Interview with Christos Galiropoulos | Blackline, Greece | 21/10/2019

 

Hello Christos Galiropoulos! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our magazine. You're one of the most influential people out there bringing such a cool style into the business. I bet your journey is a beautiful, empowering story that will touch many young people who are dreaming of becoming a tattoo artist.  Let's start with some basic info about you... How old were you when you first got interested in art? Were you like an artistic kid drawing your favourite superheroes? I was interested in art since I was a child. I remember drawing my teachers in school even if I wasn't good at it, but I kept doing it.

Q: Who or what inspired you to start tattooing?
A: As a teenager, I would airbrush bikes and I did it very well! Tattoos were always something I loved and I had some on my skin from the age of 17 even though in Greece it was not so popular or accepted from the people. Because I liked tattoos a lot it didn't take me much time to take the step and start tattooing.

Q: Becoming a professional tattoo artist isn't an easy task. It requires talent and so much hard work. Sleepless nights to figure out the best way to learn the skill, to how to get your name out there and then gain a decent amount of clients. Which part was the most difficult?
A: I think the most difficult part was to learn the skill and learn it well, but every day I'm learning something new and better techniques to further my skills. After a point, your skills start to speak for itself and the clients realize this and begin to seek you out.

Q: How much is important to have a thick skin and trust the process? How much time took you to gain confidence in your work?
A: It's important to never give up, if this is what you are passionate about. In the beginning, you will make many mistakes and you must listen to the critiques of those who are helping you to get better.

Q: Did anyone help you along the way? What's your opinion on apprenticeship nowadays and even back then when you were starting?
A: In the beginning, I had a mentor who was teaching me incorrectly and for the wrong reasons, after I realize this I found my own way alone. I think apprenticeships are important when done correctly with the right person.


Q: I'll just call you an expert when it comes to tattoo realism style. Seriously, I've seen so many tattoos in my life and most are good, but your work is outstanding. I'm being honest. Every tattoo is perfectly done. From technical aspect and of course from creative too. Technically speaking, I like how well you play with black and white inks, the final appearance looks like a photograph not something on skin, amazing, but then it's also good to mention that you put some creative note in each of your designs. Would you "stop" here or you will keep exploring in other styles too?
A: First, thank you so much for your kind words about my work. I believe I will always work in black and grey realism. However, I am always seeking to find new ways to improve my work such as using different techniques with the reference photos as well as the inks and needles.

Q: As an experienced artist, what would you say that is the best approach when it comes to creative progress? Is it connections with other artists, guest spots, seminars?
A: The best approach to creative progress would first to be passionate about tattooing. It's important to make as many connections as possible with other artists and to always receive criticism well. Going to conventions and seminars is helpful in finding those connections and seeing first-hand new techniques from different artists.


Q: Do you have any favourite moments, periods of your career that you consider as a career highlight?
A: Some things I am most proud of is being invited to attend certain conventions and guest spots around the world, as well as being apart of judging panels. It is also an amazing feeling anytime a piece of mine is chosen for an award at conventions.

Q: What keeps you motivated? How much tattooing is a job that allows some sort of self expression? Judging by your work, seem like you're interested more in people and capturing their personal characteristics...
A: For me, I am most motivated when a client trust me with certain ideas for their tattoo. I enjoy doing realism portraits because of the difficulty involved and the different ways you can capture the true essence of people's faces.

- Do you have any favorite facial expression? Or just a person/character you're always excited to put in someone's skin?
I don't believe I have a favorite expression to tattoo, for me the best part of tattooing realism is the fact that every portrait is unique and I am constantly creating something new.

Q: How is your relation with your clients? Do you help them with some ideas for their design?
A: Most of the time my relationship with the client is very good. It is important for them to trust me in order to create the best tattoo possible for them. With every idea that comes to me from my clients, there are always parts of it that we must change so that it reflects best with the placement on them.


Q: Many people just come in a tattoo studio and they expect that the artist is there for each client and can do just any type of tattoo... What would you say/do if someone ask for a tattoo you're not so sure you can do, like a design that is not compatible with your style?
A: For the most part, all of my clients understand the style that I work in and I don't get many offers of doing a piece I am unfamiliar with. When this does happen I let them know that I only work in black and grey realism and if they like we change the idea to fit this style, or I advise them to search for an artist who strictly works in their desired style.

Q: Are there any other types of creative mediums that you use to express yourself like painting, photography etc?
A: When I have some free time I draw. It's helpful to find new ideas and transfer my skills from paper to skin.

Q: What are you most thankful for? What your journey taught you during the years of being into this business?
A; What I am most thankful for is the lifelong friends I have made around the world during this journey. I also have been lucky enough to travel extensively and see so many things that will be long-lasting memories.

Q: What are your thoughts on the scene in beautiful Greece? Do you see a big progress like many new artists, tattoo conventions etc?
A: These years we are seeing many more new artists emerging. The tattoo scene in Greece has changed drastically and I believe for the better. Here in Greece, we have one of the best international tattoo conventions that takes place in Athens. Every year we see more great artists attending as well as breakthrough artists from Greece.

Q: What would you recommend to the young people who want to try themselves in this industry?
A: My only recommendation for this is to continually try your best, have the willpower to continue, and be patient. You must practice over and over again in order to achieve your goals.
Mr.Christos Galiropoulos, Thank you so much for the interview.
Kind regards,
The team

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