interview with George Drone | tattoo style | greece 01/12/2014

Hello George Drone! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our magazine. It's a great pleasure to have this opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you... Thanks! I can honestly say, that I'm absolutely one of your biggest fans out there, I truly love and admire you tattoo style. I guess talent wasn't just a reason to start working as a tattoo artist, but... Let's start with some basic info about you...

Hello Iva! I thank you for all this and your support to my work…
I don’t really believe in “talent”, I think mathematics, exercise and studying is the answer...

Q: How old were you when you first got interested in art?
A: Hmmm.. well I started at around 5 but it got a bit more serious around 14-15. It was when I started graffiti writing and sketching to prepare myself as a mixed media tattoo artist that I wanted to become later...

- Who is the person you're most grateful when it comes to inspiration?
I am a jack of all trades person so many different types of artists inspired me. My favorite fine artists are Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Jean Michael Basquiat, Jackson Pollock and Francis Bacon. About tattooers, a bunch of good alternative artists are out there but my top favorites are Buena Vista and Xoil.

Q: Did your family support you while you were starting out?
A: Fortunately, my family supported me in whatever I was into, even with graffiti writing and tattooing. I got inked my first “big” tattoo(portrait of a woman) from George Mavridis in Milano Tattoo Convention 2013 on my forearm. When I got back and my mother saw that she said “OH! Is this for real? … ? ah George, it’s nice but what to say?!” We really had some big arguments about vandalism and graffiti writing I did in my early age but they understood that I wasn’t some kind of a hooligan but an artist...

Q: Did you tattoo yourself? hah
A: Haha as a matter of fact, I’ve done my first shades ever on my leg, an old school rose... It was my 9th tattoo. I would never tattoo myself because I find it stupid and selfish but I had to do it.

- I know some artists did some crapy tattoos on themselves and then did a magnificent cover up, like, hey look how much I've accomplished... type of joke hahah
It was when I met Proki and asked him of an apprenticeship in his studio, I hadn’t done any shadows on skin before so he suggested me to ink a simple rose on me as an experiment and study. I like it until now and I have never retouched it... Also I will never tattoo myself again, tattooing is some kind of a ritual for me and something is wrong tattooing myself, hahaha

Q: How much the drawing skills play a big role?
A: This is way too complicated with drawing and tattooing since tattooing is applied arts and not a “real” form of art… It’s all about learning your material and becoming a technique master... That means that even if you are Raphael or Michelangelo on drawing n sculptures you can’t transfer your skills on skin because you need technique knowledge. You have to make your studies on your material which means machines, needles, inks, skin types etc… It would be wise if people first improved their fundamental sketch skills and then started tattooing. Learning tattooing techniques is easy in our days with rotaries and all this technology improvement, studying arts is difficult because it never ends ;)

Q: How do you get inspired while keeping a busy schedule?
A: That busy schedule is around European countries I’ve never been before to New York so inspiration never stops! Nowadays facebook, deviantart and art sites like that really make things easy as hell… With 5 clicks in 1 minute you can travel from Van Gogh’s gallery to Da Vinci’s gravure studies, to Museum of Louvre, everywhere!

Q: I bet almost all of your tattoo creations are unique pieces, do you draw sketches for each client or? Tell me more about the making process.
A: Haha you are right, all of my tattoo designs are 100% unique and personal for every client. I always arrange a “design” appointment before the tattoo session. If customers are from some studio I’ll be a guest, then we discuss the thing via mail or FB and I try to figure out what do they really want. Sometimes customers want to express situations, feelings and personal experiences they had but they do it totally the wrong way.

That’s for me the most difficult part in my job-hobby, I have to match my customer’s preferences, personality, idea he’/she gave me, skin type and money-hours of the session we have… I save a lot of time creating my designs in Photoshop having high quality references for my work. Moreover I always make some stencil collage of designs and patterns I like depending on the muscles and anatomy points of my clients... Finally I make some freehand or freestyle touches to be sure that nothing is missing there...

Q: Where are you located now?
A: At the moment I’m working alone and not in a studio. I have a busy schedule abroad around Europe n NY and its impossible to work as a resident artist in a studio.

Q: Something that I really like about your work is the fact that somehow every piece is quite recognizable to the other ones you did. Maybe is the technique (Black N Gray) with some of your cool pattern decors and details. I love it, honestly, makes them very unusual. Do you want to put some personal note in your style? Even with details, playing with different types of shading?
A: Thanks for the kind words haha, it’s nice to hear that, having tattooed only for 2 years :) The real reason I’m putting these elements is that I always feel the lack of some background or synthetically something goes wrong... So something must be done to harmonize the whole thing… Another reason I’m making weird actions like pattern on both background and theme is the need of some unique idea.. the need of approaching the real thing... art

Q: Your black and gray work is simply outstanding, not that you're not good with color ink, but... do you prefer black and gray tattoo style?
A: Haha, as a matter of fact I prefer color works and mixed media related stuff, but I live in Greece(not Russia ;) ) and I’ve learned to make solid tattoos. That’s the reason you saw my first color works after my guest spot in Iron & Ink, Denmark, because people there actually are white! 40-45 degrees heat in summer and dark skins are major problems here... It’s not on me, if something has to be tattooed, it should stay there and not fade out in some years if we respect our customers, Also I prefer simple and decent shapes and details even if it has to be a color work, I never forget I have to deal with human skin and not my clipboard notebook!

Q: I saw an amazing portrait of Teya Salat, what was the basic inspiration for this tattoo?
A: Hahaha, this was on my guest spot in Iron & Ink, Vejle, Denmark. It was such a difficult case that I had to move my customer’s tattoo session the day after because I had to spare the day explaining her how a design can work and not destroy her leg. So, she first brought me a disgusting woman muerto portrait with 4-5 roses on her face that really looked like lettuces. I never work with tattoo references, especially when they are SO bad applied, so I searched with her a nice woman photography in order to change it to a muerto project with 1 and not 5 realistic roses. Then I just put Teya Salat, since she’s one of my favorite models and I placed the rose on her knee... It came out good and she was totally pleased ;)

- Would you say that portrait tattoos are a way more challenging than the other?
No, I would say that everything has an overall artistic value. If you talk about realistic and photorealistic portraits then the tattoo is just a copy of what we see on the reference. The REAL challenge is not only to make something different but to create something you’ve never seen before, that’s the definition of art existence too.. A portrait seems more difficult from customer's perspective, but it’s way too easy even for you to apply what you see ;) It’s more challenging for me to make unique ideas than to keep copying photographs.

Q: I know artists are constantly trying to progress, would you change something in your style, or start working on something completely different? If so, what would that be? heh
A: Well, I haven’t mention that I’m tattooing for about 2 years and until now I was constantly experimenting and trying new stuff that I still do. I haven’t done anything of what I had in mind for tattooing, and I hope I’ll complete some design ideas I have in mind, I get easily bored to something, so hopefully I’ll try my best and experiment more and more until I learn more myself and get better to what I do, If I don’t I would prefer retiring tattooing than just tattooing the same recipe for some money. It’s my passion also and not my “job”, If I don’t feel like a project is going to be good for me, I don’t make it to just earn some money.

Q: Being a tattoo artist, everyone thinks that it's a fun profession, but sometimes it can be hard as hell, how do you manage being constantly creative, on time with every client?
A: Haha, that depends on the tattooer, we are not all the same. For me it’s a fun profession when applying the design and tattooing, before this sometimes it’s more than hard as hell, hah! If customers are open minded and open to ideas then it’s really easy and I just have fun with my customer creating something that I like. When I got a hard customer then I just explain him/her the way for a nice design and what should be put into it, and I make them choose what they would like, it’s not at all a problem!

- My readers will be super curious to know how long does it takes to get an appointment?
Well, I’m not booked for long but that totally depends on customer’s location, because as I told you I’m on the road, my e-mail is Drone.80@hotmail.com and my FB Page’s link www.facebook.com/dronart

Q: Keeping a busy schedule also means going on tattoo conventions, how much those events helps you to get inspired by meeting so many great fellas there and maybe learn something new? Share some of the coolest experiences...
A: Unfortunately I’ve been only to a few conventions till now but I’ve already arranged some really big and nice ones like No Limits New York Tattoo Show at resorts World Casino NYC! True fact is that if you’re a spectator and a fast learner then a big convention like Milano’s might be a god’s gift to you because you can observe some of the world’s top technique masters… My coolest experience until now was Milano Tattoo Convention 2013(I think it’s the biggest convention in Europe with London’s ). I met people I never imagined I would meet and it was a huge experience for my life and my tattoo career beginnings.

Q: What are your feature plans?
A: I’ve already arranged a lot of guest spots to some really good tattoo studios with reputation in their countries. I’ll try to attend some big conventions around Europe and U.S.A too, and generally I’m planning to create my own personal style, because I think a lot of work must be done for this. My next guest spots for Dec-January are 10-23/December 2014 at Mahakala tattoo in Ravensburg-Germany, 9-21/January 2015 @ Nadelspiel 0711 in Stuttgart-Germany. for more info and appointments you can just ask me on my e-mail, personal FB profiles and Page…

Please share your contact info/website.
e-mail: drone.80@hotmail.com
Page: www.facebook.com/dronart
Instagram: www.instagram.com/georgedrone (under construction)
Website: www.dronart.gr (under construction)

You’re welcome Iva, I thank you in advance for this chance and the support, keep it real and low!