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September 1, 2015

Talk to: Henk Schiffmacher


With a piece of chalk (or several), a black wall and no restrictions, we invite creatives to let loose on our lobby chalkboard. This time Amsterdam’s renowned tattoo artist makes his mark. Let us introduce the sharp witted and extremely talented: Henk Schiffmacher (also known as Hanky Panky).

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As soon as Henk arrives he is armed with chalk markers and already starting on the chalkboard. Dressed in his overalls, vodka in one hand, head to toe in tattoos, his wife by his side. He’s our kind of guy.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself….
‘Just wikipedia me, it’s easier’. He says with a straight face.


It’s true, there’s a lot of information about Henk. He is famous worldwide for his tattoo skills (he has tattooed artists from Red Hot Chilli Peppers to Kurt Cobain) but aside from this he is a photographer, world traveller, painter, ambassador of foundation ‘Orange Babies’ for Pregnant woman with HIV, typographer… the list is endless, this man has skills.


So what’s your connection with Volkshotel?
“Well I live in the neighbourhood so I’ve seen this place grow. From the old Volkskrant building to Canvas on the 7th to Doka when it was a construction site.

I’m familiar with Thijs, who brought Canvas to the building, we know him as the ‘King of the Wibautstraat’. Thijs changed the face of the Wibautstraat for many people, he’s got a great, unique mind. I also used to photograph for the Volkskrant. Selling sports pictures to them. Volkshotel is a good place, in one year it’s become a packed institute – people working, drinking, partying, sleeping. I like that.”

How did you come to drawing on our chalkboard?
“Sabina (one of Volkshotel’s staff) used to work for me in my tattoo shop, she asked if I wanted to come and do it. It’s around the corner and I like to do things for my neighbourhood. Come and have a drink and draw a bit.”

Can you tell us about your piece?
“The elements in the pattern are specific to tattoos in the Pacific, especially Polynesian people. They believe that a person’s ‘mana’, their spiritual power or soul is displayed through their tattoo. I use these shapes a lot in my work. The skull in the middle is my signature mark.”

IMG_5204 (1)Henk’s wife, Louise, is his muse and artist in her own right. She also adds a bit to the chalkboard, writing the names of the artists from their shop and making more patterns. Soon, she’ll be coming in to work her own magic on our chalkboard…and we look forward to it
Check out Henk‘s Tattoo shop if you’ve got the itch for ink.

Schiffmacher en Veldhoen
Ceintuurbaan 416 / Amsterdam
020 470 55 78
Open: 11:00 – 19:00, Thursday & Friday till 21:00.

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