by Kristian Misser Photos courtesy of Henning Jorgensen
From the November 2007 issue of PRICK Magazine
The first time Henning Jorgensen became interested in
tattoos was at the age of thirteen, he started his
career at the age of eighteen, and worked his way up
in the Danish and international tattoo scene to become one
of the most highly regarded tattoo artists in the world.With
over fifty international tattoo prizes won, he is well known
for his Japanese tattoos which have been displayed for years
in various tattoo magazines. He is still on the go and busier
then ever, but never so hung up, that he canít take time to
do an interview.
Kristian: Hi Henning! Thanks for taking your
time to squeeze this interview into your all
booked calendar. Do you never get stressed
just by looking at your calendar?
Henning: Oh yah! My calendar can seem very booked,
but it is my own choice so in some ways it would be
wrong of me to complain. Often the things just get very
busy and projects sometimes have tendencies to give
birth to new projects, so yes. My book is full.
When entering your shop one of the first things hitting you is your many
pieces of flash on the wall with your name on it.
When I do tattoos I usually start up with a drawing of the piece, so the customer can get an idea
of what to expect from me. Some of those drawings are ending up in flash sets. I really like to draw
and tryout new techniques before doing them as tattoos. Often I sit too late at night and draw
and even though that Iím very tired and should go to bed, I just can't help it. It is a kind of mental
cleaning process as well, to sit and draw in the quietness of the night when everybody else is sleeping.
You got all the time in the world to think things through without anybody calling out your name
or asking for something.
Some of the other things that is very notable in your shop,
is the Japanese art in your shops as well as your photo
album is filled up with Japanese tattoos. Why do Japanese
tattoos play such a big part in your life as a tattoo artist?
Iím really into the Japanese tattoo. Japanese tattoos are easy to read and at
the same time you can tell a story by the contents of the tattoo. In so many
ways you can personify a Japanese tattoo after the wishes of the customer
and his or her own history. You can also interpret a Japanese tattoo in many
ways, which I feel is much more exciting.
When you look at the calendar on your website, it is clear
that you have lots of guest artists visiting as well as you like
to do guest spots around the world?
Henning: Yeah! I really like doing guest spots and getting artist from all over
the world to be working in my shop for a while. I think it is very important
to go out and get new experience as a tattoo artist and as a human being.
You can always learn from other tattoo artists, how they going about the
whole thing regarding tattoos, but it [is] also very important for me to learn
from other cultures. Every time I have visited other cultures far from the
Danish and western culture I [bring] so much with me home. Things that in
many ways is shaping me to become a more understanding individual. Your
toolbox will never get full neither as a tattoo artist or human being.
You are known as a big international
name in tattooing and
live in Denmark, a country with
only 5 million citizens. Is there
any kind of mixed emotions?
First of all, I am very proud of being
called a big international name, but really
it isn't something that I'm thinking
about in my daily work. It is just a little
part of me in general as a tattoo artist. I
really like Denmark and it is a very nice
place to get home to when I have been
out travelling the world. There isn't
mixed emotions here.
Your name seems to be on very
big tattoo convention billboards.
What is your approach
to tattoo conventions and what
do you get out of it?
I really love conventions and the fact
that it is a good opportunity to meet up
with friends from far away places is just
great. I also like the challenge to work
on conventions. There is no hiding and
no excuses. Often people are standing on others toes to get a view of the tattoo artist
while the artist is working on a tattoo that the customer has been looking forward to
for months. Then the thought, "What the hell have I got myself into," is very likely to
appear. In the end I just love tattoo conventions.They just give you so much energy and
drain you twice as much. It is a funny thing, right!
A final question. How do you see the evolution of the tattoo and what
are your fears and hopes?
The tattoo is always in some kind of development whether it is Japanese tattoos or
something else. I remember when I was a young kid in the eighties, where I was so overwhelmed
by the things that was created on the tattoo scene. Today these tattoos are
nothing compared to the things that is getting done now. At the same time I'm a little
worried about some of the things that is getting done. Today there is a show about a
tattoo shop and the last thing I heard was another show is on the way. Somewhere I can
get worried about the exposure that the tattoo world is getting. We have to be careful
not to get overexposed to a degree where it gets boring and clichť.