Hanging Out With... Louis Loveless
Known as much for his enigmatic nature as for his unique aesthetic, LOUIS LOVELESS is the British-born tattoo artist who lent his distinctive design hand to Browns Berlin’s custom immersive rooms, tattooing dozens of visitors over the course of the event. Taking a break from his red-lit studio, we hung out with Loveless to find out more about the man behind the ink.
Where are you from and how did you end up in Berlin?
I grew up in and around South London. Left London and found myself in Paris which I fell in love with very quickly. I have a healthy working relationship between Berlin and Paris at the moment. Healthy-ish…
What is it that you like about the two cities?
Paris is aesthetically beautiful, so if you’re in a creative industry it’s a good place to be because you’re surrounded by its visual influence. Berlin, I come here for a month and it always ends up turning into three months, but that’s just to burn out and let all the madness out. But Berlin has a lot of beauty in its hidden darkness as well.
What are your favourite spots in Berlin?
Usually chicken places.
What about Paris?
Paris is where my base is, and I have a big studio there for making music, books, sculpture, tattooing, everything. It’s very rare to have a space like that and I’m very lucky to be involved with that group of people. Likewise here in Berlin, being involved with people like Tim from Reference Studios, Euthanasia Agency, and the underground culture of what’s really happening here in this city. Missing out the hipster scene.
How would you describe your tattooing style?
I do a lot of glitch work, but this has kind of turned into a fad now, so I try not to get too involved with that. I’m into exploring the connection between LSD, psychedelics and cyber world. Like Adam Curtis’ Hypernormalisation, Albert Hofmann, The Matrix. There’s never been a time in history when things are happening so fast. Humanity is like this organism that is evolving so rapidly because of the collective global consciousness of the world right now.
“The best results are always the ones where you work closely with someone, instead of someone coming and saying they want this or that. I’m not working in a tattoo shop, you know? It’s not a nine-to-five.”
Do you use Instagram?
I did have Instagram and I gained a huge following on that, but I found I became in a bit of a loop. It became quite regressive and counterproductive. I needed to have a fresh start, so I deleted that and moved on.
What are the other projects you do alongside tattooing?
There are a lot of things in the works right now but I don’t really want to talk about it, because the products and actions speak louder than words.
And if you talk about something too much you never do it, right?
Exactly. The art of silence.
Which artists do you admire?
I’ve been asked this question before and I could list off a lot of human inspirations, but I’m trying not to think too much about what’s already been achieved by a human. I’m trying to think outside of that and create something of what I want to be doing.
When someone comes to you to get tattooed, how far do you advise them?
I think now it’s about people coming to you for what you do. You can get stuck in this loop of someone seeing something that was good in your work two years ago, and then they kind of want the same thing, but you’re always trying to progress. I prefer working with people who are more open in terms of placement, design, communicating together. The best results are always the ones where you work closely with someone, instead of someone coming and saying they want this or that. I’m not working in a tattoo shop, you know? It’s not a nine-to-five.
What have you learned from your experience?
Tattooing is a very ritualistic and almost spiritual experience sometimes. If you’re not in a good headspace, I would even say don’t tattoo the person, because the end result is never good. I’m really wary of this now. It’s quite a weird process to be that close with people all the time.
Can you talk a bit about the designs you created for Browns Berlin?
Tim shouted at me and I just drew some shit that I thought was cool! Since deleting my old account, I was looking back at all my archive work, and seeing what I liked personally, seeing what was popular, and what was even more relevant to this current generation and even the younger generation.
Do you have a particular symbol that you come back to?
Yeah, I’m quite fascinated by extreme human experience. Or non-human experience.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Don’t ask. (laughs)
Describe yourself in three words.
Muay Thai, Pitbulls and Gucci.
What was the last thing that you bought?
Don’t ask. (laughs)
Jusqu'ici Tout Va Bien.
I vouch for Kingsley Ifill and Quentin Euverte.
Your favourite spot in Berlin?
An undisclosed location in the upside down church of chaos.
If you were a fictional character who would you be?
Photography by Jonathan Middleton
Styling by Emma Hargadon
Interview by Georgia Graham