By Crystal Morey
I just got back from the Montreal Tattoo Arts Show and it was such a great event. The Tattoo Mania crew really knows how to put on a great convention and the Gomineko crew can’t wait for next year. While I was there I got a chance to hang out with one of my favorite convention buddies Dan Sinnes and pick his twisted brain a little…
Crystal Morey: I want to jump right in and ask you about the dick and pussy tattoos but we should do this properly... So Dan, how long have you been tattooing? Did you do a formal apprenticeship?
Dan Sinnes: 12 years. I started collecting tattoos when I was 16. I got a job in a tattoo shop in Luxembourg after doing a lot of drawings on my own, studying from tattoo magazines. It wasn’t exactly an apprenticeship but I did everything in the shop: cleaned, prepared stencils, set up stations... but they didn’t teach me. They gave me a machine, showed me how to build it up with a tube and a needle and said, “Hey you have to run the machine if you go in the skin” and that was all they told me. They didn’t answer my questions they were winking with their shoulders. They didn’t really understand my questions or care, they were like, “Ah, whatever. He’s making money.” I did a lot of walk-ins then, I did a fucking lot of tribal, which was popular then, that and lower back tattoos. Every woman wanted one and I made a lot of them!
CM: Are there a lot of tattoo shops in Luxembourg? Are tattoos popular?
DS: There are probably six shops for a half a million people. Tattoos here are regarded like they are everywhere – the youths have tattoos but the old people still think it’s from prison.
CM: You do a lot of Japanese imagery. What drew you to it initially? What do you like about it?
DS: I was amazed when I saw that book The Japan Tattoo, really the only book out on Japanese tattoos at the time, and then around 2004 when I met Mick from Zürich and saw how beautiful the Japanese tattoo is –and I saw also the shunga, Mick introduced me to the stuff I am doing now. He showed me entire books on Japanese shunga and I’d never seen it before and I was just blasted away from it...
CM: And who influences you now? Who do you reference?
DS: Definitely my friends. I feel inspired by my friends. People like Luke Atkinson, Mick from Zürich, Trevor McStay... because those were the tattoos you saw in the magazines at the time! There are many good artists but you would see one or two tattoos that were good in a magazine, so what I did; I cut them out and collected them in a book!
CM: Ha-ha, you made a tattoo scrapbook! Do you still have it?
DS: Yeeeaaah! I still have it yeeeeaaah! Ha-ha. Today there is so much good stuff in magazines but 10 years ago there was not really a lot of good magazines…
CM: True. So now we can talk about the pussy and dick tattoos… Do you think you could only tattoo shunga for the rest of your life and be happy?
DS: Oh yes! I love them. I want to do a whole bodysuit of pussy monsters! Ha-ha-ha, no... To be honest I like doing filler tattoos around other stuff the best unless I am working in Luxembourg. I like doing conventions and guest spots and doing one shot tattoos I can finish that day so I can always travel to new destinations and don’t have to return anywhere to finish tattoos. The people here I think lack discipline to finish pieces, they don’t have the discipline to finish backpieces, they get tired of the pain, maybe they don’t have the money anymore, maybe they don’t give a fuck anymore and it’s no longer important but they start them and they don’t finish. I like one shots cause they get finished.
I am still doing a lot of sleeves too, actually. Going back to the question about what I would like to do the rest of my life, I’d be happy doing small Japanese pieces, small traditional and scripts. Small scripts, big scripts, I love scripts! I’ll even do a tribal if the customer really wants it because at the end of the day I’m a tattooer, I’m not a little artist who runs around doing only custom, I’m a tattooer. Not a custom tattooer, I love to tattoo! I don’t really like to do portraits though because I think there are other people who do it amazingly.
CM: You travel a lot –do you have a schedule you follow or do you just follow your nose? Are there places you like going back to?
DS: I follow my nose. I am always trying to go to new destinations and want to travel to all the continents. I just went to Hong Kong recently and would love to go back there. I go to Zürich every two months or so, whenever Mick needs me, I like going to Canada… I have good friends all over.
CM: Yes you do! Do you want to talk about the Tigers?
DS: The Tigers is a group of very special people who like to travel and collect tattoos and make tattoos. It's a special secret weapon of the secret tattoo world… ha-ha... Shit, I’m stoned. It is a group of amazing people.
CM: Very true! Tell me about the most shocking tattoo you’ve ever done.
DS: I tattooed a tengu mouth around this guy’s asshole. At a convention! Ha-ha Nobody else wanted to do it! Ha-ha-ha... and for only 50 Euros! Oh you have to see it, you are gonna see it and think…”Dan Sinnes, there is something wrong with you!"
CM: I already think that…
DS: He is a major collector, and kind of a freak, his name is Moby Dick but he was really proper, it was really okay. When you see the photo it’s gonna be hilarious, because the tengu has a very special nose…. don’t add the photo cause the tattoo isn’t finished yet, it’s just outlines. Ha-ha…
CM: Oh dear… I don’t know where to go from there! (In the photo the guy is bent forward spread-eagle and has tengu eyes tattooed above his asshole, his dangling penis forming the long tengu nose.) You definitely made use of all his um, features! I think this tattoo illustrates the fact that you are truly the dick and pussy master! Ha-ha-ha, yerp.
(Dan is on the road a lot, you can keep up with him here - http://www.dansinnestattoo.com/ and on Facebook: Dan Sinnes Facebook Page.)
Dan Sinnes is featured in Tattoo Artist Magazine #24:
(Crystal Morey works for Gomineko Books and is a contributing blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine. For more info on Gomineko Books please visit their website: www.gominekobooks.com.)