Behind a tattoo hides a memory, a person, a moment. Whether you like it or not, it still represents an eternal work of art on an ephemeral canvas: our body. Each tattoo tells a story, especially that of Lynn Acra, a young tattoo artist from Beirut. Lynn caresses her canvases with soft lines. She is proud of her art, knows her responsibilities well and, for this reason, every time she touches a new body she does it with love.
When was Acra tattoo born?
I started tattooing at the age of 20, when I graduated and got my Bachelor’s Degree in illustration and comics at ALBA. But I only started professionally at 21. I’m now 25.
Do you remember the first time you got tattooed?
I do, I remember it like it was yesterday. I got a wave as a band on my forearm at 16. I intentionally got it done in Batroun, my happy place. This tattoo has so many different meanings to me and I still love it so much. And yes, you can get a tattoo at an early age and still choose it responsibly without regretting it!
What value do you give to your canvas, the skin?
I consider it as mine. Every time I tattoo someone, I put my heart and soul in it. Like I always say, it’s like giving a little piece of myself to each person I tattoo, and I love it. Surely, I don’t consider myself a commercial tattoo artist. I take my time with each person I ink and make sure they get the chance to soak their bodies with their own personal stories.
Was this the job you wanted as a child?
I always wanted to do something art-related, but I never really knew exactly what. I just felt like I wanted to draw, my whole life. And as I grew up, I was more and more interested in the concept of drawing on bodies. It’s such a beautiful thing to have art on your body forever!
How would you describe your creative path and what differentiates it from other tattoo artists?
I care. I care about the person I’m tattooing and about people’s stories. Besides, drawing all my tattoos from scratch and choosing the content is an essential phase of the creation. I invest a big part of my time listening to the client’s story and then translate it visually. I also try to avoid clichés, which makes me go through a huge research part before actually starting the illustration.
Do you think a city like Beirut leaves room for its artists?
This is a tough question. Well, personally I think Beirut is somehow a contradictory place. The tattoo scene has grown so much over the past 5-10 years and tats are not considered a taboo anymore. But when I think of art in general, be it music, acting, dancing etc., it becomes somehow difficult to make it at this level, which is too bad because we have so many great talents and it’s sad that the government doesn’t really boost such potential. Also, we still generally encourage younger generations to major in more mainstream subjects like medicine, engineering and law.
What does it mean to be a female tattoo artist from Beirut ?
This is a tricky question. Well, actually, being a female artist in Lebanon was a plus for me. I don’t know why, but for some reason people were more “impressed” by my art knowing I was a woman. As if it were impossible for women to reach high levels. And that’s the problem, at least for me. I really want people to see me as an artist first, and afterward as a woman, or a man.
What message do you want to transmit with your art?
It really depends, as I mentioned above. Each tattoo tells a story. So the message changes. And of course some people get tats because they appreciate the art of tattooing.
What are your future projects?
I dream big. I want the whole world to know my name. I need to work a lot on myself to get there and I take every chance I get to enhance my skills. Still, I don’t want to elaborate on it much, I might jinx it.
To know more about her work, click here.
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