Creative Minds Spotlight: Laura Martinez of Fleur Noire Tattoo

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Laura Martinez is an artist and owner of Fleur Noire Tattoo, with two shops in Williamsburg. Laura hails from the suburbs outside of Paris. She has always displayed artistic mannerisms. Before coming to NYC (for love at that) she studied the scope of the arts until settling on a specialization in product design. Upon a serendipitous time spent in Madagascar, an endearment for African artistry and tribal tattoos soon became her calling and can be seen in most of her tattoo designs. Laura is mostly self taught and her journey to NYC and to becoming a business owner is far from ordinary.

What did you want to be growing up?

When I was much younger, I wanted to be a veterinarian but quickly fund out I only loved hanging out with animals, not the medical aspect!

Then I wanted to be a psychologist. I guess there is an aspect of that in tattooing; listening to my client’s life stories and traumas and translating it all into art.

I have always wanted to make art - I was drawing tattoos when I was 10 that I could eventually get tattooed on myself when I was older. I still have tattoo books I drew from this time! I have always been extremely passionate and driven with my art. If I have something in my mind, I will work day and night. There is something about creating that brings me so much joy and excitement.

Success right now means…

Being able to travel around the world without ever having to think, “I need to ask my boss to take the time off” or “I need to stop traveling to work and make money”. Being able to do both and having clients in every country I go to truly means success to me. This was always one of my main life goals.

Also owning 2 shops in a city like New York is definitely one of my biggest accomplishments for a girl who grew up in under privileged Parisian suburbs.

A talent or skill most people don’t know you possess?

I like thinking that I’m a good singer and reggaeton dancer, ha! I am not actually, but… I grew up dancing ballet, modern jazz, reggae, dancehall, etc. I could not live without dancing. It’s therapeutic for me.

What do you love most about living in Brooklyn?

Everything! The energy, the art scene, the food, the bars… it’s full of life day and night! I love how people come from everywhere here, it’s truly multicultural and full of diversity. I have never felt like an outsider. Brooklyn is home to me.


Creative Minds Spotlight: Chef Fredrik Berselius of Aska


Aska, Swedish for “ashes,” is the two Michelin-starred Brooklyn restaurant run by Chef Fredrik Berselius, and our next door neighbor here in Williamsburg. Aska offers a distinctive dining experience through a procession of courses prepared from an open kitchen and served to guests of only ten tables each night, and we were fortunate to have the force behind it all join us as the first talented voice in our Creative Minds Spotlight here in Brooklyn.

Most underrated thing about your profession?

The heart of what we do at Aska comes down to people. There is our immediate restaurant staff, the farmers, purveyors, countless others who support the restaurant in various ways, and of course the people who come to experience what we do each evening. The convergence of all these people crossing paths, working shoulder to shoulder, building relationships and creating this experience together, often goes unnoticed, yet it is probably what I value most about it.Q:

If you weren't a Chef what would you be?

I would probably pursue a career in a design related field, such as architecture. I always knew I wanted to work in a way that allows for creative freedom and expression, seeing what you envisioned come to fruition, and the ability to work with my hands. I am always sketching ideas for the restaurant, whether it be a new dish or layout of a room.

Tell us a creative experiment gone bad and what you learned from it.

We are constantly experimenting in the kitchen, applying new ideas and practices -- sometimes they don’t turn out the way you planned or hoped for, yet that’s how we learn, grow and move forward.

What do you love most about living in Brooklyn?

I love the sense of neighborhood and creative energy. Brooklyn feeds off everything that Manhattan has to offer yet there is also a sense of calm and still the feeling of a more personal, less commercialized approach.