(Photo by: Annegret Arnold)
I met Adriaan years ago when I was living in Berlin. I want to say it was December 2008. It was the Berlin tattoo convention and I was on the hunt for a new artist to work with. I saw him across the crowded space and I knew. “That guy, he’s the one. Let’s hope he’s a good artist”.
We made an appointment and I think we got along instantly. Adrian is from Mexico City and I from Ventura, California. We could talk art. music, beer, tacos, and the occult.
As an artist I wanted to get a collector’s piece that the tattoo artist was able to create and really dive into what they wanted to do. I had a loose theme of the Day of the Dead because I missed the large Mexican and South American culture I was raised around. I feel like this is a gift to any artist, which allows them to make wonderful tattoos. I was correct when I intuitively found him. Adriaan makes powerful tattoos.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration for tattoos?
A: I get inspired mostly by painters and art styles: my favorite style is “art nouveau” created by the mystique Czech Republic artist Alfons Mucha (which was known to be a high degree free mason and interested in esoterism).
I’ve been also inspired by classic European painters of the Renaissance, Baroque and the pre-Raphaelites. Especially, the latest ones, because they not only painted beautiful art on canvas but they also included esoteric symbols and meanings in their paintings.
As I was growing up in Mexico I was fascinated by the paintings of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and all the Mexican muralists like Siqueiros and Camarena. They were a huge inspiration for me.
Q: What did you study in school, and how does that effect you as an artist and the work you make?
A: I studied Ethnology in the university, which was an amazing and truly inspiring time. I had the chance to travel to remote places and be in contact with indigenous people. It showed me that having a good heart as well as kindness are beautiful values.
I also had the chance to visit a shaman and went into a ceremony with hallucinogenic mushrooms which the mazatec Indigenous people use for spiritual and consciousness awareness.
That opened a whole new level up for me. It was the start of believing in my journey. It helped me decide a trip which lead me to live in Europe where I started tattooing.
Q: You have a ton of symbolism in your work. Can you tell us about what some if these symbols are?
A: At the beginning I started using esoteric symbols in my tattoos more connected to witchery. Growing up in Mexico I was in contact with witches, sorcerers, satanism and shamanism. People there believe in magic, spirits and the esoteric on a daily basis. Often you will see rituals performed, which is what got me very interested in the esoteric arts. I was fascinated with all of it.
I spent many years upset about the Cristian religious wars against witches, paganism, shamanism and indigenous spiritual knowledge. This is why I used anti-christian, or pagan/alchemist symbols as a sign of rebellion and rebirth of ancient wisdom.
After some time I got interested in numerology and cosmology as well, which I found fascinating. I always liked numbers as symbols and I completely identified with the number 7.
Some of its meanings are: the bridge between the material world and the esoteric world, the soul connection between woman and man, and the force that creates life in the universe. This is when I started incorporating numbers and esoteric symbols into all of my tattoos. It started making a change in me and my customers.
Q: My personal experience with your tattoos are they hold a lot of power. What sort of intention do you have while working on these tattoos? Would you consider this a form of shamanism or magick?
A: I believe that symbols are powerful and in any kind of arts they add aura and a spirit to the final work. Tattooing is an intense form of art involving, blood, pain and belief; which are usually found in rituals. Therefore, it can be a powerful tool to open doors, protect, cleanse energies and expand consciousness. I believe in spirituality as a way to help others on their journey. So, in my own experience, tattooing is indeed a form of shamanism and magick.
Something very interesting to me is that many tattooers I know got into the same type of symbolism and esoteric knowledge. It feels like an ancient tradition, making its way through the new blood of modern shamans. This is evident to me because it has definitely helped others, as well as myself to expand consciousness.
Q: Where do you like to see yourself in the future, either in your art or travels?
The last few years years I’ve been trying to go with the flow by following my intuition and my heart. It is really hard to say what the future will bring. I always love traveling and meeting new people, and I recently rediscovered my love for Asian and eastern cultures and spiritual traditions. I will try to spend more time there and see how my purpose develops in the future.
Q: We saw you had some clothing released. Do you have anymore plans for these collaborations and where can we find these?
A: I love collaborating with friends or young talents, so whenever somebody ask me I’m happy doing something together either clothing, paintings or rituals. So most of these pieces are a limited edition of items which I don’t even have nor I have ever seen! haha! But, I truly appreciate that people like my art.
Q: Where are you currently working out of? and where can we find you?
A: I’m most of the time tattooing in Germany, England and all around Europe, either in guest spots or tattoo conventions.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thank you Keven Craft Ritual and Erika for a long friendship and inspiration. And, to everybody reading this interview and trusting their magick and intuition.
You are the change in this world. Thank you for being yourself.
Love and magick,
Creator, Curator and Writer of THOT & Owner of Keven Craft Rituals, galley and boutique of handmade skincare products & metaphysical boutique in Eugene, OR. Erika is a fine artist, mother, lover of beer and a former roller derby player.