Interview with Sebastian Domaschke
I recently had the opportunity to ask a few question to Sebastian Domaschke, a neo-traditional artist with strong esoteric influences. He works at the Lowbrow Tattoo Parlour in Berlin and if you like bold lines and solid colours you can find his work on Instagram @sebastiandomaschke and on his blog www.sebastiandomaschke.com.
How you would define your style?
I would describe it as my very own, individual style.
Theme, composition, lining, choice of colour --it all represents and mirrors my own character. My zodiac sign is Capricorn, with the Moon in the sign of Libra. Following this, my element is earth. I'm convinced that my preference for symmetric compositions, strong bold lines, lusciously filled areas and a reduced variety of colour is based on these characteristics of mine.
You recently finished the Tarot Flash Set, an interesting project of a full set of the 22 major arcana. Let me first tell you that it is a real masterpiece of dedication to the esoteric tradition (the complete set is on Instagram @tarotflashset). What inspired you to start such a long and complex path?
I'd like to thank you for your review.
The tarot itself, with the enormous depth of its meaning, was my main motivation. With the explanations of the authors listed below, the initially mysterious and incomprehensible tarot soon turned into a thrilling series, where every single card illustrates an insightful episode.
The series is focused on The Fool and his heroic journey through the Major Arcana. On his path to spiritual self-awareness he encounters many teachers, among others The Magician, The Empress and The Hermit whom pass on crucial information to him. Apart from that he also has to face and conquer threats and challenges, for example imposed by The Tower or The Devil, to reach the ultimate aim, the overcoming of duality and finally becoming one with God, which is represented by the card of The World.
Many great artists of the past (from Botticelli to Jodorowsky) gave their interpretation of those ancient cards and symbols. Which artist(s) inspired you the most during this project?
As mentioned before, I took inspiration from getting the hang of tarot by reading appropriate literature. The books written by German tarot expert Hajo Banzhaf conveyed Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot to me. Furthermore Elisabeth Haich's books translated the Oswald Wirth Tarot for me, whilst the books of American Rachel Pollack helped me to understand the Rider-Waite Tarot.
On Instagram you mentioned that you will print the Tarot Set, do you plan to make prints or will there also be a tarot deck?
To print the individual pieces of The Tarot Flash Set, I'll be working together with Idea Noir, a company based in Berlin. The designs will be printed on the same paper as the originals using the Giclée method, which will result in a brilliant outcome -- some of the prints might look even better than my original aquarelle paintings.
Apart from that a collector's box under the name "Major Arcana" is planned, which will consist of a limited handmade box containing all cards of the set in a handy size. Prints and boxes will be available from November on, make sure to follow @ideanoir to stay in the loop regarding any details of the release.
You are now working on a new, big project, The Seven Planets (@the_seven_planets) - Tell us more about it.
Similar to the Tarot Flash Set, The Seven Planets equals practice and lesson at the same time for me. I want to understand the entirety of the astrological philosophy, which is founded on Mars, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Sun, Jupiter, Saturn and the consequent twelve zodiac signs.
This particular order allows me to draw conclusions regarding my client's characteristics, which therefore enables me to offer tattoos based on astrological calculation.
The different designs arise from the subconsciousness, showing and establishing clarity of our concealed sides.
Your full-torsos are stunning. Do you start with a complete stencil or add the single designs as the project develops?
The underlying idea, that means basic composition and theme, gets defined by a rough sketch. Having said this, I draw the individual designs just a few days before the actual sessions, to keep the whole process flowing and exciting.
Exceptional to this are projects based on tarot cards. In this case I firstly calculate the client's personal tarot card and create a suitable concept afterwards, which then can be adjusted and varied to the liking of the customer.
Berlin is becoming a Mecca of the European Tattoo scene. What is it like working there?
While the studio itself is private and situated in a quiet rear house, Lowbrow Tattoo Parlour is located in Friedrichshain, one of Berlin's hot spots. That means we have excellent accessibility, which comes in handy since most of our clients are coming from out-of-town. Many customers combine their stay with exploring and experiencing Berlin, currently one of the most fascinating capitals worldwide.
In this way we can provide a calm and personal tattoo session mixed with the benefits of a dashing big city life.
Who are your favourite tattoo artists?
First of all I'd like to mention my mentor Lars-Uwe Jensen, also known as Lus Lips. Since our very first meeting he's been a constant source of inspiration to me, and by inducting me into the symbolic and mystic meaning behind the individual designs he significantly paved the way for my current work.
Another daily dose of inspiration comes of course from my esteemed colleagues @matthiasboettcher and @falkmalisch.
In addition to that I follow other tattoo artist via instagram, for instance: @edekqwerty @haivarasly @gordoncombs @samclarktattoos @bjornliebner @addetattooer @tonybluearms @matthew_houston @bara_madrid @bobeus @joel_soos @alex_sances_one @ibirothe @felixkienzle @danielhofertattooer @patrykhilton
Rotary or Coils?
Despite being loud, heavy and quite challenging when it comes to finding the right setting, I'll stick to coil tattoo machines.
I own a superb liner from Bert Krak and a trustworthy shader from Seth Cifferi, both of which have been making me happy on a daily basis.
Interviewed by Pietro Francia (@zombieheadpietro)