Every time Pierre’s clients come into the Hart & Huntington shop in Orlando where he works, they know they’re going to get a tattoo experience unlike any other.
That’s because, as a professional tattoo artist, Pierre primarily works freehanded. His clients come in with a picture or a rough idea in mind, but from that point, they let him run with it.
To me, that’s what allows it to come out so great. They give me true creative freedom, freedom of expression.
He might not always have a full plan mapped out, or every single detail, but as he’s working, things start to come into view.
It’s a super risky technique, like riding a wave, but it’s been working for me, which is great.
Pierre is a true artist. He’s been painting and sketching since he was a child, drawing inspiration heavily from Impressionists like Van Gogh and Picasso, Surrealists such as Dali, and even modern spray-paint artist El Mac.
I love with their paintings how, up close, you might not be able to tell what you’re looking at, but when you step back it all falls into place.
Their expressive and fluid techniques can easily be recognized in Pierre’s tattoos. His lines are definitive and clean, but the patterns and shading are more interpretive, free flowing.
Whether I grab a needle or pencil, I start by closing my eyes, doing a line here and there, then just start exploring. I have to go in with full confidence. For example, I might know that I’m going to do a super realistic snake, but I won’t plan out how to do the scales, the detailing. I just know I’m going to do something creative with it.
It’s a gamble, but one well worth taking.
In the middle of it, I’m definitely feeling the pressure. This is all pouring out of my mind. No one else has seen a sketch or anything. I do the outline, then freehand the scales one by one.
There’s no erase button. But that’s what drives me to make it great.
Pierre has had plenty of practice, though. As a kid, he’d stay up through the early hours – drawing. It was his cure for insomnia.
I’d be up all night not being able to sleep and my mind would just wander. I’d close my eyes and have a flash of an image, like when you look at the sun, but out of nowhere. I’d start drawing that vision and keep going, wondering what would come out on the paper next.
Now that he’s a professional artist, it’s all about pushing the envelope, wanting to be different.
There are a lot of artists out there on social media now. Our work is becoming so visible, which is great, but it’s easy to get swept up in the trends. Some art is so trendy to the point where it all blends together. You lose the ability to see an artist’s signature style. That’s why I try hard to produce something different with each tattoo I work on.
But the problem is, you can’t draw without learning or being inspired by someone else.
And that’s ok, that’s how art grows – borrowing techniques here and there, learning from other people, how they do their linework, how Van Gogh did his splotches, Dali did his strokes … That’s really why I freehand. It’s my way of experimenting, clawing at a new idea. When I’m inspired by another artist’s work, I try to take just one element and add it to something of my own. It’s like jumping off this creative bridge in the hope of landing on something unique.
Beyond trying to define his own signature style, you could say Pierre is a black sheep of tattoo artistry.
I did apprenticeships, I learned the traditional techniques, but then I just ran in my own direction with them. People told me not to, that it’s too risky, but I think it’s more than just mastering the rules. It’s also about learning how to break them, to evolve the way we tattoo in general.
Just one look at Pierre’s portfolio, and you can see that he’s already achieved this. After trading canvases and sketchbooks for living tissue, and practicing like crazy, he figured out something new.
Instead of just packing dead areas with black, I’d do little lines here and there, adding patterns and texture to simple things – even the smallest of spaces.
It’s a unique technique that makes Pierre’s tattoos look like they’re moving.
It’s like your eyes are playing tricks on you. If I cross-hatch one shape to another, I can make two images look like one.
In fact, movement is a big part of Pierre’s work.
I don’t like the confinements of standard shapes. I want my tattoos to look like a human did them; not mechanical or perfect. They have their own kinetic energy to them.
And now that tattoo techniques and tools are evolving, the easier this is becoming for him. The size of needles is decreasing, making it easier for Pierre to hone in on his fine detailing. And that has a lasting impact.
Over time, the lines of tattoos melt, so my designs are made to melt with the body. When I do a tattoo, I always take into consideration how it’s going to look in five to ten years’ time. I want to make sure it’s going to evolve nicely. That you’ll still be able to see the lines, that it’ll maintain its texture versus going flat with splotches of color or washes.
Pierre’s technique is faster, because it’s not precise. But it’s harder for the same reason.
I lose a lot of weight just sweating. I’m telling you, the way I tattoo is the best workout program ever!
The stakes might be high, the pressure might be on, but the outcome is something you’ve never seen before.
You know, this is something permanent on someone’s body, so there aren’t really any second chances. But thankfully my clients are usually thrilled with the results.
They come to Pierre because they want something really different. They leave with something so special, something no one else has. A concept born out of the moment. The reassurance that there will never be another one like it.
The way I see it is, if you’re coming in to get a tattoo by me, you deserve something that’s one of a kind.