Adriaan Machete, Acclaimed Neo-Traditional Tattooist

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Adriaan Machete, German tattoo artist, was inspired by Art Nouveau and Renaissance painters. His delicate and beautifully colored body art is widely recognized. After he completed his apprenticeship with Iban Maya, Machete began his professional tattoo career in 2007. His major break came in 2010 when he was invited to be a guest artist in various studios, from Salon Serpent to Wolf & Dagger founding his shop and art gallery in Berlin in 2013 and participating in prestigious conventions in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Moscow, and beyond. We met him at the London Tattoo Convention 2018 and took photos for Scene360.

This interview explores Machete’s anthropological and spiritual studies as well as his zest for life.

Above: Let your heart be open to reawakening the soul. Our hearts are our gateways to the mystic realms.
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Adriaan Machete surfed the beach of Lanzarote in Spain.

What jobs did you have before becoming a tattoo artist?

I have had many jobs but most of them were with something I love. I worked at a skateboard shop as I loved surfing and skateboarding. Later, I baked vegan cakes and pizzas that were sold at concerts. I also sold alternative clothing and records at markets. I worked in Berlin festivals, taking care of stages and selling delicious food because I loved music.

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Soul Vases refers to the power that links to creation and allows our lives and all-natural beauty flourish.

Your anthropological studies had any influence on your tattooing. The human connection and understanding.

It has helped a lot! It was a great experience to study anthropology at university. I could travel to remote areas and to meet interesting people. It’s an identical process, but every person is unique. It is a wonderful experience to get to know someone and to be able to tattoo something on their body. I was able to learn a lot from each person who I tattooed. They all had amazing stories and we share many of the same needs, passions, and hardships. Because tattooing is universal, I was able to create beautiful relationships with my customers.

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The large-scale art piece depicts the divine feminine embodiment.

While your tattoos are undoubtedly characterized as Neo-Traditional, how can you incorporate the spiritual element into your work? How can it be spiritually defined?

Lucky me, I was there at the right place and time when Jurgen Eckel and Lars Uwe, two great German artists, created the Neo-Traditional style. They were my inspiration and I began my neotraditional style. In my early years of life, I experienced a mental and physical breakdown. This led to a spiritual awakening. It completely changed my life. My purpose and my journey became centered on spiritual growth. This also had an impact on my art and tattooing. While I retained my neotraditional techniques and color palettes, I began to incorporate spiritual symbolism in order to help people align with their divine purpose and self. I used tattooing to help clients heal, grow and expand their consciousness.

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Sri Yantra tattoo of Machete is a symbol of the interconnection of many levels and a portal towards the sacred truths of loving consciousness.

What was the reason for the breakdown?

My body began to shut down due to stress. I didn’t notice until I was completely unconscious. That day I realized that my life had a purpose, and that I needed change in order to grow as a person. It dawned on me that we all are one divine being. That everything is interconnected. That I, as well as everything else, is energy. And that my behavior towards others is the same way I treat myself. This realization made life so much more enjoyable and gave me a new understanding of the world.

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According to the Tower tarot cards, all obstacles and challenges in life are a part of a secret path that leads to enlightenment.

What helped you to get out of this downward spiral and into a better place?

Because I was experiencing intense spiritual awakening, I looked for healers. Everything happens for a reason. I was guided by my higher self to help me find them. As we all are one, we all need one another to heal and grow. I discovered a new world in which I can read books, take workshops, and be inspired by anyone and everything that has a spiritual purpose.

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Death becomes a beautiful feeling of serenity when we realise there is no other place to go than within. All of the drama in existence was preserved by the divine consciousness.

You’re not depressed anymore since then.

Depression is when people need to let go of all the negative energy and make room for more positive energies.

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The never-ending dance of light and dark.

What advice do you have for others about life and work?

Because everyone is a miracle being of energy, awareness and consciousness that can manifest itself, I don’t have any advice. However, I can tell you that even in your most difficult moments, you’re not alone. Everyone in this world is part of you and will be there for you when you need it. We are all the most powerful, divinely connected beings.

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These Hand tattoos signify our darkness as well as our divine ability see beyond the veil.

What are some of your top tattoo subjects?

Portraits of women are still fascinating to me. They can be used as a way to honor the aesthetic beauty and power of animals, humans, and objects that have a magical or energetic purpose. The beauty and divine alignment of nature reminds me of flowers and organic elements. To help clients expand their consciousness and energy, I combine all of these elements.

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Machete’s Sunset Session; teaching meditation and yoga at Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin

What should you do if your client has negative energy or bad vibes?

In reality, however, this is not the case. Bad We are all energy. When we become disconnected or stressed, or are not in alignment with nature or ourselves, then blockages and diseases can appear. This creates the illusion that someone is truly whole. Bad Or negative. In essence, they have just taken a wrong direction and need to change.

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Illustration of the moon, stars, and mysterious atmosphere that inspires dreams, lovers, soul-searchers, and fantasies.

Your work is highly illustrated by its sketch-like lines, and the striking color combinations. Sketch on paper or pen first

We are so grateful! I’m an artist, and I still sketch everything on paper. I love the feel of the pencils and pens in my hands and the paper full of color. It’s also a ritual and meditation for me. I draw at night listening to ambient music, so the results are more clear when I see them in the morning light. My intuition is a powerful tool I use to guide me in my decisions about what to draw and create. It’s something we all have, as all of us are artists.

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The artist practices yoga on Fuerteventura in Spain, where the mountains meet the human body.

You are also a Shamanic healer and sound teacher. Please describe these practices in detail.

After my spiritual awakening, I began to focus on healing, dissolving any old conditioning and growing spiritually. So I started looking for healers to guide me on this new path. I learned healing techniques to help other people and became more aware about my body, health, as well as energy. I met many others on this journey. They inspired me and motivated me to learn yoga. I became a yoga teacher and Theta-healing practitioner in India, and also developed my Shamanic abilities to assist others. My belief in magick and esoteric practice has always been a part of my life. I know that many people are beginning their spiritual and healing journeys. I have experienced difficult situations which have helped me to give support to others.

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The serpent’s awakening is depicted in a tattoo. This energy is found in our root chakra.

You have a full-time job. Do you have other interests?

Yes! Yes. I do. You will see me creating art, tattooing or at sea surfing waves, giving Shamanic sound healing, and going to Kirtans (Indian inspired spiritual music gatherings) and Satsang (spiritual discussions). I feel like I made a life that combines my interests and hobbies; I’m thankful for the many opportunities tattooing has provided me.

Photos © Adriaan Machete

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