Belly Button was trained as a fine artist but replaced the brushes and canvases for ink and skin to pursue his passion for freehand tattooing. His variety of textures and exclusive illustrations have gained him an international reputation in the body art scene. He is a regular guest tattooist in San Francisco, Berlin, Paris, London and Brussels. However, he spends most of his time at his own studio in Perpignan where he has over a year waiting list. After having met Belly in France and been acquainted with his work, it was a no brainer for us to invite him to the Wear Your Waste art project… and we couldn’t be happier with the results! In this interview he tells WYW more about his life and influences.
Belly Button and a sample of “Finger Waves”
When did you know you were born to draw?
When I heard my mum say “let him draw, when he draws he doesn’t mess up around”
When and why did you change your course to freehand tattooing?
Each artist finds the perfect medium for him. A painter uses canvas, a drawer uses sheets of paper, I prefer skin.
What are your artistic influences?
I studied at the Fine Arts School for six years. There I learned about so many artists that still inspire me today: Klimt, Mucha, Cézanne, Manet, Warhol, Pollock… In the tattoo scene there are great artists that I admire such as Philippe Leu, Shige, Bugs, Xoil, Easy Sacha, Yom and many more. It’s such a long list that I couldn’t possibly continue. I’m lucky to be able to travel around the world. Since the start of this year I’ve already worked in Rio, Mexico, Austin and Reunion Island where I am right now. Travelling is a great source of inspiration.
What was the inspiration behind WYW’s illustration?
Honestly, when WYW first contacted me to explain their project, an old slogan from another brand from the nineties came to my mind: “destroy the waves, not the beach”. This inspired me to draw an illustration with a Japanese inspiration. I designed my illustration according to the shapes of the bikinis and the curves of a woman’s chest. My aim was to play with the lines and the movement in order to enhance the bust of a woman, make it more beautiful.
Wear Your Waste bikini, Belly Bandeau Top
What name would you give to WYW’s illustration?
What technique did you use for WYW’s illustration?
I worked in collaboration with graphic designer Sara Pasternak. I drew it all by hand (I’m not so keen on computers) and she faithfully converted my drawing into a digital illustration, line by line.
What’s your favourite part of the body to draw on?
Still the arm. It has so many curves and movements, lots of playful areas. It’s perfect to inspire any piece.
Where would you like to see a Belly Button’s drawing?
When I find the time and enough inspiration, I’ll paint a collection for a gallery exhibition.
Check out Belly’s creations in his website www.bellybuttontattooshop.com.