Jondix spoke exclusively to HeartbeatInk Tattoo Magazine about his initiation into tattooing, his past as a tattoo nerd, the first tattoo he ever did; at Tas Danazoglou's neck, his experience in Greece while been Mike the Athens' apprentice and the issue of copying in Dotwork, which he characterizes as “embarrassing”.

What is you actual name? How did the name Jondix come up and what does it mean?

My name is Jondix, that's who I am. Before Jondix, I was another person. My “baptism” made me the human I am now. During one of the art reunions I used to attend with my friends Ciruelo Cabral, Eva Blank, Heinrich and others, this name came up as a joke, but a year later when Ciruelo published a new book, he used it in the credits and I thought it was a sign and that's how it started to affect me and change my mind in a more artistic way than before.


Where you working as an architect in the past? When did you first come into contact with tattoos and how did you get involved with tattooing?

I never worked as an architect. in fact I didn't even finish the university. After seven years I kinda quit... I needed money and I was into parties and guitars and Harleys and all the typical Mediterranean excess... I saw the first tattoos as a child on people from the army...badly done you know... and then in Boston I saw a good tattoo, a death reaper from Spider Web Tattoo and wanted it immediately. So at eighteen I started getting tattoos, like Steve Vai's autograph and some stupid biomechs until Tas Danazoglou came to Barcelona and saved me...

Is it true that you were “discovered” by Tas Danazoglou? How did you meet him?

He came to a Barcelona Tattoo Convention and then stayed at the LTW tattoo shop in Barcelona for some years. I got many tattoos from him and we became friends. I was a tattoo nerd already, buying magazines and stuff... I got my first tattoo when I was eighteen, that's twenty three years ago. There we no tattoo shops in Barcelona like there are today. I was going to tattoo conventions abroad just as a fan and even buying machines just for decoration purposes. Nobody did this in Barcelona, not even the established tattooists. So I knew who Tas was and I knew who Mike the Athens was from “Tattoo Planet” magazine and I wanted to get their more spiritual tattoos, as opposed to the trendy shiny stuff. Then one day on my birthday Tas came home and I played him “Resurrection” by Halford and he in return he showed me how to set up a machine and do a tattoo... and I ended up tattooing a bit on his neck that night...


Did Mike the Athens actually discourage you in the beginning from becoming a tattooist?

Mike was a proper teacher, giving me homework and of course telling me to quit many times. One day I called him on the phone because I was fucking up a tattoo and wanted to ask for help and he told me to stop tattooing and go to the kitchen and cook that nice curry I did last night for him again. Tas was with him and they were both laughing at me. How nice!

How did you end up coming to Greece and how long did you stay at Mike the Athens' private tattoo studio as his apprentice?

Well I was asked to join LTW because of my drawing skills and I was hesitant, but Tas pushed me because he liked my paintings of aliens and stuff. I finally accepted because we could be together and start that metal band we were talking about. Plus everybody in the shop was supercool. We would go to rehearsal studioς, burn the amps and run away... Then we made the first ever doom band in Spain, “Monolith AD” and then “Great Coven”. But Mike came over and asked me if I wanted to be his apprentice so I started going to Athens every time I could and we would have conversations on the phone for hours.


How was your experience with Mike the Athens?

He's the best teacher; a real artist not just a tattooist. But at that time no social media existed and very few books on tattoos. Mike has an old school attitude and that's very important these days. He has knowledge.

How was your experience in Greece?

I came to the first convention and did the poster together with Mike. I also did the poster for the second one. Everybody in the organization was very cool. I worked at Mike's studio many times, which is amazing. At one point we came with the band and played in Athens with local band “Lord 13”. I then met Yorg and all of Tas and Mike’s friends and it was fantastic.

How is your relationship with Mike the Athens now?

Perfect, we meet every year and do projects together. But he's frequently in the Goa frequency (laughs).


You've been tattooing for about a decade. Ten years in tattooing aren't considered to be that many. However, you have achieved an amazingly fast progression and have become a highly acclaimed tattooist. How did you achieve all that?

I don't care at all about those things. It's all about inspiration and not copying. Of course it is impossible to avoid copying the stuff you like when you start, but I'm talking about people who base their styles and designs completely on other tattooists' ideas. That's a very bad thing. Especially in Dotwork, this fact has become almost embarrassing.

How would you describe your tattoo style?

I can do Tibetan and Thai styles and I can manage some geometrical tattoos. I don't care anymore about styles. Good tattoos are good tattoos. I also like strange tattoos. Everything is an illusion... If you like a tattoo, you like it and that's it. If “reality” is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then “reality” is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain. 

Has your architectural background perhaps brought elements to the way you tattoo? Your geometrical works for instance?

Maybe... But my geometric influence started only when I met Xed Lehead. Ηe is the sole one who started it all and that's it.


Where are you currently based? Do you tattoo privately or in a studio? Where will your new studio in London be located and how did that come up?

I live in Barcelona at the moment. That's the place I use for my paintings. Ιt's the most inspiring place on earth for painting because the natural light is beautiful and because it has a lot of history. However all my energy and focus for tattooing is 100% in my new shop in London called “Seven Doors Tattoo” ( I’m trying to create a new style of tattoo shop there. Together with Deno, we want to create an environment for more artistic expression. It will be a new style of street shop where tradition meets future ways based in London, which is obviously the artistic avant-garde capital of Europe.

I am under the impression that you travel a lot. How does traveling relate to your tattooing?

Yes I like to travel, I always did. I went to Boston when I was eighteen to visit the Berklee College of Music and since then I love it. I get bored if I stay in one place for a long time. I need new tattoo shops, museums, music, clothes, you know!

Do you do any other artwork apart from tattooing?

I mostly do paintings more than tattoos right now. It depends... Times change unexpectedly. I do commercial paintings and illustrations and also artwork for bands ( Furthermore, and more importantly, I'm into art and spend lots of time on it, I will not show it in public however, only to my closest friends. 


What about your music projects?

I recorded my best guitar solo for “Satan's Wrath's” record (ed. Tas Danazoglou's band) and then I focused on “Aeonsgate”, my metal band featuring Mats Leven on vocals and Marco Minneman on drums. I am still waiting for a record deal at the moment... It's not easy. Last year in Nepal, me and Robert Ryan started another more experimental ambient musical project. It’s called “Tectonic Crystal” and we have already recorded all the instruments and we are working on the cover artwork right now. We will release it independently and sell it at the upcoming London Tattoo Convention.

Are there some tattoo artists or artists in general that have influenced you?

Everybody, even the worst tattoo artist can influence me. Lately I don't care. I just live my life... And anyway I won't mention my main influences.


You've already done “108 Marks” with Mike the Athens. When will “109 Apokrypha” be out? What kind of designs will we see? Is it going to be a limited edition again?

“109 Apokrypha” was just released during the Brighton Tattoo Convention. It is a limited edition again. This time the symbols are darker in nature and more obscure. The intro of the book is done by Aaron Back from Weta Workshop who designed the aliens for “District-9” and the robots for “Elysium” and Horikitsune (aka Alex Reinke) from Horiyoshi ΙΙΙ family has done the last eight symbols of the book once more. People can buy it sending an e-mail to Mike the Athens or to me.


Photos & interview by Ino Mei.