Would You Let This Incredibly Talented Tattoo Artist Permanently Ink You Freehand?

Jay Freestyle, a South African tattoo artist based in Amsterdam, creates incredible, ethereal tattoos. And here’s the surprising bit – he works without a plan. It’s impossible to tell by looking at his work, but the 29-year-old inks freehand, making it all up as he goes. He works with only one motto: “Give me a piece of your skin and I’ll give you a piece of my soul.”

It doesn’t matter how many ideas you have in your head about your tattoo before you visit Jay. Once you speak to him and realize what he can do, you’re just going to turn around and say ‘Go for it, I trust you blindly’. So far, he has never disappointed a single client.


Jay, who grew up in a conservative Chinese family in Johannesburg, moved to Amsterdam over 10 years ago. He has been living and working there ever since, but he’s also traveled widely, using his experiences to refine his tattoing skills. He taught himself the art of inking by observing the works of top artists from around the world. That’s why his technique and style are so unconventional.


Because of the spontaneity of his work, each one of Jay’s tattoos is unique. Before taking a chance on his inspiration and doing freehand tattoos, Jay says he was perceived as a broadly skilled tattoo artist. But now he’s working on narrowing down his focus and developing his own personal trademark – to use a simple image and bring it to life through an abstract inking style. His work is largely inspired by traditional painting techniques such as watercolor and liquid ink, to which he brings modern, graphic elements.


“Most describe my style as watercolor, and it definitely holds elements of such, but personally it is more,” he said. “I prefer to combine various styles, such as geometrical shapes and pointillism, while at the same time mixing realism with abstract, but at the end it all depends on the client.”


Since Jay’s style of inking is so unique and specific, he realizes that it might not be for everyone. “Usually, from the first couple of minutes of talking to someone, I can see if they want ‘my style’ or if they want me to do something realistic or traditional,” said Jay. “Normally when I’m abroad people ask much more for my style; whereas here in the Netherlands most know me for a variety of styles I’ve developed and done over the past years – Japanese, Black and Gray, Realism, Neo-Traditional – you name it.”


Whatever the style, there’s only one way to get tattooed by Jay – without a clue as to how it will turn out. Would you be willing to take the risk?



Photos: Jay Freestyle/DeviantArt

Posted in Art        Tags: , ,