Interview with Berlin-Based Vegan Tattooist Florian Hirnhack
Meet the creative genius behind our insanely popular "CONNECTED" long sleeve designs which just dropped recently and have been flying out the door ever since. Florian is an extremely talented (vegan) tattoo artist and owner of the awesome Berlin based queer tattoo studio, TTTRIP. Their work focuses on botanical, biological and medical illustrations and their combinations to create their own unique look. As well as living a vegan lifestyle, Florian uses only vegan inks and materials in all their practices.
The Connected long sleeve was inspired by all the things that connect us as beings, reflecting on the intersection of nature and humans; animals, plants, and insects.
We talk with Florian about their personal style, artistic inspirations, fave vegan food and much more in celebration of our latest and super popular collaboration together...
Can you tell us a bit about your early days of when and how you discovered tattooing? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small suburb of Saarbrücken, Germany. For many years getting or even doing tattoos was not an option for me. I accepted tattoos however I never regarded at them as a part of my identity especially because the styles back then were never interesting enough for me to imagine them on my own body. At the age of 23 I received my first tattoo and shortly after two little ones more. At the age of 24 I finally discovered an artist who did a guest spot in Saarbrücken. Never before had I seen someone doing tattoos with the approach he did it so I booked an appointment with him immediately. From this moment on I knew there is more outside of this little bubble where I used to live.
Can you talk a little bit about your journey to your current style? What kind of stuff did you start out doing?
In 2016 I made a huge step and moved to the city of my choice, Berlin. Having gained this new freedom I realized that I am so much more than I thought I’d ever be so I spent many hours, days, weeks of self-reflection to find out who I am and who I want to be. I’ve always loved drawing an as a child I loved going to the forest where I would collect dead insects or animals to preserve and study them. Kinda creepy for a 5 year old. I also started collecting taxidermy in these very early ages. When I started tattooing I knew at once that my style will be determined by these childhood experiences. As a starter it’s not easy to be at the end of the racing track even though yon want it so badly. I taught myself to be more patient and gentle with myself, giving me the time I needed to reach the point where I am right now, the point where I feel comfortable with my style.
My early drawings were inspired by the obscure world of death already however from a technical aspect I wasn’t able and therefore ready to translate what was in my mind to tattoos. I’ve been tattooing for 4 years now in total and I’m finally able to position myself with the style that connects my past with who I am today.
Do you feel like Berlin is a special place for tattooing and how does the city influence your work?
I think Berlin is a very great place for tattoos - in my opinion one of the best in the world. It's an authentic spot where many creatives gather and develop their style freed from outer influences simply by being able to be oneself. That’s at least how I experienced it. Nowhere except with my closest friends and family I felt I’m allowed to be who I was.
Favourite place to grab vegan food in Berlin?
There are so many crazy good places to grab the best vegan food. I think it always depends on my daily mood. If I wanna get a quick and very good Turkish delight I’ll go grab something from Cafe des Schicksals - a great place which offers a variety of vegan food just around the corner of my studio. Once a week probably I go to +84, best vegan crispy mock duck ever tasted. I wanna die in it one day. Please burry my in it. If you like a hip, slightly romantic pizza place my choice is Sotto.
There are so many more but I’d fill pages with tacky restaurant recommendations.
If I had to pick one it’d be vegan ice cream but I love mayo so badly….one day I’ll have both.
How do you describe your style (of dress) and what influences it?
I feel inspired by my grandma’s styles. My dad’s mom born in the 30s is a classic housewife. She knows everything about housekeeping and thanks to her I learned how to keep my shit together. Cooking, laundry, dishes - name them all I’m your guy. In terms of style she’d dress up pragmatically during the day but when we left to the city or diner, she’d always wear classic chique 50s skirts or trousers. The patterns I love a lot because in my eyes they are very timeless so she definitely influenced my style.
Second my mom’s mom. She’s a lady always dressed up very outgoing, bold Gucci glasses. That’s just another part of my style. In the end I guess that my style is a mix of both of their styles.
Two songs you’re loving right now
I love music and the songs I’m listening to highly depend on my mood which flickers from day to day. Without medication I’d go total nuts but music always balances me somehow. On low days I listen to Clams Casino especially the song Caves. In my up phases I like stuff like Pastel Ghost - Emotion.
What is it you love the most about tattooing?
The most I love about tattooing someone is that through the process I’m able to channel my inner pain into others and turning it into something beautiful. Getting tattoos on myself is also related to this topic. I have a dissociative disorder which bums me every day. Experiencing pain is a way to feel myself in a constructive way.
Are there any artists that influence you? / Even better, do you have any favourite vegan or queer tattooists?
I really like la.van_pira. Good good stuff and I really wanna meet them one day. Also inkbrambles who does marvelous botanical tattoos.
What inspires you generally?
In general I feel inspired by everything that surrounds me. I am a product of my environment. Catching and combining all the clues the world and my past are giving me does the whole thing I guess.
The classic question we have to ask — what made you turn vegan and when was it?
Honestly a couple of years ago I wasn’t fully aware of all the misery that is happening with animals. but once I started to educate myself about what’s really going on I began to rethink where and how I can make an impact. When my boyfriend eventually decided to go vegan it was even easier for me to say ‚let’s do that together‘. Now my feelings towards veganism haven’t changed. Not only for ethical reasons but also the wealth of our society and environment I think it’s an issue we should not neglect any longer.
What have you been working on during quarantine? Other projects or hobbies you have going on?
Besides tattooing I’m developing an unconventional interior object together with a very good friend of mine. This project we started already before the pandemic. The time in isolation I mainly used to get some rest but also connect to other people with similar interests and ethics who I wanna work with - like PlantFaced Clothing.
BUT most importantly my main project during Covid-19 was fighting my ass through Super Smash Brother’s Ultimate Online Mode to become a Elite Smash Player - successfully. Yes for real!
What are you dreaming of for the future?
For my future I’m dreaming of a world where people are a bit nicer to each other and of course primarily to themselves. I think that’ll solve many problems in this world.
The final question to tie this all up… Would you rather — be able to talk to land animals, animals that fly, or animals that live under the water? What would you discuss with them?
I’m fucking shitting myself when I’m watching documentaries about sharks or whales. The ocean no matter how fascinating it is is just not my thing. I’d say animals that fly - birds probably. What does the world look like from above? Do you feel free when you can decide just to leave the ground under your feet? Do you wanna shit on dumb peoples heads? Are you scared that one day your natural habitat will be gone?