Each month our intrepid artist liaison and generally jovial Eikon staffer, Patrick Coste, sits down with a tattoo artist to get to know them a little better. This week he's talking with the super talented Christelle Souverbie.
Driven, strong, this woman has nothing to fear. She thrives on learning and applying all of that knowledge. An outstanding painter and young artist who has a clear path that’s defined by her passion for the trade.- Patrick Coste
@Patrick Coste: Good day Christelle you talented woman! We haven’t seen each other for quite some time. You‘ve been a regular on the convention circuit for a while now... What have you been up to? What am I saying? I know what you’re up to - Way too much greatness!!!
@Christellesouveerbietattoo: LOL! Hi Patrick! Yess thank you, I've been keeping busy with painting, tattooing, the shop, life...I love it!
PC: That’s right! Weird time to open a shop, but if I recall correctly, we’re in weird times. Still, somehow you manage to keep it up and be surrounded by very good tattooers and well, now it’s going!
CS: Oh yes, the shop is busy and the way we love it!
PC: Like every tattooer, you must have a startup story? Anything juicy? Hah! I mean you don't become as talented as you are just by doodling, right?
CS: Lol, here it is! On the tattoo side of things, I first became interested when I was fourteen years old. I was drawing tattoos and all... It wasn't a career choice until I was in my late twenties. I come from a very conservative family, and so tattooing was far down my list of choices. A few people told me; you should tattoo, you should tattoo... I told myself, “I can't do that”, etc… but it was in my head. I did try to get an apprenticeship while living in Montreal, and went to a few shops but nothing happened. So, I put that aside for a little while until I moved to Quebec City. It took me three months to update my portfolio, and I quit my previous job after saving enough. It took me three months to get into a shop, and I started to apprentice at twenty nine years of age.
PC: It took you a while, but here you are, BIG time!! You didn’t start tattooing just like that though, you knew how to draw before, right?
CS: Yes, I went to art school. In my case it was my family that wasn't supportive, they were very conventional. Even me getting tattooed wasn't right for them!
After ten years in the makeup industry doing photoshoots, a college degree and a BAC in Applied Art, it sure helped me to go faster as I knew all the colour techniques and I especially knew where I wanted to go!!!
PC: So you had a crazy advantage over many artists with all that schooling in art from the get-go, basically... Was it a matter of figuring out how to apply your art to tattooing?
CS: Definitely. I learned a lot about colours and lighting while in school, for sure it helped my two careers. I was a makeup artist for photoshoots before my tattoo life, so it gave me another aesthetic aspect of things of beauty.
It‘s funny because, even today, I still apply makeup on my tattoos when I create them...Smoky eyes, pulpy lips... I make them prettier that way!
I’d also developed a very good way of working in close proximity to clients, which is very important in both cases. At one point, after ten years, I felt like I’d lost touch with all the art... You know, the brushes, the paint, and all of that came together today!
It’s nice to think of all that and realize that it all came together. It took me about three years to find my style. I love doing images of beautiful women. I love beauty!
PC: Wow eh, good story! I remember seeing you around the convention venues getting tattooed by some of the greatest women tattooers... I’m thinking Eilo and Vero are amazing artists. I’ll bet it was an opportunity to learn a bit, right??
CS: You bet! I was getting tattooed by Eilo before, so when I told her I was getting into it, I was accepted by her so well and she helped me. We need more women in the trade.
Vero, I knew her from a photoshoot I did a while back. I was applying makeup. I remember her from then.
It was sort of funny, but I love them very much and respect their work tremendously. As for getting tattooed, I had a master plan. I had a sleeve by Eilo and once that was done, I was going to get Vero to do a black and grey sleeve. I knew I also wanted to merge the two on my chest and so it happened!
PC: You mentioned that you grew up in a somewhat strict environment, are you now fully tattooed?
CS: There’s still room on my leg and stomach. Eilo did quite a bit of my neck, head, etc!
I’ve got a “touski” leg - meaning everything that can fit a leg, a shitty leg, a leg of all trades... Lol, flash from artists I like, and I do have a plan for my blank leg. I want to get a portrait from all the artists I admire, and I want to learn and progress that way too!!
PC: Hi Eilo!! Hi Vero!! Lol..
CS: Lol, YES, I miss both of them very much!
PC: You mentioned earlier that you learn a lot from getting tattooed, is that the reason you started the Quebec tattoo masterclass in the midst of the pandemic?
CS: Yes, definitely. It was a way to gather artists that I like, that I wanted to learn from and share the experience with everybody, so you don’t have to learn from the “Russian dude” online. Nothing wrong with that, but you know, it’s to get a real feel, a real presence and learn from the exchange with other people. You know, the human touch is being lost with this pandemic.
PC: I thought that was the greatest idea! So, what’s the plan for this now?
CS: It’s on hold. I’ve got everything in place and there's people still wanting to come, but as you know we’re not sure of when it will happen. It WILL happen after this COVID thing. I thought of doing it online but I felt that we would lose the contact, the touch… You know, stuff like seeing an artist you follow on instagram for years and then you get to learn from them live. This is priceless!
PC: You’re quite the master of painting yourself, are you still finding ways to learn?
CS: Master!? Calm down Patrick, lol. I’m a strong enthusiast let’s say, lol.
PC: 0_0 lol, I mean you’ve got it good...
CS: LOL, I know, I know, thank you! At one point I was twiddling my thumbs, and it’s not my style, so I started to paint more and more, and learn more. Last year I went back to school to learn new techniques, and in every session I get a better grasp on creativity.
I started at the “Académie Beaux-Arts de Québec - @acbaqc”, to learn to use mediums like dry pastel which is far from the oil painting I was used to. It’s so different, but I like it, more string to my bow! We do a lot of observational sketches and it helps my skills. It’s nice to be on site, not online, you know?
On the tattoo/painting side, I also started a Fifth Element series, which I love. I love old films and well, I made prints out of them! I have a deep love for everything religious in art, so I apply that to my art as well.
PC: ...but you don't just paint them or print them, you also add gold leaf at times, right?
CS: Yes, there’s a bit of technique with the gold leaf so it makes them unique!
PC: Right! Damn… I seem to lose touch of what’s going on with no conventions happening. I do know your workplace is new!
CS: Oh yes, Lune Noir Tatouage. It’s for sure a weird time to open the shop, but the necessity was there and I found two of the best partners I could ask for; @verolagachette and @mybolductattooer. We created our space filled with love, positivity and lots of female power!!
It also has a little bit of an esoteric flair, calm, and it’s by appointment only. We created our environment and we love it!
PC: You mentioned female power and I know you are a strong woman... Was it a goal to put the “female power” up front?
CS: Yes and no, but yes, it’s in a sense different in our industry. It’s a very manly trade. It wasn’t THE goal but it’s a nice thing, and we get a lot of great feedback like - so smooth of a place, with no rush, and no crazy music all the time etc.
PC: Aww, so nice to get in tune! I’ve gotta ask, what’s up with the ‘spiced pickles’ Miss Vickies?
CS: You looked at my instagram eh? Lol, I’m not a big chip fan, but those got my attention and it went crazy, lol, but they’re good!!
PC: LOL! Christelle, it was such a nice chat, way too short but very inspiring and genuine... You’re a riot! Thank you so much!
Follow Christelle’s tattooing & painting on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christellesouverbietattoo