Petra - Tattoos Meet Fashion

Published: 02 April, 2010 - Featured in Skin Deep 127, November, 2005

Petra, tattoo artist and leader of the Amazon Tattoo studio in Oberhausen in Germany, is someone that many people would remember from some tattoo conventions, but she is probably more recognisable from various magazine covers. Not necessary from the covers of tattoo magazines, but for many people her face is more familiar from the pages of the fashion and lifestyle press. 

The international fashion stage has been her field for years and numerous famous photographers have worked closely with her on many photo shoots. In 1974, Petra moved to Hong Kong where she lived with her family for 15 years. Her father had a job there with a big German fabric manufacturer. And while Petra was there, she made her glamorous mark. for the last 12 years in many fashion capital cities of the world such as Paris, London, Milan and New York. 



This is a lifestyle that many teenagers dream of but for Petra the urge for trading the catwalk also had a different passion - tattooing.  


She became addicted to the world of body art from a very early age.  In 1983, Petra got her first tattoo- a butterfly and a peace sign on the side of her foot. Late, she had the name ‘Hong Kong’ which has been written in Chinese script and a little house martin (bird) on her right arm. All were tattooed by Ricky from Ricky’s & Pinkys Tattoo; in Wancha, Hong Kong. 


Unfortunately, as Petra was a fulltime model, she had to have the House Martin removed so that she could continue her career in the fashion industry as at the time tattoos were not seen as a ‘desirable’ item.


Although Petra had to curb her desire for more tattoos, she was still very passionate about them. Around about 1986, Petra got the chance of a lifetime and was offered some work in Ricky’s tattoo studio where she had her first work done. She started off doing small jobs, as the tattoo industry was not as prosperous as it is today and still working as a model helped to supplement her income. But in 1997, she decided to sacrifice the modelling for the name of tattooing and left everything behind to move to Kho Samui in Thailand. Not long after moving to Thailand, Petra met Ralf, who was to become her husband and is her partner in charge of the piercing side of their Oberhausener studio today. Back together in Germany, they started to run the now famous, Amazon Tattoo studio. So for the last six years Petra is not only a professional tattooist devoted to the art of tattooing, but she is also a true dream model for tattooists. 


Her first big tattoo was an act on the left arm, by Norman from, Underground Tattoo, in Wuppertal, Germany. And whilst at the In the Berlin convention, she had a magnificent pin-up tattooed by Errol from the Inkstitution in Rotterdam, Holland on her right arm. The design and of course Petra herself are a natural aim for the camera. Petra also has a fine piece by Boris von Ungarn, who has tattooed some beautiful Siamese fighting fish on Petra’s forearm. 


Being quite a well-travelled person, Petra has collected some truly international tattoo work. Her left forearm and both of her feet, wear very beautiful ornaments in hand poked dot designs by Xed Le Head from London, who is a very famous exponent in this peculiar discipline. He has also recently inked her right hand, the subject being the text ‘Life & Death’ in Sanskrit on Petra s wrist being by his ex - wife Nica Le Head, who is a member of the Amazon Tattoo team. The kingfisher on Petra’s right side of her back is a nine-hour piece of work by Deano Cooke from Psycho Tattoo in Atlanta, USA. The Tibetan lotus on her abdomen, also a fine example of pointillism comes from the needle of Daemon Rowanchild, from Urban Primitives in Canada. Another piece or tattoo art, that came out of another Canadian tattooing machine, is the house martin on her neck from Eugene at Tattoorama in Toronto and I believe that the very talented Cory Ferguson has also tattooed Petra. Another work in progress on her thigh will be pricked by Piotrek from Poland.


The high quality of work by Petra and her team is now famous worldwide and she and her team regularly tattoo many famous bands with the like of the kings of Scandinavian rock, Backyard Babies and Gluecifer, who gladly come to get inked by her at the Amazon Tattoo studio. Look out for Petra at the many tattoo conventions around the globe.


Text and Photography: Marcus Ewers


Skin Deep 127 1 November 2005 127