When Schiffer Publishing told me that they had a copy of my friend André van Zomeren’s book, Dutch Tattoo Studios, to give me, I got super excited instantly. I’ve known André for a while now, and I’ve even briefly worked on some small projects for him. He’s the go-to-guy for anything to do with the Netherlands and tattooing, so I knew this book would be great.
This book actually came out in 2011, but I see no harm in talking about it now. The book itself is pretty Ronseal, really- the cream of the crop of Dutch tattooers are al featured in this book, with no other unnecessary bullshit. Schiffmacher & Veldhoen are in it; Seven Seas are in it; Inkstitution are in it. It really seems like everyone in the area has really come together for this book.
That in itself is actually pretty cool- when you have a load of tattooers in one place, it’s inevitable that some people will get huffy about certain things. You’re actually, in some places, likely to hear, “I don’t want to be in this book; the guy down the street is in it”, or “If you put my work next to that guy I used to work with, then you might as well not put me in at all”. It’s not specific to tattooers; pretty much anyone who works in a similar job like this gets to know who’s around and who they do and don’t like. Some people are a little more stubborn than others. With this book, though, it seems like everyone has said ‘fuck it’, and all joined in. It’s great to see the cool kinds of things that can be achieved when everyone puts their ego aside and participates.
The book is really cool in how it’s laid out. It’s quite a big book, which gives loads of space to really get close in with those photos. The quality of the photos is insane too- you feel like you could reach out and touch some of the tattoos in this book! They’re so detailed, and the whole size and format of the book lets you look so closely at the work and see why it’s so great. Everything has a simple black background, and every photo fills the page. There isn’t even much text in this either really- it lets the tattooing speak for itself. I think that’s really cool, especially when we seem to be at a time where everyone wants to be some kind of tattooed philosopher; trying to figure out why people get tattoos, or why someone has a certain one, or what it means to everyone else. That shit gets boring. This is just great solid work, and that’s what makes this book fantastic.
If you live in the Netherlands, or near to it, this is an essential book for you. I can’t see why you could choose a tattooer that isn’t in this book, if you’re close enough to them. If you don’t live near the Netherlands, I can assure you that you’ll find this book just as fascinating, and you’ll love being able to take a look at what the flat land of windmills and clogs has to offer. You can buy this book by clicking here!