Johanna Olk’s Tattoos Are a Celebration of Womanhood

Johanna Olk’s fine line illustrations strike a chord – a sort of melancholy reflection on everyday life. With womanhood being a constant theme throughout her work, Olk’s women seem to be shrouded in thought, yet staring straight ahead. But though her illustration themes are consistent, her creative methods differ and include (aside from illustrating) painting on canvas, as well as tattooing on skin.

β€œA paper or a canvas or a skin, are the same, it’s just different material,” she reflected in an interview with Cortex. β€œI did my first tattoo on myself in high school with a needle and some random ink because I was in love with a stupid guy. Then I went to Nantes and met the best people, I was at school with Ivan he had a super scary tattoo machine, it took me a while before I tried, but once I started I followed him.”

Nowadays, she’s back to hand-poked tattooing, which doesn’t require a machine. The result is a lot more tangible – creating perfect imperfections, which is just the way she likes her art to be. With a background industrial design, Olk says she’s developed an interest in the more simple things in life, which are still able to evoke emotion. β€œI am very attracted to pop art, mid XXth century graphics and the Renaissance period,” she says. “It’s a long and slow journey, I am still researching and trying new techniques.”

Follow her creative journey on Instagram.