You once said that drawing canvas is your balance to tattooing. What is making the essential difference here, except for that it’s not commissioned work?
The difference is, that there is another motivation behind it. There are days where an idea pops into my head and I want to put it on paper immediately although I still have other projects to finish. Those could be designs that I wouldn’t even want to tattoo, yet I want to devote myself to them anyways. After all, painting is always a learning process.
How does it usually work, do you already have a topic in mind or do you just sit in front of a blank canvas and just start painting?
That's always different. The last few times I’ve always sat down in front of a blank piece of paper and just started doodling. Then something kind of originated within the first few lines and I let my imagination run free and it all merges into something almost on its own.
With other projects, I know what I want to do in advance. I draw a basic sketch first which I then elaborate into something more detailed and then put it on paper to bring everything together to a final painting.
Well, I do different things. I don’t just draw randomly, but I also have concepts.
I like doing it either way. With the random, unplanned ones you can work freer and kind of do what you want to do and it’s not too bad if one line is a little out of place, it's more flexible.
I like that a lot. When having a concept beforehand, every line must be in place and accurate. Since I have been working in a very clean and precise style for years, I do enjoy doodling around every once in a while.
What drew you in the Asian direction?
Subconsciously, I always found the Asian style to be the most aesthetic. Thinking back it’s probably because my grandma always had a lot of Asian stuff at home. Pictures, cork carvings, a lot of bamboo from China which she got from her neighbour, who was a sailor. That always fascinated me as a little boy. I think that’s where my style is coming from because I always found the things that already impressed me as a child the most appealing.
“AFTER BEING IN JAPAN I WANTED TO MAKE DESIGNS MORE SIMPLE”
How long have you been in Japan and what shaped you the most during your time there?
I was in Japan for three weeks. One week in Tokyo and two weeks in Kyoto, Ueno and Osaka. It was an impressing time. It was five months before the Fukushima disaster and I have not been there since unfortunately.
I kind of talked some sense into myself while being in Japan. All those details that I put into tattoos previously and tattoos I have fastidiously planned out - I have gone completely off that.
After being in Japan I wanted to make designs more simple. I wanted to do large-scale and bold work. I got a feeling for simplicity there.
Especially when browsing bookstores in Canada I realised that the easier the elaboration, the easier it is to look at. If there is too much going on it’s difficult to recognize it from a distance.
Why did you choose Hakutsuru, the white crane, as a name?
I wanted a name with a positive association. “White crane” has a peaceful symbolism and stands for a good relationship. And by the way, Hakutsuru is also a great Sake.
The Japanese art of tattooing is associated with extensive expertise, to what extent did you acquire this?
I gained most of my knowledge by talking with other tattoo artists. As well as the collection of books, which I, mostly, brought back from Japan benefit me as a daily reference. The books are mainly about colour woodcut, calligraphy and up to ceramic, wood and swordsmith crafts. I also have a lot of books about Yokai's, which are mystical creatures from Japan, which I like tattooing the most.
“IT’S THE TATTOOIST TASK TO TELL THE CUSTOMER WHAT THE TATTOO DESIGN STANDS FOR.”
What do you think of people who just get a tattoo done without appreciation its meaning?
In that case, I do feel sorry for the client. It’s the tattoo artists task to inform the client what the design stands for or what it means. It would be a shame if the client gets a tattoo without knowing what's behind it. If I don’t know the symbolism behind a design, I will inform myself before I tattoo it.
What are your dreams and goals and will there be another exhibition of your works?
I want to continue doing large-scale work, it’s great fun. Of course, I also enjoy doing small things, but with bigger projects, I just get the itch. I also want to do more guest spots, I always post information about it on Instagram.
For the exhibition “Tattoo Fan Club”, which was initiated by Stefbastián, I’m currently working on a fan, which will be shown at this year's tattoo convention in London. Smaller projects, spontaneously, come around now and then. Such as last week for rohrbude.de. An own exhibition is not planned at the moment.
SANDOR JORDAN on Instagram