FUZI UV TPK is a veteran graffiti writer, who wrote his name on trains and subways across Europe in the 1990s and mid-2000s, and became known for his “ignorant style.” In more recent years, he has developed renown as a fine artist and tattoo artist, and has released two books Ma Ligne and Flash Tattoo Collection N°1. While we were in Paris, we met up with FUZI at The Imaginers studio for a quick tattoo session and interview.Can you explain the transition from being a graffiti writer to a tattoo artist?
When my life as a graffiti writer became less intense, my life changed. But naturally, I have a need to express myself with other mediums—ones that I don’t have to worry about the cops trying to catch me. I still use the fruits of my graffiti mind in everything I do, whether it is painting canvases, making sculptures, writing novels, taking photographs or doing tattoos. I am just filling the gap that graffiti once had in my life, with the same intensity.Did you apprentice somewhere or are you self-taught? Do you remember the first tattoo you did?
I did my first tattoo on the arm of my friend and graffiti partner, RAP. It was a horse with nunchucks with simple letters that read “low life.” It’s maybe my favorite tattoo ever. I have maintained a self-taught style throughout my practice because I want to be without influence and learn from my own errors. I want to develop my vision of tattooing outside of the traditional tattoo studio; to move in other places in favor of the act. Each of my tattoos is unique, never duplicated, and I execute them in unusual places, because it leaves a mark on the memory, not just the skin.When people come to you for a tattoo, do they usually have an idea of what they want and you interpret it in your style or do they let you do whatever you want?
My tattoos are in line with my “ignorant” graffiti style. People come to me with an idea, and after we discuss it, I draw something with my style. Or people can choose from my thousands of flash tattoos. Many times, people let me express myself—they want a FUZI tattoo, and that’s more a state of mind than just a simple tattoo.Your graffiti and fine art are very colorful, but your tattoos are black. What is the reason for this?
My tattoos are very symbolic, and I don’t need colors to express it. Plus, I have an interest in tattoos from the street. Canvases are really different. I can express my personality in a more abstract and less illustrated style. It’s another medium with another function and other rules.There are certain themes in your work—violence, death, tragedy, women, etc. Can you explain why these themes continue to appear?These themes are universal, they touch humanity but also each of us individually, and lurk in our lives, and strike at random. I love this mystical side and any popular imagery that goes with it. I am a simple person; I just try to transcribe my life, which was dominated by violence for a long time, but also sometimes by love and other forces, which are natural and free in my art.What’s next for you?
I just finished my new website, am developing my Ignorant People clothing line, and continue to tattoo and exhibit my work. Photos by Stefan Kocev for Citizens of Humanity