Notch the World a motorcycle trip around the world

documenting the most ancient art known to humankind

Dr. Notch - aka Heiko Gantenberg

Notch the World. A journey dedicated to the Love of Tattooing and riding Motorbikes. At the age of 18, while traveling through the northwestern USA, I started to dedicate my life to the Art of Tattooing. Untill then I was more known as a bad student in school and a Bass Player in various Punk Rock Bands.

During this first stay in the US, lots of other were going to follow, I met the Tattooer Russel Myers in Boise Idaho. Russel was different from the other Tattooing folks that I ran into in cities like Hamburg or Amsterdam. He was a friendly and kind guy. With most of the Tattooing people I met before, during my stays as a musican in various Citys throughout Europe, I had the strange feeling, that it wouldn't be smart to ask too many questions.
At Russels „ Electric Dragon“ in Emerald Street it was different. I sneaked myself in there over weeks...I was bored that summer, no work permit, I kept myself busy with mowing lawns or painting houses. I played music with local bands and skated the sidewalks of Boise up and down. One day I found Electric Dragon and this would change my life. Can I help you, the guy behind the counter asked me friendly, shortly after I first entered that shop...Naw, just looking around, I replied...Well, if you have any questions just ask, Russel said and I had a shitload of questions and I looked around in that shop for about two years. I immediatly got hooked on Tattooing, I couldn't think of anything else I wanted to do anymore. Twenty seven years have passed since I first entered Electric Dragon and Tattooing and I have stayed best friends all these years. After spending about three Years in the USA, I moved back to Germany and opened “TNT“ in my hometown Marl.

Top Notch Tattooing has been my basecamp and workshop to numerous international guestartists.
Up until the late ninetys I was quite ambitioned to be part of the international Tattooconvention Circus. For the last twelve years I've been more motivated to explore forms of Tattooing that have different orgins then follow any commercial thought or media hype. Throughout a couple of extensive journeys in the south pacific, I got aware of that Tattooing can be much more then decoration or sign of being different. The expirience that Tattooing can be an indicator of good standing in society, expanded my consciousness about practicing the oldest artform know to the human kind, fundamentally. My curiosity about tradition and motivation for people getting Tattooed, grew with every voyage I did. It became more important to me to feed that curiosity, then receiving awards for my Tattoowork at Tattooconventions or to find recognition for what I'm doing in international tattoo media.
Motorcycles provided access to remote places to me, many times. The hospitality I've received covered in dust, my face crusted with insects, has been enormous. The regions I was able to travel on motorcycles are hard to reach in other vehicles. The concealed spots I was able to find, contained original people and genuine Tattooing. Tattooing I practice in places like that, is usualy paid with great cultural exchange and gratitude, not lousy money. Adverse circumstances are the challenging part and it is always an adventure to work away from the steril enviroment of a modern western Tattoostudio, the fastest way to learn about the implicitness of Tattooing in many Societies.

My journey „ Notch the World“ ,starting in May 2014 wants to document this implicitness. A World Tour on a Motorcycle with the aim on finding Tattooing People along the way and to document their work. A Motorcycle still seems most appropiate to me for this mission, it will provide access to remote spots and asure flexibility in even the biggest metropolitan areas. I have planned to travel for continius two years. Start will be in Germany, via Austria, former Yugoslavia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Karakorum, Kaschmir, India, Bangladesh, Myamar, Thailand, Malysia, Indonesia, Australia and over to New Zealand. The journey will be contiuned on the American Continent sometime later. I hope to meet a wide variety of Tattooing People throughout this expediton. Some of the encounters are going to be prepared, others will just occur along this ride. My Motorcycle is going to be fitted with a second battery, this will allow me to work for a continious work day. Tattooing with the Tools I am used to, completly independent from High Voltage Electricity. I want to reveal both, the Shiny Big City Tattoopalace and the simple Villagetattooer at the end of the trail. Just to show what they all have in common...the Love for the most ancient Art known to humankind.