Meeting Carlo Amen

Carlo Amen
Carlo Amen, YB3 (triptyque) (2019)

Tattoo artist, avid traveller and visual artist, Carlo Amen, invites us on a journey through his works. Although inspired by the great Pablo Picasso, Amen’s unique technique is not entirely lost to the Cubist master. Powerful, captivating and inspiring; Amen’s work transcends the boundaries of contemporary art. Artsper found out more about the man behind the paint brush.

Can you tell us about your background?

I’m from Northern France, and I grew up with two artistic parents. When you spend your days surrounded by creativity in every corner of your home, it’s pretty easy to get the hang of.

Carlo Amen
Carlo Amen, La Porte secrète (2018)

Before becoming a visual artist, you were a tattoo artist. Why did you make this transition to painting?

The best way to answer would be: “because why not?” The magic of art is appreciating the lack of barriers and obstacles, and embracing a complete freedom of expression. Creativity provides that same feeling you get when you jump off a 30-metre cliff into the sea.

Carlo Amen
Artist’s Instagram @carloamenart

What inspires you?

Everyday life inspires me: old people chatting in bars, the bustle of flea markets, a freshly baked tart au mariolles, an old spiral staircase, 1920s architecture, youths racing their cars in car parks, and of course, the gypsies playing Three-card Trick on the corners of lively streets. However, my greatest source of inspiration is travel, and the myriad of colours you see in each country. From Mexico to Istanbul, Reykjavik to Sarajevo, Asia to Oceania; it’s impossible not to be inspired. Over the past 14 years, I’ve lived in 5 different countries, and travelled to more than 25. It’s through travel that I’ve expanded my curiosity, mind and perspective, and where I found my passion for art, architecture and culture.

Carlo Amen
Artist’s Instagram @carloamenart

You’re the co-founder of famous tattoo parlour, Les maux bleus. How would you describe life as a tattoo artist?

After 10 years on the road, and 4 years tattooing all over the world, I grew tired of living on sofas and blow-up mattresses. Paris has always drawn me in due to its high-demand for tattoos, and I also have friends here, so it made sense to lay down some roots. Sixo Santos and I, had planned to open a tattoo parlour for a while, so that’s what we did! In the beginning there were 4 partners, but from September it will just be the two of us. It’s incredible to think we opened Les maux bleus three years ago, time has passed by so quickly! We’re a strange little parlour operating in the midst of the Marais, so don’t hesitate to pop in! We’re open from Tuesday to Saturday!

The magic of art is appreciating the lack of barriers and obstacles, and embracing a complete freedom of expression.

Carlo Amen
Carlo Amen, Faux Mondrian (2018)

What’s coming up?

At the moment I’m working on a series of concrete and steel sculptures, and a skateboard series with a small brand from Lille. I’m especially excited about a big exhibition coming to the Sonia Monti gallery from the 15th September 2019, which will take place in the 8th arrondissement.

Find his works on Artsper: