Not long ago I went to my post office and was pleasantly surprised. A book entitled “The Art of the LEU Family”. Inside the book jacket simply was written “for Damian, Love from the Leu Family”. - Aia Leu, 2013. I had heard the book was out but had yet to see it, so the kind gift was another surprise from this talented clan.
Over the years I have gotten many contributions to my little corner of the tattoo world from this unique and creative family of artists from Switzerland. I had received t-shirts, prints, and paintings on loan for Art Museum shows I have curated, always packaged with cool stamps, stickers and hand written notes on the envelopes that show the peace and love central to the creative artistic theme of the Leu Family.
When I started seriously collecting tattoos in the early 90′s and attending conventions the work of the Leu family quickly came to my attention and Filip, the son of patriarch Felix, AKA Don Feliz was one of the stars of the new global tattoo movement of large concept sleeves and body suits that was emerging from the roots of traditional Japanese tattooing.
In 1996, when I attended the opening of Hanky Panky’s Amsterdam Tattoo Museum and convention I first got to watch Filip work and briefly shared some time with him and Titine at the “The Sheeba Cafe” . Although I doubt they remember this brief time we shared, it was a memorable moment for me.
Over the Years to come I would email and speak with matriarch Loretta, who was always eager to help me with art shows I was producing or assist her fellow tattoo friends that needed help traveling to a convention I was producing. The kindness she showed to fellow artists and to the tattoo community was inspiring. As I read the book I came to realize that the passion of creative freedom and art runs deep in the blood of this family from the author Aia’s grandmothers on both sides. Post world war two Europe was not a place that women could easily integrate with the art world. However, Eva Aeppili and Bianca Buscaglia persevered to instill a sense of “do or die” bohemian freedom that both Loretta and Felix embraced to create this family legacy.
The book her daughter Aia Leu has assembled is the story of a family of artists that spans both continents and generations, it is more of an artistic homage than a biography, a collection of the drawings, etchings, watercolors, paintings and sculptures showing a selection of the Leu Family art works starting from her Grandmother Eva Aeppli, part of the Avant Gard movement of 1950′s Paris to the present day electronic psytrance inspired digital art of her brother Ajja.
Filip continues to carry on the Legacy of his his dad Felix, as a true pioneer in the development of modern tattoo art movement. His work with other tattoo ambassadors like Paul Booth and the Canadian tattoo power duo of Kurt Wiscombe and Alex Adams is a true uncompromising artistic vision of Don Feliz, who shared his knowledge and encouraged many to follow their creative and artistic vision. It is clear the family legacy continues to share this vision today. VIVA LA VIDA, Leu Family, Family Irons! ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!