Habba Nero : Icelandic Hand Poke Tattoo Artist
Habba Nero is known for her work as an Icelandic handpoke tattooist, although her artistry is not confined to skin. Paired with her education (as a graduated scholar from the Iceland Academy of Arts), Habba’s innate artistic abilities have allowed her to master everything from realistic imagery to the nuances of Icelandic magical staves. Her artwork can be found globally, on human flesh, sheep skulls and wood (to name just a few mediums) and the esoteric and striking beauty of her style is clearly distinguishable.
(Portrait by Sunna Ben)
For this podcast, Sean Parry and Habba Nero discuss the inspiration behind her work as well as their process and personalisation within tattooing. There are also quite a few mentions of Icelandic magic, as well as the background behind Habba Nero’s birth name (Hrafnhildur).
The Intimacy of Hand Poked and Personalized Design
The life blood of Habba Nero’s work as a tattooist is the great care and attention she gives to each client, which speaks to her integrity as an artist.
“I really enjoy discussing what the person wants out of the tattoo...if they’re just searching for something aesthetically pleasing or if they’re searching for something deeper...if they’re searching for magical aide.
It’s nice to just sit down with your client and just see what they want and work from there.”
This intimacy with which she tackles projects shines through in her work, where (because of this care and intent) she is able to create truly unique and highly nuanced art for each individual that comes under her needle.
Though Habba currently only does hand poked tattoos (yes, all of these were made by individual dots and hand tapping the ink into skin), she mentions in her conversation with Sean how she may pick up a tattoo machine one day and diversify her work with the artistry as a whole.
You can view Habba's tattoo portfolio here.
Artistry in Flesh, Bone, & Wood
Habba’s care for her craft extends beyond human skin into work with skulls, wood, and other natural mediums. Her use of symbolism from archaeology and folklore entwines with her innovative talent to construct highly meaningful art, producing objects rich with respect for the animals whose bones have been used and the future owners of what she creates.
Above: This rare four horned ram skull above was decorated with the intent to offer protection through rune symbolism and imbue good luck on the owner through use of Swedish black magic and Icelandic magical staves, which were chosen for this explicit purpose.
Above: Icelandic Raven with staves burned meticulously by Habba Nero into a wooden disc (this item has sold)
Several more of these pieces will be available in Northern Fire soon. Habba also sells them through her own site, alongside works by her fiance Sigurboði Grétarsson who is a member of Northern Fire as well. You can read about and listen to Sigurbodi’s endeavors in our blog and podcast where he and Sean discuss Icelandic folklore.
One of Habba’s plans for the future revolves around opening a small shop (possibly on a farm) that she can work out of as her studio but also sell personalized wares.
Needless to say, we can’t wait for this to happen. But until then, one of the most profound locations to visit in Iceland is the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft.
(Video: Sigurdur Atlason)
Inspired by this mythical museum, Sean and Habba hatch some plans to create their own necropants and wrangle the milk sucking butter creature known as a tilberi. But we won’t give away too many details and spoil the conversation completely!