Words and opinions are what pushed Souvenir’s founders to begin creating opinion-wear, garments that express the unsaid, what they felt it needed to be said on political and social topics. Can you find a similarity in your decision of expressing your thoughts on other people’s skin (and your own) with tattoos?
No question. Weirdly enough I have discovered how powerful the human body as a canvas is. The people I work with devote their body to my thoughts, which is truly fascinating. In my opinion, getting something political tattooed is a big step. Tattoos, unlike clothes or paintings, can’t (really) be taken off just like that, sold or put in storage. I am always astonished and positively surprised by how far people are willing to go, letting me express my thoughts, my political views and ideas on their body.
You drew attention when you started “My Words Your Body", a project where people would trust you with deciding what to tattoo on their bodies. Do you think that the trust that leads people to allow you to tattoo them also drives the client and tattoo artist to establish somehow a psychological bond?
Trust is a must. Tattooing does not work without trust. The experience will not be as empowering, inspiring, if there is not a trusting relationship between the the two collaborators. With this I mean, that in order for both to have a good experience and thus a good result, the artist must feel comfortable with the person they are working with and vice versa. Most tattoos people regret are those where they did not have any connection with the person they got tattooed by. Without trust, tattooing can be a very impersonal act.
You recently moved form Berlin to Leipzig, a city known for its traditional artistic past. What was the reason behind this choice? Can we consider it a homage to our german creative roots?
The move was out of necessity. I had to leave my apartment quite quickly and Berlin is a city where you have to be lucky when it comes to finding a home, especially when you are a self employed young artist (with a dog). Leipzig, unlike Berlin, has space. A lot of space. Being born in Munich, which used to be in West Germany, I am now getting to know the East. Which is important for me to develop a better understanding of my country and its political situation.
This collaboration sees crewnecks and t-shirts replacing the bodies on which you tattoo your thoughts. Do you consider clothes a second skin, a tool of expressing each one’s opinions?
Clothes are defiantly a second skin. Each look is a statement, whether intended or not. It does not matter whether you are into fashion or have no conciseness at all, what you wear can provoke, inspire, challenge your surroundings. Clothes offer the possibility to make a statement, when you can’t show your skin.
Creative Direction - SOUVENIR OFFICIAL & Maison Hefner
Imagery - Maison Hefner