Interview with Kian Forreal regarding his leaving of Inner Vision and opening his own private studio!
So after so many years you’re moving on.. how does it feel?
KF: It feels great to be moving on to the next phase in my career, I couldn’t be happier. After nearly 20 years of tattooing, 8 of those on the road around the globe, and a solid run at Inner Vision for the past while… it just seems natural to take the next step.
What’s next for you Kian?
KF: Well, the next progression for me is create a space that’s more peaceful and relaxed for myself and my clients, a private affair that will allow me to keep my head down and focus on making the best tattoos I possibly can without distraction or being disturbed. As much as I loved my time working in a room full of artists and being involved in running a big studio, it took up a lot of my time and headspace with things other than drawing or tattooing and wasn’t always suitable for my clients given the large scale work I do.
You have an extensive background having studied with some amazing people, could you give us a little sample of your history?
KF: I come from humble beginnings, working in the street shops of Canada and Europe for about 10 years doing flash before anything else. I found my more artistic side while on the road tattooing in Spain, Ibiza, Italy, Denmark, UK, Norway, Holland, the US, and of course, Australia, and from that followed the path that was set out before me. I ended up working alongside the likes of Greg Orie, Henning Jorgensen, Trevor McStay, Paul Braniff, John the Dutchman, and many other artists both my contemporaries and the younger generation that are too numerous to list. I’ve learned something from everyone I’ve worked with and that has created the foundation from which I still try to expand on with every new piece I execute.
When did you first become aware of what variety and quality could be created by talented artists on skin?
KF: I would say the summer of ’91 or 92’ in what was at the time the premier tattoo magazine in North America, ‘International Tattoo Art’. A really quality glossy tattoo magazine that wasn’t full of garbage or supply ads, or naked chicks on bikes (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but full of great tattoos, that were bright and well drawn. It was the renaissance of modern tattooing, I was already quite tattooed at the time but this was next level and I jumped in as soon as I could.
Which artists have pushed you to strive to always improve? personally or from a distance?
KF: That’s tough, the guys I work with always inspire me to be better, Marco Serio my friend from overseas, we always have a great time and help each other make our tattoos cooler, Henning Jorgensen is certainly a major inspiration for me in so many ways, both artistically and with his great work ethic but also as man he is a fantastic person. I think in tattooing its very easy to lose sight of reality and live in a bubble, guys like Henning show me that you can keep on doing this and stay grounded. For the traditional side of Japanese tattooing Horiyoshi 3 is very much someone I look to not only for artistic inspiration but also as a representative of Japanese tattooing and someone who has worked hard his whole and stayed true to the game. The styles of both Horitoshi 1 and the late Horiyoshi 2 appeal to me greatly… and this is the feel that I aspire to in my work.
What makes you excited to get up and get to work each day?
KF: Honestly and it sounds clichéd but I get excited about seeing my clients each day and the progress on their tattoo works. Often times I become close friends with my clients during the process and I think that when doing large scale work having a good relationship with your clients is of utmost importance.
What advice would you give to young artists wanting to have a long and successful career?
KF: Ahh.. the secrets of success. Well, I’ll tell you what was told to me many years ago… its very simple: ‘Stay busy and don’t think about success’
KF: Furthermore I would like to thank Inner Vision Tattoo and Cliffe Clayton for my time there and all that the shop has provided for me in the past years, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Inner Vision. I wish the studio and those working there good fortune in the coming years.