The Artist: Cris Cleen [NYC feature]

cris cleen saved tattoos brooklyn nyc

Name: Cris Cleen

Profession: Tattoo Artist at Saved Tattoo, Brooklyn, NY

The Story: 

Cris’s love for erotic, romantic and dark paintings have certainly been infused into his tattoos. “My tattoo style has always been the primitive and emotional symbols of love, lust, fear, faith..”. Read on to know more about Cris as The Tattoo Treasury had the pleasure of meeting, interviewing and getting tattooed by him.

How did you become a tattoo artist?

Cris: When i first started getting tattooed as soon as I turned 18, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The work made sense to me. The art was exotic yet in a language that i thought everyone could relate to. I managed to get an apprenticeship and from then on, the rest is history.

How would you describe your personal style of tattooing?

Cris: I don’t like to say too many words to describe a look or style. However, I think it has a lot to do with a feeling and when I get it, I see it.  The vocabulary of my style has always been the primitive and emotional symbols of love, lust, fear, faith, images that don’t alienate any type.

Tell me more about your art book (the leather one)?

Cris: To me, anything put on a person that hasn’t been on their skin before is custom work. It’s made to fit the wearer and goes on them in that very moment, uniquely.

My leather book is filled with designs that I have worked on for a long time. It’s the accumulation of all the work and efforts in my career up to this point. Designs with kinks worked out of them and images that i want to stay in rotation. When people consider what they want to wear, they look so much at the current tattoo trends and things that have already been created and made to wear by someone else.

My book is there to keep the designs I like and think are important in circulation. Hopefully encouraging people to say what they want with a piece through those images.

Who has been your greatest influence?

Cris: I think I have been influenced by everyone that I have came across in every form. Everything I see, stays in my mind. Sometimes for better or worse. None the less, an important influence to my work and my interest in art.

What has got to be your biggest lesson that tattooing has taught you?

Cris: The biggest thing I have learned in tattooing is to remember that the person i’m tattooing wears it longer than I see it.  Thus the need to always consider this when designing things for them.

Additionally, about tattoos, it is a crude art that is both beautiful and powerful.

Who would be the one person that if you could, would tattoo?

Cris: Everyone that gets tattooed by me is appreciated and respected. So I wouldn’t think of anyone that would be more important. The art and my art is what brings us together in the moment so your always meeting someone who sees things like you.

If you were not a tattoo artist you would be a..? 

Cris: I have no idea what I would do if i wasn’t tattooing. It’s a scary thought so instead it’s important to focus on putting all my energy into crafting this and make something special.

Tattoos to me are….?

Cris: Like armor. That is made to make us look beautiful.

Cris Cleen_ASH_8970Cris Cleen_ASH_8967Cris Cleen_ASH_8965Cris Cleen Saved Tattoo Brooklyn NYCCris Cleen Saved Tattoo Brooklyn NYC
The Tattoo Treasury

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