Gaby Castel, a tattoo artist with a strong interest in Art Nouveau, was introduced to us in mid-March in France. For you to appreciate the splendor of ornamental art, Gaby is prepared to take you to the years between 1890 and 1910.

Here is her story.

Gaby Castel • Art Nouveau Tattoos from France 12 March 2024

For the readers who are not familiar with you, how would you introduce yourself?

My name is Gaby Castel. I have been tattooing since 2015, and I am from France. I specialize in color and women’s faces, especially geisha, that I fuse with any theme.

Where did your fascination for tattoos come from?

I have loved tattoo art since I was 15 years old. I was a fan of the Ink Master and the best ink, and I wanted a tattoo as soon as I was 18 years old. But I never thought of becoming a tattoo artist then.

How and when did you start tattooing?

It was in 2015, and I was a florist then. My tattoo artist saw my painting when we discussed art, and he told me he takes apprentices and that I should come to his shop. I left everything and took the risk.

Where are you based?

I am based in Paris, and I own a big tattoo shop at Bastille named L’Encre du Kraken.

Gaby Castel • Art Nouveau Tattoos from France 12 March 2024

How would you describe the tattoo scene in your country these days?

I think the tattoo industry is evolving in my country; we are so late compared to others and very blocked by the EU reach rules. But there are some good changes.

How would you define your tattoo style?

My tattoo style is a mix of everything I love in art. Some neo-traditional, illustrative, realism, and sometimes graphic styles.

You seem to have an extremely well-curated Instagram page. How much does this impact your business?

I think social media is important nowadays because a lot of people communicate on social media. But I still have a lot of my regular customers that come by word of mouth, so it has an impact, but not so much.

The tattoo culture has changed a lot in the last decade, becoming widely accepted almost anywhere in the world. What do you think about this substantial cultural shift?

I think it is amazing that the tattoo culture is becoming more accepted and loved around the world. But I would say I find it very sad that the tattoo industry has become too accessible and people just do whatever they want with it without respecting the art we do. There are good and bad feelings about this.

What’s the main source of inspiration for your tattoos?

I really am fond of Art Nouveau and the Mucha style. And I went to manga school, so I think my style reflects some of this inspiration.

Gaby Castel • Art Nouveau Tattoos from France 12 March 2024

What’s the most challenging aspect of being a tattoo artist in 2024?

I would say it is social media and competition. In 2024, there will be so many people becoming tattooers that if you are not working enough or if you do not use social media, it will become difficult to have clients. And the tattoo is a luxury, so this is not people’s priority in 2024 with all these problems. I see it with friends of mine, and it breaks my heart.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a tattoo artist?

It is when clients are so happy when they see the design I did and they have a star in their eyes, and when we finish the tattoo, I am so grateful to have such the power to give good emotion and happiness to someone just with my art.

What’s your experience at tattoo conventions so far?

I have attended conventions since my debut, I think, and I always loved the mood there. Meeting with other artists, making friends, and doing contests to challenge myself. Go further into the art. It is exhausting, but very rewarding.

Do you remember the first tattoo you have ever made?

Yes, I remember it was a geisha :) on thight.

Gaby Castel • Art Nouveau Tattoos from France 12 March 2024

What’s your primary reason to attend a tattoo convention?

I sensed it already, but not the mood. The people are really cool, chill, and open-minded. And I love to meet them.

How do you think tattoo conventions could get even better for artists and the public?

I think it should be a better show sometimes. Tattoos are always associated with burlesque dance or circus shows. But I would love to see some other style of show. And also more fair and healthy competition.

What’s your favorite tattoo convention so far? And why?

I would say Milan was a blast. Such a high level. But in France, I love the Déauville Tattoo Festival and the Lille Tattoo Convention too.

What advice would you offer to someone considering a career as a tattoo artist?

Just respect the art and respect the job we do. If you have the passion and are working hard on this, then you have to do it. It is an important decision because we do art that is irreversible.

Who are the people you admire the most within the tattoo community?

Thomas Carli Jarlier is one I admire most. Waler Montero and Animal Tattooer are two other great artists. And there is a lot more :)

Gaby Castel • Art Nouveau Tattoos from France 12 March 2024

What’s your biggest accomplishment as a tattoo artist?

I would say the shop I opened. I did it with my heart and the love of my life. And we created a little family with the artists I took in. And I love to help them as much as they help me evolve in the arts.

You seem to have a lot of tattoo suppliers sponsoring and supporting you. What can you say about the collaboration between yourself and those brands?

The support I receive from all those brands is, for me, the ultimate recognition of my work. It feels like I am worth being supported. And I want to represent them as well as I can.

Do you do other forms of art besides tattooing?

Yes! I don’t have as much time as before, but I always painted and sculpted. I love all handmade work.

Gaby Castel • Art Nouveau Tattoos from France 12 March 2024

What are your goals or dreams for the near future?

I would love for my shop and team to be recognized in France. My dream before was to become one of the best in tattoo industry but now I am the happiest with my life, and my dream is to have a family with my love :)

Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?

I would like to say thanks to all who supported me and knew me for my work and also want to express my gratitude to those who took the time to read this interview and learned me better :’)

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