Laurie Franck is a photographer and tattoo artist based in Lyon, France. We asked her a few questions about working across artistic mediums, her first tattooing experience, and her choice to tattoo exclusively in handpoke technique.
KNOBBLY: How did you come to choose handpoke technique for your tattoos, instead of the more commonly used machine?
I did my first tattoo in handpoke and it was a really distinct moment, because I was with my boyfriend Paolo Bosson (who is a tattoo artist, I learned everything from him) and we were tattooing each other during a night, far from our house, just to have a memory of the moment we shared. So the context was special, and it was my first contact with the act of tattooing: on someone I love.
I loved this exchange, everything was really quiet. I'm a calm and patient person so for me it's perfect. You don't have the noise of the machine and you just need ink and a needle. And time, but that's a good thing, because everything goes too quick nowadays.
With handpoke you put yourself in a strange mood, with an other conception of time, because you have to be focused on every dot you do. It's a kind of meditation.
KNOBBLY: Do you feel that the choice of technique also affects the style of your lines?
Yeah of course, and it's a good thing I think, even if sometimes I'm like "oh my line is not perfect"... People are happy to have something with imperfections. It's more interesting like this. And I think imperfections give it a kind of "soul".
KNOBBLY: Can you tell me about differences and similarities between the two mediums of your work - photography and tattoo? Do you feel like you're expressing the same point of view through different mediums, or are they separate in your mind?
I think with tattoo I can express something more sexual than in photography. But the subject is the same: all my work revolves around the body, and especially women's bodies, or the position the body can take. That's why sometimes my drawings are really abstract: I try to deconstruct; to have really simple lines, and to make something more illustrative appear in something that's abstract.
But it's a completely different experience to tattoo. You are physically close to someone, you don't have the protection of the camera, you need to touch the skin. For me it's really strange, because I'm not a handsy person and I do get uncomfortable when people are in my intimate space, but it's part of the moment with tattoo and you have to deal with that feeling. It's interesting to experiment with, being in that situation.
About the Collaboration
Laurie and I "met" on Instagram when I was captivated by her minimalist nudes. My favorite drawings of hers are just barely on this side of suggesting a human form: they make you feel as though if you tried hard enough to be disingenuous, they could be taken for just random lines and dots. An illusion, of course, since our interpretive eye is so eager to see humanity in almost anything.
For our collaboration, I chose to lay Laurie's suggestive artwork (actually the very piece she spoke about as her first tattooing experience, as I learned later) on a t-shirt, in a way that creates a new interaction with the form of the person wearing it. I even learned to screen print in order to print all of the tees myself: the rhythm of hand-pulling gave the feeling of echoing the meditative experience she spoke of in tattooing.
Shop Knobbly x Laurie Franck: