Jay Freestyle


How long have you been tattooing and how did you start your tattooing journey?

I began tattooing in 2009. I started off as a piercer and my mentor was the one to actually push me to learn tattooing. I’m a self taught artist, started practicing on pig skin for a couple of months and once I felt confident moved onto friends and coworkers. I had a lot of work done on myself by professionals and that was one of the main ways I learned and got into the trade.


Do you remember what was the first tattoo you did? If so, tell us what it was and for who.

My first tattoo was actually pretty big, it was a tribal butterfly that was half a back piece, it was done on a work colleague at the time.


Please, tell us about your current tattoo style and how it has changed over the years.

Graphic realism with a hint of water colour. I just combine different elements together that I enjoy tattooing and that I think would look good visually. In the past, I did as many styles as I could, from Japanese to neo traditional, realism, black and grey, dot work. I took what I learned from each style and combined it all into one. When I was first experimenting, I did everything free hand hence where the “Freestyle” came from in my name. As the industry changed and new technologies came out, it had an impact on the way I work. Nowadays I do everything on the iPad, it’s allowed me to push boundaries further as I can create designs much more easily and have a visual reference to work off of, instead of making it up as I go along. This has allowed for more complex designs as well as reduce the time it takes to tattoo as I can plan out large scale pieces much more efficiently.


Does anyone or anything inspire you?

There are so many artists who inspire me, some of the major ones are: Thomas Jarlier, Casey Baugh, Igor Mitrenga, Walter Montero. There are many others but there are too many to name. As far as art goes I’m always inspired by the human form, I love doing anything with a human figurative as the options are limitless to what you can do with it. It can fit into any theme or mix with almost any subject matter.


Are there any tattoo artists who are extremely admirable to you? If so who?

I named some of the artists I admire in the previous question.


Do you have any memorable tattoo story or a customer that has stuck with you through all the time you have been tattooing?

I have one client whom I tattooed in the first year I started, she has one of my first tattoos. Fast forward about 12 years later, coincidentally now that I’ve recently moved to Edmonton Canada, it’s where she immigrated to as well several years ago. We are now covering the small tattoo and turning it into a full sleeve. It shows just how small the world is, 2 people starting off in Amsterdam and both immigrating to the same city many years later and connecting together again to get a tattoo.


Is there any art form that fascinates you also except tattooing? Maybe do you have any other passion or something that you really enjoy doing? 

Yes, I enjoy painting as well. In my spare time, I try and paint as much as I can, it’s a secondary outlet for me, as well as further honing my skills. Learning a second medium translates back into tattooing and vice versa, it’s a way to escape plateauing. 


Do you like visiting or exhibiting at tattoo conventions? Would you recommend any of them?

Yes, I used to do on average one per month before the covid hit. One of my favorite things about tattooing is traveling around the world and exploring new places. Conventions gave a good excuse to visit a country and get some work. I’m very competitive as well, so I really like to compete in competitions. I’ve been lucky enough to have done some of the best conventions in the world such as London, Paris, Milan, Taiwan.


Any artist you planning to get tattooed by? Who has tattooed you already?

No, I stopped getting tattoos ages ago, it hurts too much haha. I’ve been tattooed by: Claudia, Yuri, Alvin Chong, Amar.


What are your plans and dreams? If you think about yourself in 10 years, what do you see?

Ideally, I would like to have more time to paint, I hope to one day reach a point where I can balance out my time better to split my week that I can paint for half and tattoo for the other half. I’m working as hard as I can now so I can save up and hopefully try and semi retire in 10 years’ time. I can feel that my body won’t be able to keep going at the pace I am.



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