Traditional Tattoo Artist
Old Norse Founder
Old Norse - originally a language that has been in use from the 7th to the 15th century, spoken by the settlers, traders and raiders deriving from Scandinavia. These people travelled all around Europe, Russia, the Middle East, North Africa and even to America. On their journeys they picked up beautiful pieces of art and inspiration, that they brought home, also new philosophies and technologies - all to be included in their world and creative expression.
An important connecting part of early European and Nordic art is the iconography of the sun cult. Sun discs and crosses have already appeared since the Stone Age to remain with the ancients all the way until they convert to Christianity, keeping the cross as the main symbol. Still today the sacred day of the “light of the world” is the Sun-day…
The sun cult connects people through regions and times. Who ever spent a time in winter in Scandinavia will need no further explanation, why the sun or its absence had and still has this great importance to us.
Old Norse apparel contains ancient European and Scandinavian designs, taken from finds ranging from Iceland in the north to France and Italy in the south, Britain in the west and the Caucasus in the east. The designs bear the genuine, slightly rough look of ancient times, pure and entirely without modern political agenda.
The logo shows an eight legged horse in the style of Iron Age Celtic coinage as found in great parts of modern Europe and thus, already then, forming a cultural bridge from the Balkans to the British Isles.
Our mission is to create timeless apparel, beautiful and functional at the same time. We are committed to the best possible quality and environmentally compatible production.
We are inspired by artwork as old as the Stone Age and as young as the Mediaeval period, all moulded in contemporary expression. Old Norse is made for those who live fully in the now and endulge the beauty of the past.
All attempts to link Old Norse apparel to modern political or religious groups and expressions are futile, since our designs derive from times before our modern concepts and quarrels had taken form. Old Norse aims to connect, not to divide.
“Sol lucet omnibus” - The sun shines for everyone.
I was born on a dark and rainy autumn night during the last millennium. I grew up in a very small village in West Germany, located in dense, old forest below a large military training area. In my childhood, I was exposed to a lot of green. The forest with the old mossy stone rings was my playground, twigs and leaves my favourite toys. My father served in the army during the Cold War, so my earliest memories of clothing are that rugged olive-green combat dress. Although my works today are mainly graphic and black and white, the different shades of green are my favourite.
I was raised very christian. In the house, there was strictly no TV, no screens, but I was provided with plenty of nonfiction books. Before I could read, I saw a lot of pictures from archaeological findings. The old skulls and tattooed mummies fascinated me and my little eyes absorbed an abundance of ancient art styles. Walt Disney comics inspired me and made me dream of one day working at Walt Disney Studios.
While my contemporaries engaged in the first generation of computer games, I started drawing and read a lot of books. I became a fast reader and a really bad gamer. Although the music I make with Heilung is used in videogames, I still suck massively at gaming.
My drawings became very dark in my teenage years. It turned from suns, houses, trees and people into sceneries of war, destruction and violence, which was an expression of the darkness I experienced. War on the Balkan was raging, and a lot of people fled to Germany, where they became classmates and colleagues.
School was no fun. There was a lot of fighting on the yard. Alcohol entered my life and although I was living on the countryside, drugs were easily accessible and destroyed some of my mates. Luckily, I chose Heavy Metal over ecstasy.
I became an unbalanced, aggressive teenager. At the same time, a nasty skin rash appeared all over my body, which left many doctors clueless and me unhealed.
Around my 18th birthday, I ended up in a neo- shamanic séance. At that time, being deeply rooted in black metal lifestyle, I thought that these hippies with their drums and their incense were just crazy. Nevertheless, that weird recipe I received there, after modern medical standards had failed, helped immediately. I could watch my skin heal and it remained healthy. From then on, my curiosity made me dive into shamanism and the spiritual aspects of the ancient arts. My visual expression changed once more. Celtic and Nordic pre-christian art started opening up to me and kept me busy for many long nights on my drawing board.
My enthusiasm eventually led to skills. One day, I wanted one of my drawings printed on a shirt and had to wait for it being done. That's when I saw this little tattoo shop and went in.
In there, I met Astrid Köpfler, who became my teacher and mentor for tattooing. She used to illustrate books and after showing great interest in my drawings, offered to teach me how to be a tattoo artist.
I took that offer gladly and picked up the tattoo gun after a warmup in the studio.
We worked together for nine years. The local biker gang was deeply rooted in Nordic and Germanic iconography. We had a lot of customers asking for Nordic-inspired tattoos, which I was very happy about. Quickly, i learned traditional tattoo methods. I worked a lot without a tattoo machine, just with sticks and needles.
One day, I got the offer to move to Denmark and work in a tattoo studio that was a leader in traditional Nordic tattooing. That was when Viking art became my daily business. I started travelling the world, continuing to represent traditional Nordic tattoo art internationally. I always dressed in reconstructed Viking clothing from around 1000AD and only used sticks and needles for tattooing.
Some years later, I published a book. Nordic Tattoo contains some of my tattoo works that are mainly inspired by pre-christian Northern European art.
When the owner of the studio retired, I took over. Then, I met Christopher and his partner Maria. Together, we formed Heilung, a Nordic spiritual music project. Not only are my drawings represented in Heilung booklets and merchandise. My ancient mumbling and humming, that I picked up while studying shamanism turned into actual music.
Heilung went under contract with Season of Mist. The owner of the label, Michael Berberian, introduced me later to Christophe and Stef from Hyraw. The four of us founded the clothing brand Old-Norse, creates high-quality apparel with Nordic and Celtic appearance.
Last year, I officially retired from tattooing, but not from the drawing board. I still draw a lot. By embracing the digital age, I can travel with just a tablet and draw everything I want and need with minimal effort. My art is represented in Heilung and now, Old-Norse.
I've been drawing since childhood. I was always fascinated by history, art and mythology and dreamed of working at Walt Disney Studios!
At the end of my teenage years, I opened my eyes, deepened my knowledge of pre-christian mythology and animism, and turned away from monotheism.
After finishing school, I met tattoo artist Astrid Köpfler (Drauf & Dran / Heaven and Hell / Living Art, Germany) who took me on as her apprentice in 2001. Eight busy and successful years followed, where I toured through Scandinavian Viking Markets, doing strictly traditional tattooing in the summer, and worked in 'Living Art Studio' the rest of the year.
Eventually, I became the guest artist for Kunsten på Kroppen and published a book on Nordic tattooing. Then everything changed when I met Christopher Juul and Maria Franz. Together, we started the shamanic/spiritual music project Heilung. We performed live for the first time in 2017 and have been touring the world ever since.