After working at Black + Blue Tattoo for seven years and winning various accolades and awards, artist Brücius von Xylander is getting ready to strike out on his own and will open Black Serum at 310 Valencia later this summer. Black Serum, while it will function as a tattoo parlor, will offer more of a confluence of creative work.
“As owner of the space, I can materialize the dream of creating a true hub, to connect artisans, artists, and merchants – makers of all kinds, essentially – who will converge in my shop and help me forge this space collaboratively. This is very dear to me,” Brücius wrote.
That said, Black Serum’s tattooing work will be heavily focused on blackwork, a style that uses entirely black lines and dots, rather than color, to create images. Brücius’ own repertoire includes fine art reproductions, etching medieval engraving, and images inspired by flora and fauna, botanical prints and scientific illustrations. That aesthetic is reflected in Black Serum’s logo – a hand, as a symbol of artisanship and skill, topped with a tattoo needle and etching tool above.
“Nature, science, and art, in all their beauty and strangeness, will converge in the shop to make it a space that nods to the whole tradition behind us, but that certainly brings it all into our contemporary moment, making it relevant today,” he wrote. “Tattooing continues the legacy of the black line, and the shop will consider this legacy as the basis for a whole world of expression through craft and art. The past, the present, and the future will gather at Black Serum to hopefully provide a home base for all those who share this amazement at the art in nature and the nature in art.”
A complete roster of artists who will be working at at Black Serum isn’t clear yet, but Brücius says he’s looking for tattoo artists who connect with their clients.
“A tattoo is at once a vehicle for self-expression and a powerful moment of healing. You are engaging in a moment that will mark the client, quite literally, for the rest of their lives. They come with their history and you strive to honor this history, working alongside them to bring their vision into reality,” he wrote.
Sometimes, that connection can result in collaboration or trade, he said.
“Even when I’m tattooing, I’ll ask my clients, “What do you do?” not as a means of sizing someone up, but rather to establish a more sincere relation where this person has the opportunity to trade their skill for mine,” the tattoo artist wrote. “This kind of environment really lets me draw in a slew of makers and doers from all walks of life together on the basis of craftsmanship, and I ensure everyone is willing to collaborate, not just in it for themselves.”
Brücius is currently developing the shop’s web platform, furnishing the space and hiring staff, but expects to be opening Black Serum sometime in late summer or fall of 2017.