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Klaus Husum; Danish ”Old Timers” Vol. 6:

Klaus Husum; Danish ”Old Timers” Vol. 6:
October 23
13:27 2017

Klaus Husum; From Early Days To Magoo Tattoo:

Today Klaus Husum is 55 years old and the proud owner of his prestigious studio, Magoo Tattoo.
However, Klaus started out back in the 80’s where he apprenticed under Hans (previously mentioned on our site). So he had his start on Jagtvej in Copenhagen, Denmark. He had his start together with Niels from Colorblind tattoo later on, in Aarhus Tattoo Center in 91.

This studio was the first he owned, together with Niels. But later on in the new millennia, he opened Magoo Tattoo, where he still works today. Not only has Klaus been a part of the old days of Danish Tattooing, but he was also one of the founding members of DTL (Danish Tattoo Guild).

Klaus himself, at work on a sleeve.

You Gotta Persevere, Dig In and Keep Evolving:

Klaus himself says that the reason he and others from his generation of tattoo artists are still around.
Is because they had the passion and stubbornness to stick around and keep going. But that is not all it takes to keep going after so many years. You have to stay passionate and keep on evolving your craft, and skills.

If you want to be anything in the industry of tattooing, you have to hang on and want it. You need to work hard for and keep developing, and evolving, your skills. Especially the people from Klaus’s own generation need to keep evolving, so they can stay in the game, and indeed stay on top of it.

The Tough Road To Becoming a Tattoo Artist; You Had To Want It Badly!:

Back in the day, it is incredibly difficult to get your hands on anything, from machines to inks. The stuff you could get your hands on, wasn’t even worth shit and the inks, he had to go to England in order to even get his hands on tattoo ink. On top of all that, nobody wanted to take on any apprentices back in those days.

But Klaus desperately wanted to become a tattoo artist. Luckily he had a friend who knew Hans and helped secure an apprenticeship for him there, which he where he also got to know Niels. But you had to want it back then, to an extent you even had to be a bit desperate.

Hans did indeed not make it easy for Klaus either, he put him to work, and gave him difficult and tough tasks. All in order to test him, his resolve and tenacity, as well as to teach him that you had to be able to do everything yourself. You had to hang in there and you had to want it.

Networking and Comradery before the Internet:

When Klaus compares the old days when he started to today. One of his biggest grievances, that he feels sorry for the young people about, is the internet age of tattooing. Back in the day, Klaus networked at conventions and such. He was even at the first international Danish tattoo convention. There he met and networked with, even became friends with, a lot of the other “old Timers” and legends from his generation.

They were all up and coming artists back then and they all bonded and networked face to face. That is what Klaus feels some of the youngsters are missing out on the face to face networking and bonding of the old days. Today people are sometimes busier with throwing shade at each other, or following the latest trends, online.

Back in the day, even if they weren’t from the same shop, if they had to travel for a convention they would still travel together in large groups. But oh well, things change and that is how it is. But you knew people back then and you followed each other for years to come. Today people mainly meet at conventions.

Former Chairman of DTL:

Klaus used to be the chairman of the prestigious organization DTL, which he took pride in and worked hard for. But it is tough today, to see that him and Frank Rosenkilde (another former chairman of DTL), are probably the oldest guys who are still members of the guild.

But he is still happy with what the organization tries to achieve, they still work hard and he is still happy to be a member of DTL.

Shifting Gears; From the Big City To the Country:

Klaus also moved out of the big city years ago, back when he did it, it was to change pace. Things were much calmer in Silkeborg where he moved to. However, with the changing times, even in that rural city, there are a lot more tattoo studios today.

He originally moved, because he feared what happened in New York back in 1997, would happen in Copenhagen. A fear which might hold true anywhere today, but back in 1997, it became legal to have a tattoo studio in New York. So many people opened up tattoo studios after that, that no one could earn a living from tattooing anymore.

Tattoo artists even moved into smaller and smaller spaces, in shittier and shittier locations. All in order to be able to pay rent. A thing which is also taking place, back in Denmark, it is a sad development in the industry. He hopes it will turn around again at some point. There are at least some people, that hold on to having big stylish tattoo studios, so that the culture is sustained.

Collecting Old Tattoo Relics:

Like his friend Frank, Klaus has also begun collecting old tattoo relics, so to speak. He just picked up loads of old flash-art and other things from his friend Bill, who sadly had to close his studio. So he has a collection of tattoo clerics as well, just a bit more modest. But he loves that people can see, through these collections, how it all got started. He even has lots of things from the legendary Tato-Jim (tattoo Jim).

However, despite his love of the old days and the importance he places on knowing how everything started, Klaus does admire what people are capable of doing today. He just feels it is a shame, if people forget where it all started.

The memories also flood up, when you see the old buddies in the industry who are still with us, such as Frank, especially when they have also been a part of the guild.

From a Few Studios Nationally To a Flooded Market:

Back in the day, the guild could drive around and check up on all the individual tattoo studios. Checking up on whether they had proper hygiene and run their businesses the right way. But today, a new tattoo studio is constantly opening somewhere in the country, so they can’t possibly check up on them like they used to.

People are also a bit too egotistical today; they should work together a lot more and support each other. There are also a lot of artists today, who can only do old-school or tribal tattoos. But people like that, that only follow the trends to earn money, burn out quickly. Because they don’t have any actual talent, they just want easy cash.

How to Be a Great Tattoo Artist:

You have to constantly, as already mentioned, keep developing and evolving your skills. You have to keep experimenting and trying out new things, challenging yourself and developing your skills, Klaus for example kept trying new things, and developed and improved things.

They had to mix inks themselves and try out new ways to welt needles, in order to try out the new things they wanted. That is how they were part of developing some of the new techniques people use today.

He fears that all the uncertainty today, with what you can and can’t do in the industry, might prevent a lot of innovation and make the industry a lot more difficult to be a part of. He fears that they will have to run things as if it was a hospital.

In Awe with the Possibilities Today:

However, you are able to do so many things today and you have a lot better tools to do it, because of that it is way easier to tattoo today. It might make it a bit too easy to become a “tattoo artist”, but that is an okay trade off. But you have to keep up with the new innovations and the developments; else you might as well stop.

He didn’t get either, with everything you can do today and the amazing tattoos you can create today. That it became so popular, to get shitty tattoos that are just cheap, and just getting loads of those. They should save up for a proper tattoo, and the shitty artists should get a proper apprenticeship and learn the craft properly.

But as things are now, it is awesome. There is a lot of variety and people are able to create individual styles and tattoos. In his own shop, they are also 3 people now and at least they can speak together, and have a great time.

Amazing Technology and Equipment:

Today the equipment/tools and inks are just incredible, so it might be a shame that people today, don’t learn how to create their own needles and such. But people today are better able to concentrate on becoming great tattoo artists.

Klaus does not believe, people should strive to become rich; instead you should focus on doing your work properly and being content and happy, that you can live through creating art.

So as things are now, the tattoo industry is in a really great place. Also, you still have to want it and be eager, in order to make it as a tattoo artist and become a great tattoo artist. Even though they say that anyone can just buy tattoo equipment and start up a business, but not everyone is capable of actually tattooing, especially not well.

Plans for the future and Tattoo Gallery:

Klaus just really wants to stay in the tattoo industry, even if he some day is unable to tattoo anymore, he would still love to remain in the community and industry. He is not too afraid of competition, especially not as long as he loves what he does. Also, he believes that someday all the big chain studios, will close up, then there will be a lot more for the rest of the artists to do again.

 

We hope you enjoyed this 6th installment in our “old timers” series. Please keep your eye on Mediazink for more awesome articles. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram (@Mediazink_Official), for more awesome articles and other content.

About Author

Mads

Mads

Mads W. K. Masters of science in Sociology (Cand. Scient. Soc.), from the University of Copenhagen, who specializes in embodiment sociology, but especially in tattoos and tattoo culture etc.

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