Interview with Greg Tetradis | Realism Style | Greece 15/09/2022

  Hello Greg! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. Please start by telling us something about yourself where are you from and your background. Firstly I would like to thank Skin Artists Tattoo magazine for this interview. So, my full name is Gregory Tetradis and I'm coming from the North part of Greece, a small beautiful city named Kavala. Born in 1986 and raised there until the end of High-school. Such a great times back in the 80's and 90's! Childhood without mobile phones, without any media and technology or other "distractions" from growing up like a normal kid. We learned how to be creative in matter to entertain ourselves in the neighbourhood. What a pure life!! I so miss that from time to time. As soon as I finished school i moved for studies as a graphic designer. I've worked for about a year in this industry until i realised that was not exactly what I was dreaming about. Since I discover the tattoo world my life changed! Haha. I moved in London for almost 5 years and now im based in my country again in the capital city of Athens and I'm travelling as a guest artist most of the time.

Q: Do you have any formal art training? What made you start tattooing?
A: Well, I've been messing around with all forms of art since childhood. I spent my early years during school doing graffiti, wall paintings, drawing all over my books, bedroom and other people's walls. haha.
Then graphic design came to my life which I learned proper drawing, a bit of architecture design, decoration, photography and so much more interesting stuff! Later on went to a private school for further education which we jumped into the digital world. We learned photoshop, illustration, Web design, 3d design etc. What led me to tattooing was actually my first tattoo which I got at someone's house.
As soon as I saw all the tattoo gears, equipment and the whole process I was amazed! I said yeah!!!! That's for me! After I've tried all diferent ways and tools of doing art I thought that tattooing is way more interesting in many ways. So... here I am!

Q: How difficult was to learn the basics of tattooing? Did anyone help you?
A: Honestly I started from scratch. I had only couple of people tattooing in my hometown back in the days and not even at a great level. It was still hard to get information or find seminars. It was the times where all artists kept secrets about their techniques and palettes like a treasure. So I've learned from some very few videos online explaining how a machine works and how the skin reacts what are the needle configurations etc. (Just coil machines back then). Slowly and safely I started tattooing some friends at home.

- Usually, people start with some simple designs, what type of tattoos you use to do as a beginner?
Mostly I was doing simple stuff such as linework, lettering, dot work and some symbols until I felt more comfortable for bigger things.

Q: What type of style you liked the most as a beginner?
A: As I'm coming from a graffiti and graphic designed background I always loved to blend styles and incorporate abstract elements with realism, and blending colors with monochromatic. Back in the days, my inspiration was the style "trash polka" mostly.

Q: You have a really interesting style. I like the colors and the unique backgrounds of each tattoo. It's really a one piece design for each client. How awesome! Do you draw sketches before the session or the design can be done spontaneously with the client?
A: Thank you! Indeed is a one piece design for each customer. When I'm on my creative mood which happens from time to time when I have my days off work, I throw quick ideas of compositions to my ipad so I can have the basic structure. The complete idea is always somewhere in my head with few alternative options. Of course I take time and I prepare some full designs as well so I can have available for a potential customer, but with constant travels and working a lot, there is not always time to do that. During the guest spots, you have to be ready to deal with plan changes, poor ideas coming from customers and different skin tones. So I'm mostly doing the designs spontaneously after a short chat with each customer.
Planned appointments for my style of tattooing of course are the best and I spend lot of time in advance to make the best out of it.

Q: It's like you gave tattoo realism an upgrade, and not a boring one - thank you! Your style is a nice mix of realism and perhaps, graffiti, sketch? How would you call your style?
A: Whoever says after being many years in the tattoo industry that realism is not boring he would lie. Haha! We see more and more people nowdays mixing styles with realism and creating such interesting and unique sub genres. That's the future! Finally all realism artists can feel more creative adding a signature into every "boring" copy paste photography project. As I say there are 2 kind of people in this industry, the technicians and the artists. Technicians are great to transfer a photo on the skin in a perfect way and artists can push it a step further. I can't name my style honestly. I would just say a blend of realism with graphic elements. Aesthetically could vary from pop art to surrealism.

Q: How long it took you to figure out your creative process and do you plan to experiment with new ideas? Maybe start doing something completely different? I gotta ask this, because you are very talented and creative. I seriously, think you can do a lot of cool stuff.
A: I will consider myself a hard working person, and to be honest it took me a lot of time to put in order all those things in my head and find the golden ratio and balance on my process. Finally I feel very creative and comfortable with my style combining all the elements I like in one tattoo. Of course I keep experimenting in every new design I create. One of the reasons I like art is because there are no limits! I'm thinking to start some paintings again as I feel more mature and motivated to do that. Speaking of new plans and different things, I will share with you that I'm planning to release limited series of snow blades and skateboards with my new unreleased art works. Hopefully will manage to get a collaboration with a brand.

Q: I see color tattoos (my favourite) but I also see some really good black and white tattoos. What do you like more, color or black and white tattooing?
A: What a question! Haha! Of course I like the mix of them! Black and grey with color.

Q: As a creative person, what other mediums do you like? Do you have any hobbies?
A: As I said above I would like to start paintings again so I can make an exhibition at some point. I have already some requests for that so I have to start working on that. Graffiti I would do only if asked to. No much time for that unfortunately. As for my hobbies you will be surprised. What hobbies could have a person who comes from Mediterranean? Water sports, diving and fishing! Well, I do them all!! Photography is taking serious place in my life as well.

Q: I bet you have some good clients too. It's not like they ask for a boring tattoo from a catalogue. Oh well, do we actually still have those? Ha! Im not really sure. What are some of the most memorable experiences with them, either in the studio meanwhile a session or at a tattoo convention?
A: We shouldn't laugh about the catalogues because they still exist and is a real thing. Haha! Fun fact but true. I've worked in a tourist island and in a very busy studio during summer, so I would need a month to describe memorable situations. I can't really pick one. People's requests and imagination some times are beyond reality.

Q: You're know for your style as it is. I like that. At least I know what exactly to expect from an artist doing exactly that - a cool, unique tattoo. But there are some gems out there, still trying to get you to do a something that it's not part of your work flow. How do you handle those situation? Hah
A: Well im glad to hear that because that was the hardest part In my career. To achieve a quality tattoo which has my identity, being recognised as mine. Of course I still get some works to do which are out of my range or comfort zone but I dont mind because I've done pretty much everything so far and I can deal with that. Of course the goal is to limit those as much as possible until I manage to do only my style. Im in a good way though as im working only in high quality studios which are doing their best to book me up with my style direction. Customers are getting more familiar with my works and I get more and more requests about them.

- Have you ever refused to do a certain design?
I hope it doesn't sounds unprofessional, but I actually did refused few times to do certain designs, because my experience said that it wouldn't work. I'm strictly perfectionist and is not in my principals to gamble for the quality and result of my works.

Q: What tattooing represents for you? except just a job (I bet) you truly love.
A: Tattooing has changed my life actually! Began as an interest, developed as a vision, turned out a passion, and now i would say is a lifestyle!

Q: What the journey from the beginning until now taught you as a person?
A: If you consider that im doing this "job" for the most years of my life starting since the age of 24 I've certainly grew up in this industry. I've learned how important is responsibility when someone trusts you to do a lifetime art on their body. I've learned to interact and talk with all kinds of people from around the world, dealing with every mindset and situation, being patient, set goals and definitely learned how hard you need to work to achieve it. The tattoo industry is a whole school of life by itself.

Q: I see that you're travelling a lot. How often do you participate at tattoo conventions? Which one do you remember the most?
A: Conventions are a thing that I was not so much into it. I've been to some already but it takes a lot of time, organisation and extra travelling which I never had the luxury of time to do. Plus I feel is a stressful environment to work. Although is a great exposure and nice to meet and catch up with artists from around the globe. Good opportunity for us and for people to see other artists working. I promised to myself that I'm gonna attend to more conventions next year. One that I'm gonna remember which I liked a lot is Florence Tattoo Convention.

Q: Where are you currently? How the booking works?
A: I'm currently in Athens Greece but I'm on the road most of the time. Im travelling at the moment between UK, Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland and USA soon. There are more plans for next year including Sweden, Spain, and Asia. As for the bookings, customers can text direct me, email or keep an eye on my posts and stories for the next spots and contact with each studio for availability and consultation.

Q: A quick but important advice for my readers who want to become a tattoo artist?
A: Last but not least... As the tattoo industry rapidly became "modern" and "lifestyle", everyone wants to get their part of "glory" from that pie. I would advice newcomers just to keep their feet on the ground, work hard, love what they do and set goals. Nobody was born a tattoo artist with skills. They should not get disappointed in every mistake they do, but should work as a motivation to become better. One step each time. We are still learning every single day in this job. That's the magic journey in this world. There are no limits until you set them. Is not a bad thing to get inspired by some artists, we all did! Copying when it becomes a habit is a killing the career. Find your own way, show us your vision and offer some new fresh things that other will get inspired by you.

Thanks for that interview, was a pleasure!!
Greg Tetradis

Mr.Greg Tetradis,
Thank you so much for the interview,
Kind Regards
The Team