From Chaudes-Aigues to the Chaudesaigues Award: the story of a project

"Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself", wrote Nobel Literature Prize winner William Faulkner. The Chaudesaigues Award reflects a multidisciplinary tradition combining family, fine arts, tattooing and a small village in Cantal. More than just a trophy, our prize for tattoo artists is a philosophy. Find out more.

Back to basics: a village in Auvergne called Chaudes-Aigues

Asides from having his father’s surname, Stéphane Chaudesaigues is particularly fond of his ancestors’ village. This is a small town in Cantal with less than 1,000 residents where the realist tattoo artist born in Versailles “This village is ours” the American National Tattoo Association's Best Artist of 1995 tells us with a hint of conservatism.

Conscious of promoting and developing relations between Auvergne, its ancestors, and the Paris region which saw him grow into the tattooist and man he is today, Stéphane Chaudesaigues uses the village’s name in a project that will go beyond all imaginable realms in the tattoo world. Little by little, the Chaudesaigues Award idea is instilled within him.

Eusèbe Chaudesaigues, Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur and founder of the Chaudesaigues Award

Closely tied to Chaudes-Aigues village, you’ll also come across the name Eusèbe Joseph Chaudesaigues in the Chaudesaigues Award story. He is an important figure in French architecture, a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, and founder of the Chaudesaigues Award. At the end of the 19th century, the Chaudesaigues foundation, with the help of the Paris School of Fine Arts, encouraged students who won the competition by awarding a grant allowing them to study in Italy for two years. This longstanding tradition is the cornerstone that allows us to share artistic and intercultural values today.

Asides being about a trophy, tattoos and Cantal, the Chaudesaigues Award is also a story of family and love. It tells the story of the bond that unites two brothers, Patrick and Stéphane Chaudesaigues, the story that unites a father with his children, a man with his trade. As such, the trophy is awarded to an artist that amazes and astounds, while recognising the forefathers who helped make tattooing what it is today through their work and dedication. The Chaudesaigues Award is a link between generations of tattoo artists – more than just an award, it’s encouragement, an effort to create an international bond between tattoo artists.

One desire: to reward a tattooist during a convention unlike any other

The story of the Chaudesaigues Award is strongly linked to Cantal Ink, a tattoo festival and advocate for tattooing in Auvergne. When he launched the first unique tattooing convention in the village of his ancestors in 2013, Stéphane Chaudesaigues expressed his desire to bring about the Chaudesaigues Award too. In 2017 during the fifth festival, this desire will see the light of day. The trophy will reward the artist who wins the most votes from the public. It will recognise a personality, a discipline, and a story that began over a century ago.

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