Interviewing Tattoo Artist Kim Dahlstedt

As you might know, I work at Attitude Tattoo Studio, which is one of the biggest shops in Norway, maybe even in Scandinavia. I had the pleasure of interviewing Kim Dahlstedt, one of my very first apprentices, a dear friend, and colleague.

Photo: Attitude Tattoo Studio

I was actually only going to interview him in writing, but I decided to record the talk on my iPhone and later transcribe the interview. But as I listened to our talk, I thought it was kind of nice to hear him speak, and not just read what he said. Therefore, you can listen to the interview right here. It is in Norwegian and it’s not of super quality, and the sound is quite low, I’m afraid. As I said, I didn’t even plan to record the audio. I have translated it to English below.

When and where did you start tattooing?

I started my apprenticeship at your place, in 2009, right? August? Started just a couple of days before your birthday. Worked a couple of days and then we went to Stockholm Ink Bash. I made you a chocolate cake. But you don’t even remember that… And then I started tattooing in 2010, 14th of January 2010, I made my very first tattoo.

What did you do before you started tattooing?

I worked at the clothing store Carlings, I worked at Gamestop, I was a Plumber, a Tinsmith, worked with Awnings, I did a lot of stuff. But the time before I came to you I did nothing, I just stayed home playing World of Warcraft. Nerd Alert!

Why did you want to become a tattoo artist?

Because I can make a lot of fun stuff. I can be creative every day, and meet lots of people. “Normal people” and “Crazy people”. And have the opportunity to travel a lot. But mostly its to be able to make great stuff on people. Tattoos are awesome!

Photo: Attitude Tattoo Studio

What do you enjoy tattooing the most these days?

Japanese inspired stuff with lots of colors. Color, color! Not necessarily Japanese, but like Kois and Dragons, and I add my own technique. Not traditional oriental, more cartoony, new school version. I try to keep the bold lines, but use more transitions in the colors.

What inspires you the most?

Wow, there are so many things… TV games, Cartoons, Artists, other Tattoo Artists, everything really. Sometimes Music as well. If you are down, just listen to music and everything is just so much better. But I don’t know what inspires me the most. Maybe the everyday stuff, the stuff you normally don’t focus on, like nature, can be really amazing.

Photo: Kim Dahlstedt

Do you like tattooing coverups?

Yes! I do! Its a challenge, you get the pressure to think differently to make it right. Not everything is possible, like on normal skin, and it takes time, but Yes, I like it.

How is your process when making a design?

If it’s for a client, I usually have a consultation first, to talk face to face. Because then I can read the person a bit. Not to get to know them, but try to understand them easier. Go through their ideas. Get as much info as I can from their wishes, and then I shape my way so I feel it the best tattoo possible. Maybe we don’t get all their elements, but it needs to fit the anatomy. I measure them, take pictures, just to try alternatives.

If I draw for myself, I like to think differently. Think like I haven’t done before. Like if this elephant maybe gets 9 ears, haha. Just do something different. Maybe an old classic motive, like a Hanya mask, but make a skeleton jaw, just be a little crazy. I like to be a little crazy. It’s fun.

What is your biggest tip for clients in general?

Research, research, research, research! Find out what you want to get. Don’t get the one your friend got because she got 300 likes on Instagram. Get something you really want. Find out which artist you want to go to. Check their Instagram. Listen to friends and their experience with their tattoo artists. Do research and find out what style you like. Go to the artist you think will do the best tattoo for you.

What is trendy right now?

Frank! (Our colleague) It’s Frank. I see that everything Frank does with his single needle, the small roses, the mini tattoos. With you and me, I think it’s more variety. The trendy palm tree that looks like an asshole. It does! It looks like the actual ass hole. The small stuff, small lettering. I do make many roses, the Kim-Rose. That’s kind of fun. It’s not a trend, but I get asked a lot about it. That’s kind of fun.

Do you have any book tips?

I never read books! I’m not good with books. But I do have some favorites. Its an artist called Terada Katsuya (@katsuyaterada). Or fantasy books like Spectrum, they’re cool. Inspiring concept art from TV games and movies. Heavy Metal! They got loads of cool drawings.

How many tattoos do you have?

I don’t know. Not that many… I never counted. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6… Is this one tattoo or several? 32, 33, 34…. Oh, I forgot my back, 44, 45, 46. I got 46 tattoos!

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What kind of music do you prefer at the moment?

God Damn! Drum and Bass! And Hard Techno. It varies throughout the day. I don’t like drum and base every Tuesday. Some days I like Metal. But right now soft Drum and base. I like all music. And feminine singing. like “Aaah Eeehhh Aaahhh”. Not like Usher. More like beautiful singing. Ok, maybe not feminine, but like “The Tallest Man On Earth”, it’s so relaxing. And nice music like Dolly Parton, 50s etc.

What do you do in your free time?

Play TV games. Play a lot of Magic. Spending time with my boyfriend. Visit my family, not that much, should do more often. But yes, Magic the Gathering, is what I do the most, and spend time with Jon. That’s what I mostly do.

Thanks, Kim! Now you can get back to work! Haha.

photo: Attitude Tattoo Studio

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WANT TO BE A TATTOO ARTIST? Check out my “Being a Tattoo Artist” Posts!

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. If you liked “Interviewing Tattoo Artist Kim Dahlstedt”, please feel free to share it with others. Comment below if you want to ask me a question or just say Hi. Sorry for the language confusion these days, I am currently switching over to English.

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