Colin Dale was born in 1965 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada to a Scandinavian father and artisan mother who taught him at an early age the importance of art and culture. Colin’s parents were a foster family to special needs children (Handicap, Indigenous, etc.) so he was already introduced to native culture, history and art as a child.
Colin studied fine art and theatre in high school before travelling to Europe and Asia. He returned to Canada to complete a University degree in Fine Arts specializing in drawing, photography and Indigenous art. It was during this time he became interested in Rock Art. Both the petroglyphs/pictographs of his native Canada as well as the “helleristninger” and rune stones of his Scandinavian ancestry.
Colin travelled for several years before immigrating to Denmark in 1991. There he pursued a career as a Graphic Artist and Medical Illustrator, before apprenticing and becoming a fulltime tattooist. After several years of learning the basic skills of hand and machine tattooing Colin began travelling again to destinations as far away as French Polynesia… exchanging and discussing techniques with tattoo masters from Japan, Indonesia, Borneo, Samoa and Tahiti. Colin’s research has been an inspiration to other tattoo revivals over the years, helping to re-introducing the lost tattooing techniques of the Nordic, Native American and Inuit cultures. His work has been illustrated in various books, magazines and documentary programs and he has written many articles on prehistoric tattooing over the years.
Colin coined the term “Neo-Nordic” to describe his work before terms such as “dotwork and “handpoke” were even in use and is one of a handful of tattooists who began specializing in Nordic and Celtic design. He helped to establish and promote Nordic tattoo design both in Scandinavia and abroad. Over the years Colin has written many articles for books and magazines as well as participated in documentaries, promoting Nordic tattoo design and also opening people’s eyes to designs, techniques and tools from other prehistoric tattoo cultures.
Colin’s work has been inspirational to a new generation of Nordic and Indigenous revivalists