Pascal Bagot, journalist, film director and curator of the Japan section for the Tatoueurs, Tatoues exhibition, talked to Yatzer about this first major homage to tattoo art and the significance of Japanese tattoo as an art form. Sitting in a dark corner of a wood panelled bar close to Republique in central Paris, wearing a woolly navy hat and a distressed denim jacket, the heavily bearded Pascal Bagot looks up as I approach the polished mahogany table. Although Pascal Bagot had already travelled around Asia and despite his growing fascination with Japanese tattoo art, he was reluctant to confront Japan right away which he explains: ''Japan had a mystery element to it, something to be revealed, which I was utterly drawn to. This was all to change in 2006 when Bagot found the door that would take him right to the core of Japan as well as the age-old art form and went to Japan for the first time. ''I had fallen in love with Japanese tattoo art and decided that I wanted to be tattooed - that would be the context I had been looking for to learn about the country. Ever since, Bagot has travelled to Japan between one and three times a year, a total of 124 hours of work, to continue his tattoo with the Sensei which will be finished this year. ''I’m not sure if I’ll stop there. In 2010, Pascal Bagot went on to direct The Way of the Ink (La Voie de l’Encre), a behind-the-scenes documentary about Japanese tattoo art. ''I was completely flabbergasted by the magnitude of the work and culture behind traditional Japanese tattoo art. Artoria Circus Lady - Painting by Titine Leu, 2000''Artoria Circus Lady'' tattooed by her husband R.

Extremely elaborate, both artistically and culturally, traditional Japanese tattoo also evolved with the popularity of Kabuki theatre and the very arduous and intricate work of Japanese print artists; over 70 prints will therefore be on a three-month rotation as part of the exhibition.
Poster for the documentary ''The Way of the Ink'' (La Voie de l’Encre) by Pascal Bagot, Pamela Valente - Lardux Films, 2011. His blue eyes smile from behind a pair of half-rimmed glasses before he offers an assertive handshake. He had already decided that he would be the one to tattoo him. ''I loved his work and fortunately got on really well with him. Curated by Anne and Julien, editors of ‘outsider’ art magazine Hey!, well-known French tattooist Tin-Tin, and experts in their field, Pascal Bagot and Sebastien Galliot, the exhibition ''Tatoueurs, Tatoues'' (tattooists, tattooed) traces the history of the tattoo from the 18th century to the present-day.  Set to begin on 6th May at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, the exhibition will comprise some 300 works making it one of the most significant tattoo shows in the world and will feature tattoo art from around the world spanning Japan to Europe.
Born in Toulouse and having lived in Paris for 16 years, the 36-year-old’s passion for Asian tattoo art began when he first came across the work of Paris-born tattooist Filip Leu in the French tattoo publication Tatouage Magazine. ''I was immersed in metal music and tattoo art was something I was already familiar with, but it wasn’t until I saw Leu’s dragon on a woman’s arm that something clicked. I worked out that it would take about 8 years – and about 20,000 euro – to finish my tattoo, which is a dragon that covers my back.

Because the beauty of traditional Japanese tattoo is that the Sensei envisions a continuation of the tattoo at every stage in case the client wants to come back and continue it. The actor on the right is Ichikawa Danjuro, in the role of Kumonryu Shishin, a mythical figure tattooed with nine dragons. The actor on the right is Ichikawa Sadanji in the role Kaoshyorochishin, covered in a Kaido flower tattoo representing the family of roses.

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