How Japan Inspired a Tattoo Legend – Filip Leu

If you’re a tattoo fan it’s impossible not to know who Filip Leu is. His work has been featured in literally all medias, magazines and blogs covering tattoo culture.

Filip’s tattoo art has become a standard in the contemporary tattoo scene and he’s a role model for generations of many younger tattoo artists.

The story of Filip Leu

If, by any chance, you have missed his work we will now tell you all about it. Moreover, we’ll tell you about the interesting charcater Leu actually is and about his even more intriguing life story.

Filip is a child of two tattoo artists – Felix and Lorreta. His family company today is known as “ The Leu Family Iron”. Little Filip got his first tattoo at the age of ten. Of course, it was his father who made it.

At the age of 13 Filip had already started tattooing himself. It was again his father who taught him the art of tattoos.

Entering the world of tattoos

As Leu explains in interviews, when he was only 15 years old he got his first full-time job as a tattoo artist. It might sound amazing but considering his artistic origin and background it’s actually okay.

As a kid Filip spent many hours drawing designs for clients. So it was the logical next step to start tattooing.

A style you can’t mistake

Filip Leu’s style is immediately recognizable. He’s been developing this unique interpretation of Japanese designs for more than 30 years. He started practicing the traditional Japanese style at the age of 17. This happened when he went to Japan. Their tattooing traditions were his inspiration. Filip says he loves Japanese tattoos because they’re strongly graphic and limitless.

The iconic artist himself transformed traditional tattooing into something new and very personal. He’s been developing his style throughout his whole tattooing career. Leu’s been mixing traditional Japanese tattoos with American and Indian elements. By adding a lot of shading and brighter colors, Filip managed to not only create his own style but inspire many other artists as well.

The inspiration behind the ink

Leu finds inspiration from various aspects of his life and work. First come the customers, then the other artists he admires. Of course, there’s the place of his family, who are the people that lit the first creative spark. Filip Leu is inspired from American culture and tattoo traditions, but from Tribal tattoos as well. As he said in an interview for Heartbeat Ink, his artistic ego is also a driving force for him.

The tattoo designs of Filip Leu

Filip’s designs are a graphic story that his client’s bodies are telling through ink. He likes Japanese tattoos because they are a whole piece, an outfit a unique body suit. Most of his tattoos are large scale pieces and are staying true to the traditions he was inspired by.

Filip Leu’s designs are being copied by many young artists. Some are fans of his work others are sadly less skilled and creative. Once taught by his own father, today Filip is an example to follow. He’s considered a true genius of tattoo masterwork. And that’s for a reason.

Follow Filip Leu on Instagram or check out his official website.