Wouter Zuidema
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What is your specialty, what makes your work unique? Or place your artist's statement.

As an illustrator I am interested in exploring the sociological/psychological aspect of image making. In the end, my work often revolves around the struggles of mankind (mainly the younger generation) determining his place and course on this earth. About how to navigate through the social landscape and to arrive at the essence of his actions. “How do I live as honestly as possible with myself and others, and can I do 'the right thing’" are questions that I ask myself as a creator.
As a tattoo artist I can serve others as a visual medium and bridge the formal gap between client and maker through trust. In order to give something of myself to someone else, from person to person.
This way I turn my craft into something that is not only commercial, but also deeply personal and intimate.

What are your ambitions? What do you want to be in five years?

In five years I want to have done a tattoo apprenticeship and have mastered the craft as well as I can. Then I want to start my own tattoo shop/studio, or form a collective with other artists.
As a tattooing illustrator I find myself in an area that falls between these two disciplines, which offers new possibilities and perspectives. And I may find space/opportunities to collaborate with other people/companies outside of the tattooing.
In short: being an illustrative tattoo artist with his own shop, who does projects/assignments outside of that that are separate from tattooing. And maybe some spare time to paint and do ceramics

What is the most important thing you have learned during your studies?

When I started out as an animator at the HKU, I was a guy who "enjoyed drawing" and wanted to "make it his profession". At that time my portfolio consisted of a sketchbook with copied characters from cartoon series, and some material studies.
When I discovered -after 2 years- that the animation method was not quite it for me, I switched to the discipline illustration. But you can still see the animation characteristics in my work.
In my 5-year career at the HKU, more and more pieces of the puzzle fell into place, until I finally knew how I want to use my visual talents in the professional field: as a tattoo artist.
It took me a while to give in to this fascination that had been there since a young teenager.
I look at images with a completely different perspective than years ago, and I am now truly convinced that what I have learned can be applied in practice.