The tattoo art of Angelique Houtkamp

The tattoo art of Angelique Houtkamp

Tattoo art: Renowned tattooist Angelique Houtkamp has moved through sailor tattoo styles (anchors, hearts, swallows, pinups) and burlesque/cabaret influences to bring tattoo art to a most unlikely resting place… the delicate world of water colour.

When my tattooed friend Karen mentioned that Angelique Houtkamp would be in town on the day we were planning to meet, I jumped at the chance to head down to Nelly Duff with her.

Angelique is a Dutch tattooist who also does amazing water colours. Astonishingly, although Angelique realised she would like to be a tattooist at 18, it wasn’t until she was 30 that she actually started working at a tattoo parlour.

I love the vintage, old school feel to her work; think 1920s flapper and Betty Boo with a little bit of Poirot thrown in (her boyfriend even has the moustache!).

Angelique’s inspiration was initially the old school sailor style of tattoos – anchors, hearts, swallows and pinups. Once she learned to paint flashes (tattoo designs drawn or printed on paper) using the same methods and techniques of the ‘old timer tattooists’ it evolved into what her primary creative outlet is now – incredible water colour prints.

You can clearly see that she incorporates everything else that captivates her: burlesque, cabaret, circus freaks, mythical creatures, a wonderful quirky and curious world. It comes as no surprise then that Angelique also collects vintage postcards, old photos, prints and religious icons again all so visible in her work.

The exhibition itself was held in an intimate venue, with Angelique herself present to sign copies of her new book Tattoo Mystique. Thankfully we were there early so it was pretty easy to get a good view of the prints which were framed and placed around the room. They were all exquisite. Her style is simple yet you really feel like there is a story to every piece.

Karen commissioned Angelique to design a tattoo, since it was not possible to travel all the way to Amsterdam to get the lady herself to do it. I only wish I had taken a photo of Karen with her tattoo AND Angelique, but – silly me – got too shy to ask for a photo.

Some Dutch courage was definitely needed.

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