Tattooing, an ancient form of body art, continues to captivate and evolve, blending tradition and innovation. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the world of tattooing with Julien Rimbaud, a renowned tattoo artist based in Manosque, France. Despite his relatively brief career spanning just three years, Julien has already achieved remarkable heights in the realm of tattoo artistry.

His portfolio showcases a remarkable complexity and depth as he skillfully blends multiple styles and techniques to create unique and unforgettable pieces. From his early fascination with motorcycle culture to his unwavering dedication to crafting intricate designs, Julien's journey offers a fascinating insight into the dynamic world of tattooing. Join us as we explore how passion, talent, and relentless pursuit of perfection have propelled Julien to remarkable success in the field of tattoo artistry, embodying the intersection of art, culture, and self-expression.

Let's start with introductions and some traditional questions for us. Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, and where are you currently working?

- My name is Julien Rimbaud, I'm 32 years old, and I'm from Manosque in the southeast of France, near Marseille. I own my own studio there with my wife. I've been tattooing for three years now.

L'artiste tatoueur Julien Rimbaud

What led you to tattooing? Who were you, and who was your mentor? Tell us about how it all began.

- My first passion was motocross, which I practiced until adulthood. The first time I saw people with tattoos was on motorcycle tapes my father bought me. I remember being fascinated by the style of American freestylers at the time, their tattoos, punk rock, metal. At the age of 14, I already knew I wanted to be heavily tattooed. I waited until I was 18 and went to a reputable studio near me. I had a good feeling with the tattoo artist, and we had multiple sessions. Watching him tattoo me, I always had a little voice telling me that I could be capable of tattooing myself too. That's where it all started.

Tattoo artist Julien Rimbaud

Is tattooing for you now an art, a job, or something else?

- For me, tattooing is a way of life in itself; I think about it 24/7. I see us as artists, but also as entrepreneurs. I don't like the idea of it being just a job because you have to be really passionate to pursue a career as a tattoo artist.

Your portfolio is filled with very complex tattoo works that combine several styles and techniques. Tell us how your style has evolved.

- In the beginning, I started by tattooing traditional (old school). It was the style I felt most comfortable with to start and gain confidence. It's also a style I love to get tattooed myself. Looking back, it was a great foundation because traditional tattoos teach us to do everything, from lines to shading and filling. Then I felt the need to add more detail to my work. So I switched to finer needles and tried more realistic pieces, which I really enjoyed. I think our style chooses us rather than the other way around, and my clients' requests have guided me towards what I do today. I like to mix realism with fine lines, text, and sketches, adding a graphic touch.

Tattoo artist Julien Rimbaud

What is the most important thing for you in tattooing?

- Without hesitation, the design. A beautifully designed tattoo with average execution will always be more aesthetically pleasing than a mediocre design well executed. It's all about preparation and anticipation. I always have a very specific plan before starting a tattoo. This plan may sometimes change depending on constraints, but I always have one. I really like this quote from Abraham Lincoln: "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."

What subjects do you find most appealing? What inspires you?

- Anything related to Greco-Roman art, mythology, and the Renaissance, for simple aesthetic reasons. I like to use statues, sculptures, and paintings from those periods. I'm also very drawn to portraits, which I would like to do more of, but also to animals.

What is most important to you in your work: the client's idea or yours? How do you create a sketch for your tattoo? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

- I think it's a mix of both. I regularly propose designs that I create from scratch, but I also like to work around my clients' ideas and step out of my comfort zone. I usually start by looking for references I will use for my design. Then, I sketch on the desired part of the body, and I let the natural flow of things go by placing the elements to best fit the body shapes. As for my designs, inspiration can come from anywhere, including travels. I also really enjoy reading and personal development. A simple quote can sometimes inspire a design for me.

Every tattoo artist's career involves unusual projects or collaborations. Have you had such events in your career?

- Due to my background in motocross, I have the chance to meet and tattoo professional riders. I would like to tattoo more recognized athletes because I'm passionate about sports in general, and I love interacting with them.

Do you travel a lot? Do you have an idea of which country your tattoos are most popular in?

- I try to travel as much as possible. I usually do 2 to 3 guest spots per year because I also have to manage my family life and my studio. It's always very enriching for me to work with other artists and make new connections. I think my style is appreciated in France and Europe in general, but also in the United States.

Tattoo artist Julien Rimbaud

Which country has had the greatest influence on your creativity?

- I would say the United States without hesitation. I've always had a very attentive eye to what's happening on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. But also Italy, for art and culture.

Do you regularly attend tattoo conventions? Tell us about your experience.

- I've only been to one convention, the one in Manosque, where I live. I was lucky enough to win first prize for the small black and gray piece. I don't really plan on doing others; I prefer guest spots to get myself known, and I also always learn a lot from them.

Is there a trend in tattooing? What trends in the tattoo industry can you highlight this year?

- Right now, many people are getting into micro-realism and fine line tattoos, for very minimalist tattoos. I think I'm part of that, although I try to adapt this more modern style to my personality and taste.

Tattoo artist Julien Rimbaud

What is most important in the career of a tattoo artist for you?

- For me, the first obvious thing is the level and progression. Never stop improving. Then, I would say tattooing influential people and having exposure on social media because today, just being good is no longer enough to attract clients.

Tattoo artist Julien Rimbaud

What are your goals? Share your creative plans for the near future.

- I want to continue to progress in my designs and technique and to accomplish more significant projects while continuing to meet great people. With my wife, we also dream of moving to the United States, which is something we are currently working on, and to develop our studio there.