She may be fairly new to the industry but her work speaks a world of difference, especially in the black and grey realism side of things. We’re excited to introduce Lileen van den Berg as our featured Tattoo Artist – get to know a bit more about her here.
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Full name: Lileen van den Berg
Shop: Artrageous Tattoos
Years tattooing: 3 years tattooing
Tattoo style: Black and grey realism
Hourly rate: R1000 an hour
Give us some insight into your journey of becoming a full time tattoo artist?
I’ve always loved art and creating things but never really thought that becoming a tattoo artist could become a reality. After high school I went to go study LLB Law at Tuks and it wasn’t a life I could imagine. So I dropped out and started my tattooing career. Best decision ever. I don’t work a day in my life.
What about the industry inspired and intrigued you into pursuing this as a career?
It intrigued me that I could do a job where I can create an art piece on someone’s skin every day, and get paid for it. It was scary at first because I knew very little about the industry when I got started but I knew I wanted to do something I love, and I loved art the most. The fact that I could be 100% myself, create art and meet likeminded people inspired me to take the plunge.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
It’s difficult to always be inspired, but for me seeing someone else’s passion for something inspires me a lot. So I get a lot of my inspiration from music and other artists or artworks, and from my clients and the ideas they bring to the table.
Explain your experience of tattooing a client for the first time?
It was a good experience but extremely terrifying at the same time. Shook like a leaf. It took me about 3 hours to tattoo the little sentence. Luckily the client was super understanding and let me do my thing, slowly.
How would you best explain the vibe at Artrageous Tattoos?
The vibe is super happy, friendly and open, and it’s such a beautiful studio, very modern and tidy. So happy to tattoo my clients there. Always smiles and the best energy in that studio. I love Artrageous, the people there have become my family. It’s one of my favourite places to be.
What do you like to do to make sure you keep progressing as an artist?
I try to always stay busy and can’t go long without working. If I feel like I’m stagnating in an environment I make a change, that’s why I like to travel often. I stay my own biggest critique and think it’s important to see room for improvement as there always is. I like to be hard on myself and push myself to try new and challenging things
What does the tattoo industry mean to you?
It means the world to me. It’s the one place I can be myself and live my dream. I’ve met so many amazing people and I’m so grateful to be able to be a part of it.
Various fads come and go, especially in the tattoo world. What do you think the next fad is, or is going to be?
That’s really hard to say. It could be geometry, could also be blackouts. But maybe tigers and lions because lately I do them more often than anything.
What style of tattoo would you say you specialise in, and why?
I’d say black and grey realism for now. I love doing anything realistic but artsy portraits are definitely my favourite. Drawing in pen was usually my medium of choice so that’s probably why I prefer monochrome. I do want to get into some more colour in the future though.
Who are some of your favourite tattoo artists?
There are so many it’s difficult to narrow it down. I love @jayfreestyle’s work so much. @ilya_fom_43is also one of my favourites for his colour realism as well as Valentina Riabova (@val_tatboo) for her colour portraits. My favourite black and grey artist would be @samuraistandoff.
If you could do a collaboration piece with any of those artists, who would it be and why?
I wouldn’t feel good enough to tattoo with any of those artists but if I could choose, it would be @jayfreestyle. I love the size and layout of his work, and the random artsy elements he brings together to make incredible pieces.
Where do you see yourself as an artist in five years time?
Definitely traveling the world working as hard as I can. With that I’ll hopefully find a place to settle down and eventually open my own little shop.
For anyone wanting to book an appointment with you, what is the next step?
If you want to make a booking with me the best is usually to come see me personally at the studio or just drop me a WhatsApp on 0796926852 or DM (@lilyinksa) with your ideas and we take it from there.
Tattoos by Lileen van den Berg
Photos by Alexander Wolf Photography.