Inkmen Tattoos

“Our bodies were printed as blank pages to be filled with the ink of our hearts” ~ Michael Biondi

By In Life, Photography

On August 12th, 2019, it happened. I got out of bed like every morning to go to work, stepped into the shower, and then it hit me. NO! Not like this. I can’t go on. Too tired to get through the day, stressed beyond belief, hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks, and so on and so on. I experienced what they call a burn-out. And a decent one.

My doctor ordered me to stay home and get some much-needed rest to recuperate. Which I did. It was time to think about me and do cool stuff.

Close up of a tattoo being done
Stan Inkmen, Tattoo artist

Inkmen Tattoos

As I had enough time on my hands and was supposed to do cool stuff, I decided to finally visit Inkmen Tattoos again, a tattoo studio, which is very near my house. I’m not one to walk into a tattoo studio without wanting to make an appointment, but I knew some of the guys working there from my youth, had visited before during a flash day and their 5th anniversary, which I was asked to take photos of, so I decided to just walk in and say hi again.

Bas van den Braak, Tattoo artist
A detail shot of Inkmen Tattoos interior

The atmosphere there is very relaxed, open, and welcoming. Of course, tattoo studios are cool places, and I’d visited several, but somehow, this felt like home right away. So I started visiting more often, drink a couple of beers with the guys and just had a good time. They also were fine by me shooting some photos here and there, so that was extra cool! Shooting in a cool environment and being able to shoot in my documentary style, right up my alley!

Since then, I’ve done quite a bit of shooting at Inkmen, and, became part of the crew. During the weekends, I started working as a floor manager next to my “daytime job” and am giving people advice on their tattoos while learning quite a lot about tattoos and the art of tattooing. And there’s still a lot to learn!

Richard "Devil's Backbone", Tattoo artist
Inkmen made with love

Other cool stuff

What I love about Inkmen Tattoos is that it’s all about creativity. And even though I’m not a tattoo artist, I can be creative there as well. Next to shooting when I’m there, we also decided to do some other cool stuff. I shot some portraits of the guys, which I really like. As I normally like documentary-style, environmental portraits, I wanted to do something different, more classic Rembrandt-light portraits, with flash against a black backdrop. The guys at Inkmen were happy to do this with me.

4 square portraits of Inkmen tattoo artists

Another project we’re contemplating on is portraying people that get tattoos, along with a little story about, or from them. Loosely based on “Humans of New York“, but then, just visitors of this cool studio in the south of the Netherlands.

Moving forward

So how am I now? It’s been almost 2 years since my burn-out started. I’ve switched my daytime job to a really cool company, started working less, and having more free time, and have been working at Inkmen in my free time. An extra job after a burn-out, you say? Yes indeed. For one, working at Inkmen doesn’t feel like a job, but like a get-together with friends. Every week again. So I see it as very useful spending of my free time. My daytime job actually doesn’t feel like work either. I love what I do there, I feel heard, and I have more free time, as said.

Mitch Stoot, Tattoo artist
Streetview from Inkmen Tattoos

So all in all, I got out of that burn-out ok! Mainly thanks to myself, and for changing my life around (and I continue work on that), friends and family that have been there, and not in the least to the friendships and cool times I have at Inkmen Tattoos.

If you want to check out their work, here are some links to Facebook and Instagram profiles of the studio and the artists. Or just come by the Studio on a saturday to have a chat or make an appointment.

Inkmen on Facebook
Inkmen on Instagram
Stan Vingerhoed on Instagram
Bas van den Braak on Instagram
Richard Jansen (Devil’s Backbone) on Instagram
Mitch Stoot on Instagram

~ B.B.

Written by Bas

Photographer, traveler, lover of black coffee, red wine and gin & tonic. Wearer of black glasses and a black hat, always a camera in hand, and the occasional writer.

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