Filipino-Swiss artist Sarah Gaugler broke onto the scene armed with a talent that transcends borders. As an illustrator she’s worked with everyone from Starbucks (for their 2009 planner) to music legends Apo Hiking Society on their tribute album, plus a slew of collaborations with different advertising projects. As a tattoo artist, her style can be described as both dark yet cute, but altogether compelling and poignant, with a long list of clients from the music scene, fashion and beyond. Aside from running her own tattoo service, she fuels her passion for the arts even further by being the lead vocalist of Turbo Goth, headlining gigs for their growing number of followers — and all this at age 23.
Gifted with a set of skills that seem to be limitless, its no surprise she has become a burgeoning It girl. Her huge billboards for Globe and Silverworks offer testament that Sarah’s appeal goes beyond the tattoo cafes.
YOUNG STAR: What made you decide to become a tattoo artist?
SARAH GAUGLER: After I graduated fine arts in UST I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I worked with different advertising agencies as a freelance illustrator and I thought that my style could be applied to tattoos. People give me their concepts and I do a design that’s uniquely their own. And I just think of blood as red paint so it wasn’t that hard to get used to it.
You have a distinct style when it comes to your art. How would you describe it?
People have compared my style to Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman although I wouldn’t say it’s exactly alike. My technique is more crosshatching. Maybe people see the similarities in that it’s dark but pretty.
If you could tattoo anyone, who would it be?
Black Swan: From ballerina aspirations to rock tour reveries.
Thom Yorke. I’d love to do an original design on him.
What kind of fulfillment does it give you as an artist?
Knowing that the person will have it with them forever. I love art on paper but tattoos give a different sense of fulfillment.
How did you get into the music scene as vocalist of Turbo Goth?
I think art and music go hand in hand. After I graduated I met Paolo Peralta (the other half of the duo that make up Turbo Goth and Sarah’s fiancé) and the original plan was that when we perform, he’d do the music while I do live painting onstage. But he heard me singing to my favorite song and persuaded me to be the vocalist and that’s how it all started.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s electronic rock. There’s a lot of synth (sounds) and we find a balance between the sound and voice, which is very light and icy.
If you could sit front row at any concert, whose would it be?
You’re an accomplished artist and a budding musician. What other hobbies do you have that people might be surprised to know about?
I like swimming and I used to take up ballet growing up. I think my initial destiny was to be a ballerina. But it stopped when I moved to Manila from New Jersey when I was 10.
You’re known in the scene for your signature look of always rocking a headband and the strong eye makeup. What’s the story behind this?
It’s not really a big deal but as an artist, I just have a picture of myself in my head. I want to be able to express that with how I look.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Touring around the US, Europe, and Japan! I love how I’m making a wish to you. (Laughs) Well, its slowly happening and I’m grateful that more places here in the country invite us to perform. We just came back from Baguio and I think Davao is next.