Interview with Junitatts

   Hello Junitatts! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please start by telling us something about yourself and your background. Do you have any formal art education? Hello, I was born and raised in Ukraine. I made my first tattoo at the age of 13 using a regular needle, then I experimented with self-made tattoo machines. At the age of 16 I entered the Myrgorod Ceramic College, specializing in "Decorative and Applied Arts". During my studies, I managed to work at a porcelain factory. It was during this period that my journey with tattooing other people began. Of course, these were tattoos made with a guitar string and a homemade machine. These were lettering, tribal, and other fashionable things at that time. But thanks to this, later I managed to save up for a real tattoo machine, which I had previously seen only on the Internet. And it was a Mickey Sharps induction machine. After graduating from college, I entered the university to study "Design of the Architectural Environment and Urban Planning". It was there that my more professional work as a tattoo artist began. At the university dormitory, I met Timur, who at that time was already working in the Poltava tattoo studio "Black Label". It was working in this studio that gave me the development I needed and I improved my level. This studio has released many world-famous tattoo artists. Many people know these masters or have come across their work. These are masters such as U-gene, Timur Lysenko, Timur Gunchenko, Valerychik, and many others. Stas Aksenov, a well-known tattoo builder in Ukraine, was also among our team. This team gave impetus to development and professional growth.

Q: What inspired you to try tattooing? How did it all start?
A: Since childhood, I liked drawings on the body, my grandfathers had tattoos. One had the inscription of his name, Yakov, on his hand, and the other had an anchor. Perhaps this influenced what I am doing now.

Q: Was it hard to learn the basics? What kind of tattoos you use to do as a beginner?
A: As I said earlier, at first these were tribals, inscriptions, hieroglyphs, the vast majority of tattoos were done freehand. Over time, I wanted to try something more complicated, it was always a challenge.

Q: How would you call your style now? How long took you to figure out your creative direction?
A: It is difficult to define my style, as I have been experimenting with it all the time. These are more surrealistic works with the addition of trash polka, realism, and elements of abstraction. In most cases, this is a harmonious composition relative to the anatomy of the body. I have been working as a professional tattoo artist for 15 years, so it took me a little time to try many styles and choose the best of them and combine them into something of my own.

Q: I absolutely love the variety. There is a beautiful mix of tattoo realism and fantasy - horror themed designs. Very interesting. Do you draw all designs or do you use some reference images?
A: Earlier, when I was just starting my journey, I mostly drew everything before each session, but during my studies at the Architecture Department, I got acquainted with Photoshop, and now I do the vast majority of the projects in Photoshop. Therefore, this can be called a juxtaposition of collages from photos and arts.

Q: Some are very detailed, complex but also thought provoking. I love it, especially the big tattoos like the sleeve tattoos. Any "hidden" message or they're just pretty cool designs? Again, all look soooo great!
A: Of course, as in any art, there are certain themes and ideas that I try to embody in some of my works in combination with interesting design. Also, sometimes I can play up the client's idea and interpret it in my own style.

Q: You see all kind of people every day, has anyone received their life story and the meaning of their tattoo? If yes, what's the most memorable?
A: I believe that both in creativity and in tattooing, everyone can see something of their own, so do not limit human imagination. Also, some people perceive everything as a beautiful picture or something that they liked, without putting any meaning into it, except as a good work. Therefore, for each person, a tattoo can have its own interpretation or memory of a certain period of life or some meaning, so this question is open and there is no wrong answer.

Q: You do both color and black and gray tattooing. What do you prefer?
A: Recently, I have preferred black and gray tattoos with elements of color that, to one degree or another, emphasize compositional centers.

Q: Do you have any favorite artists you look up to or want to work with?
A: On my creative path, I managed to work and be familiar with many top masters from all over Europe, from whom I also have tattoos, but I cannot single out anyone separately, since each of them is the best in their own style.

Q: Nowadays it's better maybe even easier to get into tattooing. And with proper mentorship young aspiring artists can turn pro. There are many opportunities and information, unlike just ten years ago. Do you agree?
A: Yes, of course, this is true, now there is an incredible amount of information, courses, master classes, and the availability of materials for tattooing and more. Open YouTube and you can learn everything you want, if only there is a will.

Q: What would you do differently if you were starting today?
A: I think I would not have spent a lot of time on trial and error, and the progress would have happened much faster.

Q: Do you like where the tattoo industry is currently and what would you like to see in the near future?
A: The industry has grown into a business, on the one hand it is good because there are higher quality pigments, needles and so on, but on the other hand there is no longer that vibe of the underground and the inaccessibility of tattoos.

Q: Now tell me about your beautiful Poland. The tattoo scene is huge! Do you like the local tattoo scene?
A: When I moved to Poland, I was amazed by the creativity and individuality of the local tattoo artists, almost every one of them is a wonderful artist and this also gave an incredible impetus to my work.

Q: Many artists are traveling for work and not only enjoying different culture and experiences, there's also a lot to learn from others. Do you attend tattoo conventions, seminars or working as a guest spot artist? If yes, what was the best experience?
A: Of course, like most of my colleagues, I participate in tattoo conventions, travel, work as a guest artist in other countries, all this also gives impetus to my creativity and development. Every experience is the best, that's why it is experience, somewhere better, somewhere worse.

Q: What do you like the most about being a tattoo artist?
A: For me, it has never been a job, it is more of a hobby that brings money. But in any case, it is communication and acquaintance with various interesting people from all over the world. Creativity and art.

Q: What advice would you give to those who want to try getting into professional tattooing?
A: I advise all beginners to draw more, never be afraid to try new styles. And the most important thing is not to forget about safety and disinfection, because this is the main thing in this profession for the artist and the client.

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RED Berry Tattoo Studio
Wrocław, Poland