says: ”I am proud that I wasn’t the only weirdo to love the manties and I am happy that they are being embraced! It’s nice to see the point of view in tattooing become more inclusive and celebratory of all types of people.”
”I really enjoy finding the right way to realize a project rather than being married to one way of doing things. I am known for my bright bold designs, but I also enjoy black and grey, etching, single needle, and minimalist designs.”
I suspected that such diversity of visuals must reflect an inquisitive mind with plenty of stimuli – and I wasn’t wrong. Guen says she’s ”inspired by lots of things – history, food and wine (she co-hosts a wine podcast called Juice), photography, travel, fashion, plants… basically all the things that bring joy!”. Last but not least, she’s inspired by ”her clients and their wild imaginations.”
”Of course there are some tattoos that I especially love because I am proud of the design itself or the technical application, but actually, I am most proud that people come back for more, that we connect and that we find ways of expressing their visions.”