Interview with Artem | Tattoo Realism Style | Ukraine 24/08/2021

  Hello Artem! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. Please start by telling us something about yourself and your background. Do you have any formal art training? When the interest for arts first began? Hello! I'm just an artist. I don't have any formal art training. But I've been drawing as long as I can remember. I think all children like to draw, but at one point some stop. I didn't. In kindergarten I drew on album sheets, at school in notebooks and diaries, at university on study desks with a pen, not rude words but realistic pictures.

Q: What type of art outside tattooing you like the most?
A: It's mostly realistic style or something based on this. I am always shocked when I see a hypperrealistic painting. I really respect those artists, because it's so painstaking work. I know it, because I drew a big hypperrealistic piece with pencil and it took me five years. I was going crazy when I was working on it.
But at the same time I see this style a bit boring, so I like when it's combined with something else (some artist's style or his vision)

- Do you have any favorite artists?
I have so many that I follow, some of them are Billelis, Evgeny Zubkov, Filip Hodas, Scott Waddell, David Cheifetz, Aivazovsky and Da Vince, mostly not about his art, but about his personality. This are just a few I can remember at the moment, but there are many more.

Q: When you did your first tattoo? What was it? Who trusted you enough?
A: I did it when I was in university in 2015, I was 19. I started with a graphic style, because my tattoo machine was too bad for shading and realism, as I thought. I like graphic style, but not so much as realistic, so I knew that I will develop myself in this style. I started to draw some designs, but I didn't like it enough, so I just posted on social media. Some people liked it and asked me to start doing tattoos.
The tattoo training was too expensive for me, but I was too lucky to find a great tattoo artist who showed and told me all I need to begin. We didn't know each other, but he did it for free and even gave me his old tattoo equipment, because he saw a potential in me. Can I leave his link? He is a really great artist and person.

My first tattoo was an owl. The design I stole from another artist (I'm sorry), just a little bit changed it to make smaller. It was sooo difficult, there were many obstacles, but the result was not so bad as it could have been in my opinion. You can find all my beginner works on my Instagram, I won't delete it. My first victim was a guy from my school. Classmates from university were next. In general, I didn't have any problems with finding customers in the beginning. A lot of people want a cheap or free tattoo :) Especially from a guy who can draw at least a bit.

Q: Talet is crucial but never enough, it really takes a lot of work, sleepless nights and never ending desire for growth in order to succeed as an artist. Especially nowadays with so much competition and high level of quality... it is not easy! Do you agree?
A: I don't believe in talent (in the traditional sense) at all. I think everyone can do everything. The only things you need is a huge desire and to spend a lot of time on this. I was not born with the ability to draw, in my childhood I drew the same like my one-year-olds, just they stopped, but I continued. So I had a lot of practice. Environment and upbringing (parents) can affect a person and his vision for something. For example, if your parents are singers, it means you will subconsciously match them, have a big environment of singers, have good teachers and so on. That's not only about your parents, but about the environment, influence that we don't notice. Maybe talent exists, but it's definitely not the most important. So it is just desire and time!

Q: How long took you to gain confidence in your work? How long have you been tattooing as a professional tattoo artist?
A: I don't remember the exact moment. I guess it was a smooth transition. This is also a complicated question. Who is professional? Where is this borders between professional and not professional? Education? I don't have a tattoo education, but I have an IT one, and I know nothing in this sphere. Practice? I know a lot of artists working 10-20 years, but they are doing this just for money and still do bad tattoos. Are they professional? Also there are guys that are working 1 year and doing masterpieces. Quality of works? Maybe. But this is so subjective. Someone may consider one tattoo to be good, while others may consider it bad. So I guess the concept of a professional is also subjective.

Q: I like how you combine many images into one tattoo design. Really cool! Do you draw some sketches before the tattoo session or you use photoshop to design your tattoos? Do you collaborate with your clients when it comes to ideas?
A: Thank you! I'm always doing my sketches in Photoshop during the session with my customers. Before the session, I only need to know the main idea to see if it is in my style. I book only ideas I like to do. I always collaborate with my clients. We discuss the design during all the process. Together we are searching photos for a project till we both like it.

Q: Many times people tattoo their loved ones or idols. So portrait tattoos can be very meaningful. Do you often hear your clients stories about their tattoos? Any special memories to share with us?
A: Unfortunately, not so many and not so interesting. There was a girl, I did her idol-musician's portrait on her. And he reposted or liked(I don't remember what exactly) a photo of the portrait on her profile. She was so happy.

Q: I like the simplicity of tattoo realism because we (the clients) know what to expect, but nowadays even tattoo realism is evolving so much that is often not just a "boring" portrait tattoo. Have you ever thought of doing like a caricature or comic style adding to a portrait design tattoo? I think that would be so cool.
A: Yes, that's true. But usually I'm trying to manipulate with a design as much as possible, not to experiment right on the skin. So customers still can approximately expect something. But they anyway say "I couldn't imagine this on my skin"

Q: Being a professional tattoo artist might look cool and fun, but it's actually a really tough job and it takes a lot of responsibility on each artist's shoulders. What are some of the best and most challenging aspects of working as a tattoo artist?
A: I think it's cool anyway :) I really enjoy my job. I like everything: doing tattoos, developing my work, to see happy customers (but usually their faces don't look happy after this amount of pain:), to travel on guests spots in different countries, except booking clients:( That's the only thing I don't like. I have a lot of requests and most of them I have to reject, because they want something different than what I do, for example. Some people don't understand that. This is difficult for me.

Q: Do you have any career goals?
A: Sure. I want to become the best tattoo artist in the world :) I understand that this is impossible, because there is no "the best" artist, as I said this is subjective. But I think you need to set impossible goals for yourself in order to achieve the achievable.

Q: We are living in very unpredictable times now with the pandemic. How are you? How this whole situation is affecting you spirituality and professionally?
A: This situation changed the world, I guess. But in my life everything is fine. I didn't work for some time (as a tattoo artist) but I spent this time for painting, learning 3d sculpting in ZBRUSH, visual effects and to rest of course. Everything that is done is done for the best. But I have not traveled for 2 years already, I miss this. I hope everything will be good soon.

Q: Are you available for bookings? If so, please write down your email and studio location.
A: Yes, I am. I'm working in Kharkov, Ukraine.
You can book a session on my Instagram in DM

Q: What's the best advice you can give to all the people that are interested in getting into this business?
A: Just believe in yourself, practice and do it not just to earn money.

Thank you very much for your time and attention! It was a big pleasure and honor for me to speak with you!
Mr. Artem Thank You for the interview
Kind Regards