Tattooer Ade Stacey Portrait incorporated in the text of Tattoo Kulture Magazine

Adrian Stacey talk about Horimono and Art

Trends are good, but quickly lose the touch with the times. Quality and ideals mixed with tradition keep there worth! Adrian is a highly intelligent quick mover but keeps in touch with the world by keeping a traditional base. Striving for perfection, yet characteristic. Brilliant! 

Gladly you can read part of the talk between Adrian Stacey and Gordon Claus for your courtesy. Please read (written in German) the full interview in the issue 38 of Tattoo Kulture Magazine. 

…Most tattooed people didn’t find it edgy enough and the locals assumed it was an art gallery. Thankfully I always had enough work, but it confirmed what I suspected, that tattooing and the gallery art scene don’t mix well. At least not yet for most people, but I do see some light with various other people trying it. I hope they succeed, tattooing deserves to be taken seriously by the art establishment.

I remember which impact your book had on my career. The free style of drawing. Probably a big factor in what represents you right?

As with many things in my life I started to creatively drift. I allowed myself to be sidetracked by things that ultimately would be of no consequence or dead ends. I imagine I’m not alone in that… I envy people that can stay true to one vision, forsaking everything else. After several months of confusing myself with other possibilities, I eventually returned  ‘home’ and felt I could finally start work on a second book. This time I sat down and worked diligently every spare minute I had. Whilst it was sometimes tiring, I learned a lot about my workflow, and how to manage my time better. After 9 months of hard work, the book was ready for Al (Gentlemen’s Tattoo Flash) to work his magic.

After working on the book I needed a break and whilst on a trip to see my family I took a small sketchbook and some oil pastels. Just to see if the old ‘muscles’ of oil painting ere still there. Of course, that leads to an 18-month voyage of re-discovery. I painted pure abstract and abstract painting as if possesed!! I began to have a small amount of success, making a few sales. I put on a couple of solo shows and really looked into making painting my main source of income. Unfortunately, I lost my painting space and I haven’t had the space to paint since last summer. However, it’s something I will be returning too, I get a huge amount of pleasure from creating with true freedom.

That’s exactly what it’s about, tattooing is also about creating freedom. I can ask myself why people go and get tattooed? What’s the deal?

I think so, but it’s freedom within a recognised structure or group. A tattoo becomes a graphic shorthand for shared ideals, within the framework of personal expression of course. It is also a self-removal of the wearer from other sectors of society. It’s certainly something I see in most of my customers, I would say that people getting Japanese style work, relate to the ideals of Japnese culture, or the East in general, at least on a subconscious level.

You became extremely good and realistic tattooing? Black and gray seems to be your second fortune. Does your painting have any things to do with this ability?)

If you ask me about my realism work. I came to it by the need to do it in the beginning. I was asked to do a portrait of a customer’s son because no one else in the shop could or wanted to. I did some research and remembered studying the drawings of the Renaissance masters at university. So sat down and sweated through the tattoo, in the end, all was good and I slowly built up my skill set. It’s very much a technique and I find I can put aside my desires and copy to the best of my ability. It’s good to sharpen my skills and I always enjoy the process.

Outside of my artistic endeavors but not entirely separated from them, I’m interested in philosophy, psychology, storytelling/myth, all the light subjects (laughing) From an early age I was a keen observer of human behavior, precocious, serious and overconfident in my intellectual abilities. Time has mellowed my harsher opinions on humanity, but the quest for ‘truth’ is keener than ever.

What does your future Bring you? Any plans?

I will be moving to Hungary this summer and I’m looking forward to spreading the word on traditional Japanese style tattooing in that part of the world. There will be a new sketchbook coming later in the year, published by Gentlemen’s Tattoo Flash and I’m looking forward to work in Germany again. Keep an eye on my website and Instagram for all the news.

If you’ve met me in person you will know I can be pretty intense, I like to work hard, and play hard. Remember, life is short, squeeze out every last drop, for tomorrow may never come.

You have just touched base with quite a few different themes. I guess the tattooing has a lot to do with the thought behind it. Thinking and philosophy is a big process.

Certainly it is tough to be on point with each style that you are developing. I see that you are doing with oil a lot! Meditation?

Yeah, I would say thinking is a big part of all aspects of my life. In the days of social media, I think it’s important to engage in active thought as much as possible. Instead of spending time jogging along in life, and not fully immersing yourself in it. I prefer to be an active player in my life story and not just coast along with the herd. It’s good to ‘swim’ against the current and challenge yourself.  It’s hard to put in words, but I love learning and knowledge for its own sake.

I don’t meditate, but I do seem to have a natural ability to be in the moment. I want to devote myself fully to whatever I might be doing, and when it’s over move on. I see it a lot in my 8-year-old, intense focus, then dropping an activity when it’s no longer fulfilling. I’m now able to move between the activities I enjoy as I need. For example, after several months of energetic work, drawing for the new book is coming to an end. As my energy for developing concepts lowers, my desire to paint strengthens. I’ve learned to follow my creative cycles, meaning I stay motivated and ultimately satisfied.

Are creativity and spirituality a mix? Are you spiritual?

Hmm, that’s a deeply complex question! I think people will debate both sides of the answer for a long time.

Some might say I have spiritual leanings, but I think I have a rational approach to life. An example would be “does this action end in the best possible result of all the outcomes” not just for me as an individual but for everyone affected. Understanding how interconnected we are has helped me become more thoughtful about my actions. As a parent, I’ve learned the value of putting aside my own needs from time to time for the benefit of my family. I’ve got a strong social conscience, I understand the place of an ordered society, but recognize the need for individual expression. I’m not sure that answers your question?

Artist or a craftsman?

I’m both, rolled into one (laughing) It’s unimportant if I’m either of those things. I consider them to be broadly the same thing. Labels are something I have very little interest in, and they limit you in action and thought, why put barriers on yourself in that way? I also consider labels to be status symbols, another form of cultural elitism that holds no real value. If I’m satisfied with the way I’m spending my time creatively, I consider myself winning at life.

In that sense it help me to identify that you are quite productive and efficient in your work and art.

I took a look and read in the way your tattooing looks that you do not lose any time while you are working. You can see that everybody’s work who has ability to concentrate and shorter or longer periods of time. Totally read that you are on point with body and mind!

Good for you!

Hey Ade, ending the interview we could also talk about your top five inspirations? top five tattoos of all time, top five artists of all time, your favorite who are they?

Theres are too many artists to name that have influenced me. I find inspiration in everything, comics, film, paintings, tattoos, you name it and I’ve probably seen something that’s given me an idea at one point.

If you want a top 5 type of thing, I’ll let you know my current favourite recording artists. Music is incredibly important to me and is essential when I’m drawing and painting.

Larkin Poe

Billy Strings

Ghost

Dessa

Cult of Luna

So I understand that the correct music will inspire the feel of your art or tattooing.

(Heavy drum sound or light flute, makes a difference?)

Absolutely, the sound gives a different vibe. And that will give you an impulse on how quick you are going to be drawing or how slow you are going to be doing. The motion of your hand is also different…

Tattooer Ade Stacey Portrait incorporated in the text of Tattoo Kulture Magazine
Ade Stacey portrait
Acryl painting depicting the Japanese goddess of music, Benzaiten with dragon
Benzeiten with dragon