Thomas Burkhardt is a prominent figure in the Berlin tattoo scene. Born and raised in Berlin, he had an early start following no apprenticeship. When asked if he had mentors in his work, he said "It is best to kill your idols rather than follow them; it's better to become their rivals". His drawing and motifs are very personal; he owns a rich iconography. He rarely uses any color in his tattoos. "Black is the best choice for the future" he remarks, as black ages well on the skin. "There are certain things that work on skin and others that work solely on paper," he adds. "It is important to have bold outlines because when colors fade away, the design remains".
Burkhardt worked in many different studios both in Berlin and abroad before settling on this current residence at Erntezeit in Prenzlauer Berg. The atmosphere in his studio is very inviting and Burkhardt is always ready to talk. To get a good tattoo done he engages the client in a good conversation. When it comes to taste in music, he loves to listen to dark and heavy industrial music. In spite of that, nowadays, he is very much into 60's and folk music.
"A tattoo should be honest and fairly priced," he states. He is clear of what money can buy and not; it would never be a limit or a goal in itself. "People should be more open to collaborations, trades, exchanges or bring talent together," as money shouldn't be a barrier or impediment.
When asked about his hometown, he said he wouldn't mind spending more time abroad. "I feel Berlin can be too hectic at times. To live in a smaller town makes it easier to know more people around you, to connect with them and work together," he says.
On his skin you can see traces of his life in tattoos done by friends and colleagues. "It's like a diary of our own journey." He laughed when he recalled a tattoo done by a good friend of his, she wrote "Tofu" one evening when they were working together in a vegetarian restaurant. Although his friend had no tattooing background, he encouraged her to tattoo it on him.
Food is very important to Burkhardt and besides drawing, cooking is one of his preferred activities. Using good ingredients and cooking simple but tasty is his philosophy. Cooking helps him balance himself out, as ink is his passion.