Igor Kampman, « Blackinktatau », Hoogkarspel, Netherlands

How did you get into tattooing?

Igor: Before i started tattooing i was a painter and made sculptures. when i was 15 years old I got my first tribal tattoo and from there my interest in tattooing started to grow. After a while the idea started to tattoo myself. Suddenly there was a lucky moment and I got introduced to Giorgio Quaresima; he’s the one who teached me all the basics of tattooing. His shop in Thailand/Ko Tao.

What are the tattoo styles you like the most ?

All forms of tribalism and art brut tattooing, but I have a passion for Polynesian, specially Marquesan patterns.

How did your interest in Polynesian style come about ?

I already had a fascination for tribal art and culture before I was a tattoo artist, when I started tattooing the style found me.

When I started to travel to Polynesian islands, it made me understand better and get a deeper connection to the culture.


Which Polynesian islands did you visited ?

I spend time on different Polynesian islands together with my wife, we went from beach to beach, surfing and lived of the land - connected to the people and worked together. Some of the islands were: New Zealand, Tahiti, Moorea, Rurutu, Marquesas Islands and Rapa Nui. Now that I have kids and my own studio, I don't travel a lot but hopefully in the future there will be more time for it.

Is Polynesian style very popular amongst your clients ?

Most of my work is Polynesian so that will attract customers who like that. I also do figurative work what’s almost the opposite, with color, sketchy kind of figurative tattoos with a twist that keeps me in balance. I noticed the last couple of years that Polynesian tattooing is getting more popular than ever.

What do they usually request ?

A: Most of my customers have done some research, so they come with specific requests, but the Polynesian sleeves are the most requested, with meanings like protection, love, strength and travel. Most of the time people don't realize that this is a style connected to a ancient culture and you need to educate them so they have respect for the culture and for themselves and can be proud on their tattoo.

Usually, what’s the main motivation from your clients to get a Polynesian tattoo ?

It’s very diverse. I get people in who just like a style, or come with specific cultural background of an island to represent their culture and honour that with a tattoo and their story reflected in patterns from the past.


Who are the artists you most admire ?

I admire a lot of people, generally people who have a connection to the culture and their roots, who have an understanding, respect and wisdom to use and keep a tradition alive and pass that on.  

Their are many great artist these days, here are a few I admire:  Rob Deut, Jun Matsui, Inia Taylor, Croc Tatau, Gordon Toi Hatfield, Tim Hunt, Shane Gallagher Coley, Jeroen Franken, Taku Oshima, Thomas Josef Suluape, Robert Davidson, Noon, Yann Black, Alipate Fetuli, Gerhard Wiesbeck and many more…

How do you see yourself as a tattoo artist?

I am Dutch and feel connected to my brothers and sisters worldwide. I recently found out that I come from a family with Nordic and Borneo genes, but most of all I feel that I am native of the earth. I strongly feel a connection with nature and Polynesian culture and that was one of the reasons why I needed to go there, travel, explore and get an understanding. This way, I can relate better to what I do, and most important is to respect the culture of Polynesian tattooing, to know what you can and cannot do - to understand the patterns and make a story before tattooing. It’s a very humbling experience and it made me grow as a tattooist and person.

What are your other passions and hobbies ?

Besides tattooing, I have some other passions. I have a bushcraft company (www.polderbushcraft.nl) were we teach adults and children how to make their live comfortable in nature. I also have a small forging studio (www.kampmanknives.com) were I make my knives. Other passions are surfing, travel, music and other art related skills like painting and making sculptures.

See Igor Kampman’s tattoos nominated by Tatau Awards

Igor Kampman
Blackinktatau (private studio)
The Netherlands – Hoogkarspel
Website: www.blackinktatau.com
Instagram: blackinktatau
Facebook: Blackinktatau Tattoos by Igor Kampman
Tattooing since 2002

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