Masters Of Ink: Tattoo Artist Métamose Creates Visual Poems On Skin

Masters of Ink is a Konbini original introducing you to a whole spectrum of tattoo artists from all over the world. Custom designers specializing in every style from modern dotwork to traditional Americana tattoos – tune in for something new every week!

The pseudonym of this Paris-based tattooist comes from the word metamorphosis ("métamorphose" in French). By deleting the "morph" part, Métamose wants us to search for our own transformation through connection with others. In his work, this versatile contemporary artist explores themes of destruction, fragility and deformation. He tells Konbini:

"I find poetry in imperfection and I fuse sensitive elements together to create new living forms. They can look weird, but we can accept them and let them exists, just like anything else.

Failure is the main fear of human society. I'm just trying to create a bit more space for difference and highlight the things we usually want to keep in silence."

In that sense, Métamose's tattoos become visual poems full of hybrid symbols. His lines run through the body in a chaotic way, what the artist himself calls a "positive puzzle." Métamose says his goal is "to create tattoos that make people see how beautiful they are."

The artist defines himself as a super sensitive person, who tattoos to "repel sorrow and bring light forward." To create his designs, Métamose observes people and things, he also quotes various artistic inspirations such as Expanded Eye, Matthew Barney, Hayao Miyazaki, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Dave McKean, Zao Wou-Ki and Egon Schiele.

Métamose's tattoo process involves pushing both the artist and his clients out of their comfort zones. First, he listens to their stories and writes a poem about it. Then, he translates it to a graphic form by drawing lines, dots, faces, bodies and abstract shapes to depict specific words in the story.

"One day, a man asked me to create a tattoo about movement. I knew that I had no other choice, even if I was scared, so I offered to draw on him right there, straight away, instead of spending weeks searching for the right design. He agreed.

We spent two fantastic days together and we made it. It was my first freehand tattoo. He dedicated half of his body for this piece."

Since this intense session, Métamose proceeded to tattoo freehand, drawing on bodies with a pen first or directly applying ink to skin. The artist says he shares everything with his clients: "There is no reason to be someone else or wear a mask. We don't know what’s going to appear, we build it together. The experience actually looks a lot like life, with surprises, ups and downs, doubts and affirmation."

Metámose's approach actually brings the practice closer to contemporary art and body performance than traditional tattooing. According to him, traditional tattoos are more comforting, "they are answers, complete and finished forms with a sort of power of certainty in a world full of uncertainties." For him, graphic tattooing works the other way.

"Like contemporary art, it questions without giving complete answers. It deconstructs body and thoughts to create new possibilities. From that moment, the body can reveal itself, the brain can get rid of accumulated cultural layers and take a breath.

That breath causes a dance. In this, I see a performance. And, with contemporary tattooing, you don’t have to go to the MoMa to live that!"

Follow Métamose on Instagram and see more of his work below.

Writer for tattoo and art related medias, as well as author of crime novels. I live in Paris.