Let Go of Ego: The Holistic Tattoo Art of Dane

Tattooist Dane in his ritual sesson outdoors -interview with artist

Having been on the road for six years and living in a van for two, Dane perceives “change” as part of his continuous personal growth.

Now established in the countryside of Vogt, Germany, where he set up his private studio “Abseits,”—Dane loves his natural surroundings (earth, water, fire, air, and space) and reproduces those energies into tattoo art. Each customer gets a custom piece based on connection and intuition. Kind of like therapeutic tattoos of the Ancient World, but not so much medicinal acupuncture, healing in a transcendent way.

Above: Friend and tattooist Jean-Marie Noir inks Dane in his garden.

abstract tattoo sleeve by dane, tattoo interview

The movement of the forms is all based on nature.

You love tattooing at conventions, yet this year you are faced with the cancellation of many events due to COVID-19. How have you dealt with all of this?

I was initially worried and overwhelmed. But I was able to see all of this positively pretty quickly, gaining my trust again and spreading love. It has been good slowing down and having time for myself and my family.

Tattooing is one of the oldest art forms and always has been a part of our history; that’s why I don’t think tattooing will disappear. Maybe it is not wrong to slow down the modern tattoo industry, which has become very big in recent years.

tattooed man in mountains, outdoor, dane tattoo

Customer Renko displays his healed tattoo sleeve.

Change is part of life, and you embrace it!

Change is a constant state for me, in which you basically can’t turn back, so I see it as continuous improvement. Everything is in change, and nothing stays the same; I see the beauty in this, and it gives me a feeling of being connected to the element water. Change means adapting to the flow of water. I move the way water does—only doing what I want. When I feel like it is time to move on, I can move on, but I do this with grace; I let the flow guide me and have complete trust in my intuition. I believe it is our true nature to move like water through Life.

nature tattoo sleeve abstract, holistic tattooing by dane, danepsydala

Dane’s technical ability can be seen in the textures of his work.

Many of your Instagram posts include the words, “Aho Mitakuye Oyasin.” What does it mean, and how does it relate to your art and philosophy?

“Aho Mitakuye Oyasin” is from the Lakota language. It means to be aware that we are connected and used in ceremonies and prayers. It reminds us to be mindful that we are all connected, and we should feel and feed this connection with positive energy, relating to Mother Earth and all life forms on this planet. I believe in Resonance’s law; that’s why I know that precisely the kind of people in Resonance with my way of tattooing find their way to me, which allows me to work free and let my creativity flow. I love connecting to my customers; I prefer to work freehand, creating unique tattoos filled for each individual’s needs and personality.

Encircled by nature is where Dane is the most comfortable.

When did you learn or put this into practice?

I have always been fascinated with indigenous people—learning about their cultures, medicine/healing, and Shamanism. I learned how to do energy work on different levels, leading me into the act of being a part of various ceremonies. I have connected with ancient knowledge, and it has become part of my way of life. For example, thinking I am with heart.

blackwork, arm and chest by dane

Attention to human anatomy is quite visible.

You’ve also described your form of art as “bespoke and holistic tattooing.”

It means that I only work with one customer per day to put my full focus only on one project and person. It is important to follow my impulses during the creative process, so I choose to work without any stress or distraction. It is necessary to take care of the holistic process of transforming the body and mind in that case.

arm tattoo by dane, beautiful abstract, holistic

A visual relating to “perception” and how one creates one’s world.

Please explain more about your ritual-like sessions.

I call my artistic style, “Free Mind Expression.” It is a state of mind that space and time no longer exist—no overthinking. I let my intuition work. I don’t have any expectations but faith that everything is happening at the right moment for the right reason. A concept of “beauty,” is based on the acceptance of impermanence and imperfection. It lives in everything that is considered authentic: nothing remains complete, and nothing is perfect. It is my kind of creativity. I love to unlock the magic of tattooing as a ritual. I feel like an instrument when I can implement what is necessary for my customers at that moment.

vogt germany, dane tatooer, artist, danepsydala

The breathtaking landscape of Vogt, Germany.

In 2018, you opened your private tattoo studio in the small village of Vogt, Germany. What led to the decision to open in this location?

I live in the middle of nature and enjoy the silence surrounding me; that is why it was challenging to open up my studio in a small village [that has more activity]. But people that come to me are in sync with my tattooing method. The studio is not a street shop. It is appointments only to be able to focus entirely on each customer.

This private studio includes a crew of three amazing human beings: Elias-Samuel, Annika Leonie, and me. Our motto is: Fuck ego and make art!

leg tattoo green and black by dane, danepsydala

An abstract art piece that represents the past, present, and future.

Other than tattooing, do you explore different mediums?

The art of tattooing is my passion, and I can hardly imagine my life without it. I have a love for creativity, so I also find a lot of joy in painting. Music is also a big part of me, not only listening to it but creating it. Music is medicine—my elixir of life.

Photos © Dane / psydala