Charles Huurman is an award-winning tattoo artist based in New York and Texas. He has specialized in tattoo techniques such as Surrealism and Hyper-realism. He is the owner, CEO, and a tattoo artist at Art Hackers and Utopian Tattoo Tribe.
Charles Huurman was raised in Spain (Valencia) and Ireland. He became quite a successful businessman (a spa and a real estate agency owner) when he was just 21 years old. He currently lives in New York and travels all over the world to spread his talent for creating wonderful tattoos. Presently, he works in three tattoo studios, “Inkology Tattoo Art Gallery” in New York (NY), “Aura IV Tattoo Gallery” in Austin (TX), and “Utopian Tattoo Tribe” in Valencia (Spain).
He admits to making some bad decisions and due to some economic crisis that he had to suffer a huge loss and had to shift his focus. He was inspired by his friend and his cousin, who although did not earn very well, were top of their fields. He quickly knew that he wanted to have the exact same thing and make his career in things that he loved. He wanted to follow his passion without caring about money or status. The answer to his calling was – painting.
Ready for a new start and a different approach to my career, I decided to embark in something I truly loved and turn it into something I could live on and enjoy at the same time. Therefore, I asked myself “What did I ever do for fun that could be of any value to make a living?”. The only answer I could find was painting.
He was a bit skeptical at first as his father, who was a painter himself, couldn’t make much of a living as a painter. However, for Charles it was different as he had already lost too much to lose any future. Soon he began taking interest in his friend’s tattoos as he drew some samples for them which they would quickly convert into tattoos.
The concept was very powerful, what better way of getting appreciation for your art than people having it on their body forever? This alone made me start a journey that changed my life!
But besides just making a mark on someone’s body forever, he was also excited to be traveling and meeting new people almost every single day. He says that he was also enthralled by the fact that you can get work quite easily by showing your existing portfolio. He started his work as a dot work artist and then transitioned to realism. Now, he would say that he is not a realist anymore and would call his art “abstract realism” or avant-garde. He also likes the horror style because it has a great sense of energy. He likes that they are eye-catchy.
He initially opened his tattoo studio in Kilkenny, Ireland and he wanted to grow it bigger, he wanted to do it in Dublin but then he changed his mind. He opened a studio where he was born and raised – Valencia, Spain.
The first tattoo that he did he calls a real “fuck up” was a cover-up of a tribal tattoo on the skull.
He got his first tattoo done when he was just 16. However, he got it all covered up later on.
His main goal in the tattoo business is to research and get his hands on something that would be beneficial for running tattoo studios. He wants to have a specific software made just for the tattoo industry. Moreover, he would also like to see a coalition of tattoo artists who could defend the industry from multinationals.
We are welcoming these multinationals because they are bringing a heavy investment into the industry but we need to keep the things that make beautiful this industry, we need to keep them safe so we actually need a good association or something that unites tattoo artists and studios to keep our values and freedoms so we don’t become overruled by all these multinationals or governments who want to make inks illegal and they want to make stupid rules that are not really necessary just because they want to control us.
He says that his inspiration is his father who is also a painter. His second inspiration is Dmitriy Samohin who according to him is the best realist in the world. He has worked with him too in the past and he can guarantee when it comes to the professionalism that he has to offer. His perfection inspires him. Besides him, he is also inspired by Csaba Müllner who was the first artist that he saw who mixed abstract with realism.
Once, he was also asked if he had a chance to be any tattoo artist for the day, who he would like to be? His response was very straightforward and clear as he had not just thought about the artist but also about which era he would be in too. He says,
I would love to be Filip Leu in the 80s in Ibiza when he had the Leu Family Studio in the center of Ibiza island. Everything was kind of hippie and some of the best artists in the world would travel to that forest in the middle of that beautiful island to tattoo with Filip Leu who, for me, is like the Jesus Christ of tattooing. A true living legend.
He is also inspired by Nikko Hurtado.
But he doesn’t only have a favorite tattoo artist but also a tattoo convention. He loves Mondial du Tatouage in Paris which according to him is the most organized convention. The second spot goes to the Hong Kong Convention.
His favorite body part to tattoo is the inside lower arm because that’s where you can get the best skin and position for tattooing and it heals perfectly too. He also likes to do sleeves. However, he hates to do elbows and nipples.
His favorite tattoo is the one which he did on his friend, Roy, from Limmerick because he had a lot of freedom and he felt it was quite creative.
He also does a lot of female-inspired tattoos not just because he wants to do a sexy portrait but rather a strong one. He says the inspiration behind these tattoos is his mother and his sister.
I’ve got a strong Irish mother who was head of a business and a leader. My sister has been like my mother to, always putting me in my place with tough love. I grew up with those two role models. I always go not just for females. In my tattoos I don’t go for the sexy, nice ones. I go for the confident, strong warrior ones! And I know it’s mainly because my sister is also my hero, she is also a businesswoman who chases her dreams.
Needless to say, Charles Huurman has traveled the world as a guest artist in many renowned tattoo studies. Some of the tattoo studios include:
Chris has been awarded more than 53 awards since he started in 2008. Some of the awards are mentioned below:
Location on Google Maps:
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