Having has recently joined the Fallen Heroes family, we catch up with the talented Mich Mulder to get some insight on her Tattoo Artist career, her style of work and more…
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Full name: Mich Mulder
Shop: Fallen Heroes
Years tattooing: 6
Tattoo style: Fine line, delicate, illustrative, intricate, micro-realism vibes
Hourly rate: R1200
Give us some insight into your journey of becoming a tattoo artist?
I started embracing my artistic roots in my early adult years. I was producing and selling a style of art called pyrography and had a lot of people enquire about tattoo designs.
I saw tattoo artists as their own creative entity and thought if my work resonated with people that much perhaps it was an avenue I should consider getting into. I started my apprenticeship shortly after and never looked back.
What drives your passion for the trade?
The constant evolution of the craft. I get bored very easily and I feel that once I manage to do something well I usually move along. This career path has been one of the greatest gifts as I am constantly inspired, pushing boundaries, feeding off of artists around me, being challenged and evolving. I don’t think any tattoo artist should ever be entirely comfortable. There’s always so much more to learn and new heights to progress to.
Growing up, what was your outlook on tattoos and how has that changed over the years?
My mom got her first tattoo when I was 9 and my late Stepdad had quite a few. There wasn’t the general stigma attached to them for me growing up – I was fascinated by them but never actually wanted any of my own. My dad is super anti, and coming from a super Afrikaans background most of the family can’t wrap their heads around how my mom and I look the way we do [laughs].
Explain the experience of doing your first tattoo?
Wow, terrifying! I decided I was going to tattoo myself after hours one night – this was Thee night! My mentor asked me what I had in mind and smirked when I told him. I remember setting up, sticking the stencil and then getting ready to start. Pulling the first line was like learning to hold a pen or write for the first time all over again. I learnt to tattoo with coil machines and I’m grateful for that because I feel it taught me a great deal of control. I remember looking up at him and saying “I feel like I literally have no control over what I’m doing” – that’s what it feels like when you first start tattooing.
I think I cried after all of my tattoos in the beginning [laughs]. I’m such a perfectionist and it was a challenge for me to be such a novice.
What was the defining moment when you knew this was the career choice for you?
Don’t think I ever felt good enough in the beginning and it didn’t feel easy but I certainly couldn’t get enough. I would be at the shop till 10/11 at night and go home and draw from there.
I’m still super inspired to do more and push my art even to this day. My phone gallery is filled with references and when I’m not actually drawing for or tattooing a client I’m drawing flash or thinking about what I want to push next. It’s a constant evolution and I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve “completed” my journey – that’s what I love about this job.
What does a day in your life usually consist of?
Coffee, lots of coffee! I wake up pretty early, it takes me a good couple of hours for my gears to kick in so I’m generally up at around 6AM (4AM if I’m teaching a yoga class in the morning before work).
I get to work, make a coffee, finish setting up for my client. When they get in I prep sizes, stick the stencil and get tattooing. I generally graft non-stop till close and then I head home, take it easy and get back to work (designing, etc) at around 7PM. I’m totally lights out at around 10:30PM. I’m basically a granny that works very hard [laughs].
How do you like to make sure you keep progressing as an artist?
Asking questions. I’m always asking artists how they would do something or why they do it that way. I don’t come from a traditional art background so I’ve had to do a lot of, figuring it out as I go, and it think that’s paved the way forward for me to find new, unique and creative ways of doing things, so I’m really open to adapting and taking little pockets of wisdom from each artist as I go. I think everyone has had to do some figuring out and has some value and insight to offer.
I also love to see artists progressing and pushing the bar higher – it motivates me to continually elevate my own skills and art.
What does it mean to you to be working out of Fallen Heroes?
I cannot express how deeply honoured I feel to have been approached to be a part of this team. It very quickly started to feel like home. I feel so supported, appreciated and valued in this space. It’s been really great for me as an artist because when my head is in a good space I am inspired and can focus on producing good work. The team is absolutely wonderful and I honestly look forward to going in every day.
What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most and why?
I never thought I’d be a colour artist but I totally love the micro realism pieces I do. I also really enjoy doing small black and grey realism. I love tattooing line work and line based pieces. I’m inspired by nature and if all I get to tattoo for the rest of my life is plants, bugs and other natural creatures, I’ll be so happy. I’d like to be known as the David Attenborough of tattooing [laughs].
Where do you see your tattooing career taking you?
I would love to travel with my career and to continue being inspired by the spaces and artists around me. There are artists around the world doing mind bending work and there is still so much to learn!
Given the opportunity to tattoo any famous person, who would it be and why?
Eeeek! I have an outrageously massive crush on Matthew McConaughey. I would tattoo him for no reason other than the fact that I have an obscene school girl crush on him.
For anyone wanting to book an appointment with you, what’s the next step?
I’m notoriously terrible with my phone (show me a tattoo artist who isn’t, [laughs]). With our hands in gloves most days and all the behind the scenes “go-go-go”, the admin team at Fallen Heroes are literal angels in my life.
You’ll be far more successful sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the studio to book a consultation than you will be trying to message me personally!
Tattoos by Mich Mulder
Photos by Alexander Wolf Photography.