We got a chance to meet Max Native of DNGSpirit (which stands for Drawing Spirit) and had an insightful chat about his journey in tattooing and his experience of conventions world over. Max is among the finest dotwork and ornamental artists around. But, that’s not all of his work, Max’s portfolio boasts of multiple styles and scales.

When asked of how he got introduced to tattooing, he chuckled and replied, “It was really by luck! I got my first tattoo done at a tattoo convention, and I used to draw a lot. So, I bought a tattoo machine to start off after my friends convinced me. I was around 23 years old and now I’ve been tattooing for 9 years now.”

Max Native (right) tattooing on a collaboration piece with Arne So, during Nepal Inked 2016. Image Credit: Nic Tse

Back in the day, he told us that he started off with very basic, old school tattoos, “Kind of flash, roses, you know the Kat Von D style of tattoos.” Nine years in the industry is a long span and so we asked what has been the biggest change in the tattooing trend that he has witnessed over these years, “The biggest change I have seen in the tattooing culture, you know, since the time I have been in the tattooing industry, is that the people who previously worked on computers now buy their own tattoo machines and do tattoos. There’s a mix of graphics, geometry and it’s become more digital now. I am not for digital art. I try to draw as much as I can. I prefer rotary machines.”

Image Courtesy: Max Native
Image Courtesy: Max Native

When asked of how his art has changed over the years, he said he prefers to chat with people to know them better in an attempt to include them in his art work, “If someone asks me to do whatever I want, I would like to chat a bit with the person. I like to use elements that the person likes, and so I talk a bit. I like to include a lot of body movements and a lot of symbolic art. My way of life has influence on my art. I like to tattoo on the perfect place of the body, on the shape of the body, because the tattoo becomes more alive. Tattoo free art is always the best.”

Image Courtesy: Max Native

We asked if he is a travelling artist or if he prefers to tattoo from his studio back home. “For the last 5 years, I have been working from my shop. But I prefer to travel. It’s different to meet people; it’s a different way of work. It’s more art. When you do it out of a shop, it’s more like a business and less about the art.”

Image Courtesy: Max Native

Max is an avid traveller and having been exposed to different cultures, we asked him which country has influenced his style of tattooing the most. He laughed and said “That’s a complicated question you’re asking! Every country I have visited has affected me – UK, Nepal, China, France, every country has affected me. Yes, I like to include the prevalent culture in my tattooing. Like here in Nepal, divinity is very prevalent. The wood carvings and scriptures and beautiful stories about it, so yes it’s nice to represent this beautiful art.”

Babou babou 😂😂😃😃😂😂

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Having experienced two conventions of South Asia, he said “Being a European here in Nepal, it’s a different culture, different way of seeing things. It’s interesting everywhere. Very passionate people, lots of full arm tattoos, so many kids! Over there, people are more straightforward, and ask about how much a tattoo is going to cost but I like it here, people take it easy.”

When asked if any particular artist has greatly influenced his work, “Yes, I have been lucky to work with very great artists especially in France. I watch front, right and left like everyone!”

Yes! He’s visited India! “I’ve been to Pushkar for 4 months around 2 or 3 years ago. I’ve tattooed there and had a lot of fun! I tattooed a local woman. She was a very open lady to be an Indian. I tattooed the name of her husband on her shoulder. But yeah, I did a lot of dot work in Pushkar.”

Let’s begin –{{{{{{{> #ontheroad #uktta #letsbegin #brotime #dgnspirit

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He mainly tattoos out of England and this is what he had to say about the tattooing scene and vibe, “It’s nice and edgy!”

Interviewed by Shubham Nag

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