Topic: Pepa Heller: Seeking Ink Perfection
Tauranga's Pepa Heller is a highly regarded award winning tattoo artist. His artistic talent and reputation, in an artform that requires both technical skill and experience, is gaining widespread recognition.
Pepa was born in the Czech Republic and came to New Zealand in 2000 well qualified with four years’ experience in tattoo art and design.
"I fell for New Zealand, a beautiful country, and for its people and their 'sweet as' attitude.
"I knew about the presence of tattoo art as part of the culture in New Zealand.”
Pepa began his New Zealand tattooing work in Rotorua before coming to Tauranga with his artist wife Jana where they opened the well-respected Bohemian Tattoo Arts studios in Grey Street.
Pepa Heller at work in his Tauranga studio.
Initially there was an art gallery as part of Bohemian Tattoo Arts where local artists could display their work but as the business grew this was discontinued because of space constraints.
When I ask Pepa about the studios he explained," as a studio we have been hosting many tattoo artists from around the world, and generally we have four full time artists at the shop."
"Bohemian Tattoo Studios is focused on custom tattooing and we push for an individual approach.
"In tattooing, as artists, we cannot decide a theme or a piece to create, but everyday we work with people to bring their ideas to life.
"Sometimes we have to master diplomacy and advise people that some of their references and ideas are very poor, but at the same time we must be able to offer the right replacement or other options.”
Pepa Heller's recent Crocodile's reflection.
Pepa works a six day week devoting four of these to tattooing.
He enjoys going back to Europe to attend some of the many international tattooing conventions. He takes guest artist spots in local studios usually for a week before and after these conventions to gain more experience and more exposure.
In 2009 and 2011 Pepa attended the Stockholm Ink Bash and The London Convention.
His art related travels in Europe also allow him to return home to see family and friends.
In 2012 he went to the Nepal International convention in Kathmandu which he describes as a very interesting experience.
Pepa won awards at the Sydney Body Art Expo recently. This is one of the biggest and most prestigious events in the Southern Hemisphere.
If you're downtown visit Pepa at Bohemian Tattoo Art studios on Grey Street near Red Square and see the displays of various tattoo art styles on the walls and around the gallery area.
For more information about Pepa's art email firstname.lastname@example.org
by Pete Morris (February 2013).
Pete Morris is an occasional painter and an art lover. He is a freelance writer who has a particular interest in promoting the visual arts in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.
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