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Danielle Johansen
Barista, 19grams — Berlin, Germany

I love working in coffee. For me, the coffee industry is a beautiful mix of incredibly creative, talented and interesting people, and as a painter and “Stick and Poke” tattoo artist (an ancient form of body art, that involves using a sharp point and ink), it is important for me to be surrounded by like-minded souls.

Right now in my life, I’m at that age where things are starting to get real. I see myself making plans for five or even ten years in the future–and that is something I could never truly manage to do in the past. My ability to trust in myself is growing and I can finally push myself to try to accomplish the things in life that I’ve always dreamed of.

I have plans to travel around Europe and find work that can co-exist with my traveling. I think that’s why tattooing appeals to me so much, both as a creative outlet and a means of working on the move–and it’s something I can jump straight into when I eventually go back home to Australia. In five years’ time I hope to be continuing my study, living somewhere near the ocean and living off of my art practice. 

Right now in my life I’m at that age, where things are starting to get real.

I have fears. I fear failing to reach a certain point of satisfaction in my art practice. I fear never having any money or missing opportunities in life. But at the end of the day, I’m constantly working towards my future, and that’s what is important.

If I’m not working at the cafe, I’m drawing and painting, taking photographs, editing work and tattooing. I actually gave a tattoo before I ever received one. When I was 14 years old, my neighbor was a part of a (non-violent) biker gang and was giving tattoos professionally in his apartment. I used to draw up his stencils for him and one day one of his clients let me do some of the line work on his arm. Since then, the tattoo world has really fascinated me - from the work that you get to produce to the people and places you stumble upon. The first tattoo I ever gave myself after that was a sad face. 

I’ve always struggled a lot with myself, my identity, my queerness and my confidence.

Life can sometimes feel a little hectic and overwhelming, so I try to let myself chill out every once in a while. I feel the best when I’m constantly producing work, so giving myself a day off can be more stressful than relaxing, and I always end up feeling a little guilty. My girlfriend and I recently got a puppy, Pinot, that we rescued from a shelter in Romania a few months ago. She’s been a big help with reminding me that life isn’t all work, it’s also giving yourself time to reflect and have fun.

My main focus right now, other than the previously mentioned, is my health. I’m really trying to be better to myself both physically and mentally. I’ve always struggled a lot with myself–my identity, my queerness and my confidence. But by managing my health and exercise better, I find it much harder to get back into a dark place. I think it’s so important that everyone knows what they’re putting into their bodies, and how it affects them. I’ve made so many changes in my lifestyle like quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol. Also I have been vegan for two and a half years now, and I’ve honestly never felt better!