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Jasmine Rollason
Interview by: Jasmine Rollason Friday 30 March 2018
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Artist Interview - Claudia De Sabe

Claudia De Sabe has a unique and innovative style, blending elements of Western Traditional and Japanese tattoo together to form her signature look. Always with a project on the go, Claudia is one of the talented artists behind our poster campaign having created a beautiful piece using these trademark elements. This week, The London Tattoo Convention chats to Claudia to find out more...

How long have you been tattooing and where did your journey begin?

I started out in Italy 12 years ago, I had a pretty crappy apprenticeship for a year and then did some home tattooing until I got to work in a different town in a well-established shop. I remained there for just a few months, then I moved to London and started to tattoo here.

You have developed a truly distinctive style mixing Western Traditional and Japanese elements. How has your approach evolved throughout your career?

I have always been attracted to Japanese tattooing, most of the tattoos on my body are actually Japanese style. I think there's something really strong about the imagery and the look of it that attracted me, especially the 1980's style. At the same time though, I am really aware that I'm a Westerner, my upbringing isn't Japanese and I don't feel like I need to make up for it, that's why I never wanted a ‘Hori’ name. I also just love tattooing in all it's different styles and you know, I was taught from the beginning that a good tattooer should be able to do everything, so I did for the first 4 or 5 years of my journey. Then I mainly did custom work and at some stage, somewhere down the line, I just started to mix Western Traditional and Japanese together and to just have fun with it! I always try to bring something personal and different even to a classic design. 

What is your favourite subject matter to tattoo?

I really enjoy everything... Snakes, women, dragons, flowers and geisha, I think these are in my top ten. Those subjects always make me happy! 

Outside of tattooing, where do you seek inspiration?

I think I actually get most of my inspirations outside of tattooing. I love, love, love 1800’s everything, whether it's Japanese, European or American; painting, sculpture or architecture. Anything from back then seems to have some sort of magic that really talks to me. 

Those familiar with your work will know that you always have an extracurricular project on the go; we've seen you curating exhibitions, completing mammoth painting projects such as the Zodiac series and creating the artwork for the latest London Tattoo Convention poster. Which of your artistic projects has been the most rewarding and can you tell us about any recent or future projects? 

I think they all meant and still mean something to me. I'm very aware that everything I have done so far has somehow helped me to get to where I am right now and I'm so thankful for that. Completing the Zodiac series was hard and challenging, I'm not the best at sticking to something and seeing it through all the way. I find it somewhat difficult to keep my concentration and excitement for something for long enough to see it finished. It's different with tattooing because it's not all about me, it's about the customers too… But if it's just my own work, my head runs so fast that I'm off with another project before the one I'm doing is completed!

Right now, I'm trying to bring together my exhibition of the Zodiac series, ‘Jupiter's Daughters’, at The Bricks, a wonderful jewellery store in East London. The original paintings will be displayed from the 6th of October for about a week. Everything will also be for sale. After that, I think a book and another bigger exhibition will be in the making… And I'm very excited about them!