Thursday, August 11, 2011

INTERVIEW: Azarja Van der Veen

zaR!  in
Pin Up Originals


Back in early 2009, I was introduced to the lovely Zar. Meeting by chance through a mutual friend, Zar was the second model shot and helped give our throwback a well needed modern edge. Covered in beautifully executed artwork, Zar came to set styled by her own hand and ready to rock. Since the project was still in it's infancy at this time, she was not only patient, but also helped collaborate and flush out the best concept for each set. You can tell ideas were flowing as Zar is the only model in the entire deck to be rendered in 2 different outfits, a choice I decided to leave in as to not waste any of the wonderful photographs we collaborated on.

We sat down with Pin Up Players model and tattoo artist Azarja Van der Veen to ask a few questions about her involvement in Pin Up Players/Originals, her passion for tattoos and how her past year has been since it's release.

 2011 NY Tattoo Convention

AR: Zar! So it's been about a year since we released Pin Up Players/Originals. Can you tell us a little bit about how you became involved in the project and what attracted you to it?

Zar: Well, I started taking swing lessons at 15 and very quickly became enthralled with the retro scene. When I would go out dancing I would always dress the part. Also, I've always loved the classic Pin-up artists like Vargas & Elvgren and I've always wanted to be a part of something in that genre. So when you mentioned something about this project at a mutual friend's birthday party - I jumped at the chance to be involved. "Dirty" playing cards are so campy and fun... who wouldn't want to be on one?!

AR: I noticed when we first started you were no stranger to retro-style photography. How long have you been modeling and how did you get involved in Pin Up?

I first started modeling when I was 16. I mostly did editorial and runway work - all very standard. But shortly after getting my first tattoo at 18, I started to become more interested in the alternative side of modeling. As I said earlier, I was already into vintage fashion when I was swing dancing - so it seemed only natural for me to pursue that sort of work. Plus, the women of that time period were so flawless and classic. I wanted to try to be at least a fraction of what they were and what they represented.

Tattoo Magazine OCT 2010

AR: We shot way back in early 2009. Since then you have been featured on even more magazine covers and have become a bit of a Tattooed Icon as both artist and model. How would you explain your style as an artist and what inspires you?

I'm not sure that I really have a specific style for my tattooing. I'll work with anyone and anything to get the clients desired outcome. I prefer to do quirkier tattoos though. I don't want to do the same tattoos over and over again - I'd much rather do something silly or unexpected. Even if it's as small as coloring something in a way that no one saw coming. Currently my favorite types of tattoos are sketches. It's something that many tattooist won't do because "it's not a traditional tattoo with a black outline and shading on the inside." However, I love it. I think it's special and different - and as long as the client is happy, I am as well.

AR: As both an artist and model, do you try to keep continuity in styles between both creative ventures?
Definitely not. I sometimes feel as if I have multiple personalities and each one of them needs to be given their time in the forefront. So one day I might do Pin-up modeling, the next day horror, and the next day fashion. The same goes for my art. Life is too exciting and there are way too many things I want to learn more about to just stick with one thing. Of course I have my favorites, but I'll try anything once.

AR: Aside from Pin Up, are there any other genres or themes you like to explore with your modeling?

My other real love with modeling is definitely horror photography. I love that it's so opposite from a lot of shoots. Many times you show up somewhere and they try to make you look as beautiful as you can be. But with horror photography it's all about walking the line between beauty and disgust. I get splattered with blood and hold cow's hearts, yet you can still find beauty in the picture. It's a lot of fun....I mean, how many photographers let you hold chainsaws? hahaha

AR: Tell us about your past year since the release. Have you completed any new series or been featured on any new covers for us to buy?

Zar: I've been on 3 covers (Tattoo, International Tattoo Art, & Tattoo Annual) and been featured in a number of other magazines. But I've actually been taking a bit of a break from modeling because my tattooing career is really dominating the majority of my time lately.

Tattoos For Women Issue #101

AR: Finally, what's next for Azarja? Do you have any new sets or print work planned for 2011?

Zar:  I was recently profiled in Tattoo Flash Magazine. That's definitely the most exciting thing on the horizon for me. But I will also be modeling for a few tattoo and tattoo culture magazines in the next couple of months as well as for Harley Davidson. Also, I recently turned down an offer for a TV show because it wasn't really the right fit for me - but who knows, maybe I'll find a more fitting show and you'll be seeing me on the small screen soon. 

zaR! blasted onto the scene when she was 16 and hasn't slowed down since. Take her print work for International Tattoo Magazines and add her appearance in VOGUE ESPANIA to the equation and its clear she has no intentions of leaving any time soon. This professional tattoo artist/model will be making waves for years to come, but comes to you now as the Clubs suit for the Pin Up Players and Pin Up Originals. 

BIG THANKS to zaR! to the catch up time!

We still have very few Limited Edition Prints in the Pin Up Players SHOP. Get 'em while you still can!

Adam Ramirez © 2011 
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