Interview with Kristina Taylor

   Hello Kristina Taylor! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. Please start by telling us something about yourself and your background. Do you have a formal art training like college or you were that artistic kid who loved drawing? Both at once. Since my childhood I loved to draw and I was attracted to everything related to art. As a child, I made a lot of crafts, drew and I liked it very much, so I always asked my mom to sign me up for an art school. We didn't have any money, so she didn't agree right away. And when I finally went to art school I was very happy to develop my artistic skills, despite the fact that it was an additional school to the one I already had. It took all my free time.

Then when I finished high school I went to college to study design, it was the period of informal growth and development of subcultures, at least in my country. I listened to metal and variable alternative music. During this period I got into tattoo culture. Tattooing attracted me so much that I had to choose between college and tattooing. So I left college, the senior year. I didn't like that my mom was paying for my studies and I wanted to become financially independent and do what I love. So after getting all the necessary base in college I decided to leave.

The primary interest came when I realized that it was possible to create art on the body too, not just on canvas. It was also more challenging than on canvas. And I love complexity and challenges.

Q: I bet your talent played a key role, but I believe it took you some time to figure out your creative direction? Why color realism?
A: As I said above, I love complexity. And color realism is one of the most complex styles. I have always been attracted to classical painting, its complexity, details, work on which requires patience, skills and a lot of knowledge. And the possibility of creating such a style on the body delighted me.

 There are styles of tattooing where you can be successful with diligent mechanical learning over a period of months. Unlike color realism, which can and should be learned throughout life. And it is also great, because there is always room to develop and grow.

Q: It's not only the technical aspect... Yes every tattoo you did is awesome. However, there's also the creative part. I absolutely love every design. No favorite... The colors, the details... All perfectly done. How long do you work on a big tattoo, like a sleeve or a back piece?
A: Thank you so much. I try to make each tattoo better than the previous one and with love. Also each skin is unique and requires different amount of time. Sometimes the skin is rough and not elastic. Such skin is more problematic and after healing the pigment begins to disappear. And there is a good skin, like a baby's butt :) For a sleeve I need an average of 7-8 sessions. Depending on the skin, the size of the arm, the complexity of the project and even how often the person goes for sessions :)

On full back piece, I need around 10 sessions on average. And of course depends on all the nuances described above. I never race for speed, but only for quality. And if I see the bad skin needs one more additional session, I always tell the client about it. Plus tattoos painted in two layers live longer.

Q: Realism style with a mix of surrealism...? Or simply too cool for the folks who want simple designs hah! For sure 100% unique creative signature... That's at least my view if I have to "classify" your work, correct me if I'm wrong. Heh
A: You really know what you're talking about :) no need to correct, it's really like that. It's realism with a touch of surrealism :) I always try to make unique art. I don't make the most classic realism like a passport photo. I enhance the reality making it more interesting and unusual with elements of surrealism. I pass through the prism of my vision of beauty :)

Q: That being said, have you ever refused to do a certain design? How much you are willing to negotiate with the clients?
A: I'll tell it like it is, I don't like a lot to negotiate because it's not a marketplace. I love it when people come to me for my unique art and want a piece of me. For the most part, all of my clients are understanding and flexible when it comes to discussing a design. There are few stubborn ones, but I can always offer an alternative to a trivial idea. I always explain what is good and what is bad, tell about the nuances of tattooing. Often all my clients are very understanding and trust me. In general, I rarely encounter requests for lions with crowns and other mainstream stuff :) Maybe I'm lucky, or people seeing my portfolio realize that I don't do that :) thus I only get the coolest guys who appreciate what they get :)

Q: There are so many new styles and artists nowadays. I like that, simply because I believe it pushes people to be better, try harder and deliver more. Progress is never bad. Your thoughts? Do you feel pressured sometimes because of this?
A: That's a great question. The world is changing and everything is evolving. Including the tattoo industry and the level. Everything I can say about it - is great! It's really growing and developing. And in this case I want to make this parallel - you are either on the wave and moving in rhythm, or you will drown.

Q: How important is to have a unique style and stand out?
A: It all depends on the goals of the artist. Some people prioritize making money and that's the main goal. And it's not about style, it's about how much money you can make. And for some people money is not in the priority. And in my case, my style is 100% important. Because for me tattooing is an art. And art requires to create something new and unique, not similar to others. And only in the process of searching, trying and mistakes you can find it. And coming back to the previous question, you are either on the wave (looking for new and growing or you go to the bottom because you do not grow.

Q: I guess it's important to experiment, we are talking art here... Artists like you who are super talented, find ways to improve and "diverse" a little. Do you have any favorite tattoo you did, that is like a creative upgrade? Something a bit different that what you use to do prior?
A: It's hard to stand out, I do every work with love. I probably love most those works in which I am able to have maximum freedom. For example my "wanna do" projects. Projects for festivals and conventions.

Q: There are many opportunities now for personal development, learning and marketing. One of that is visiting tattoo conventions and seminars. How often do you participate? Any favorite award?
A: I try to take part in conventions as often as possible. In general, I believe that conventions are one of the main components of life in the tattoo culture and should be attended. Now I have to participate less because I've reduced the workload on my arms due to arm problems. However, whenever possible I still try to support the tattoo culture in this way. I don't have a favorite award as such, but there was one convention that really inspired me and pushed me forward. At that time I had not been tattooing for very long and had not traveled anywhere outside of my country. It was a convention in Moscow where Miki Vialetto, Nikko Hurtado, Ami James and Carlos Rojas came. I got two prizes like best of day and one more like best of show at this convention. And these guys were presenting me with awards, it was very cool and inspiring. Just a little while ago I was looking at them and being inspired, and now I'm standing next to them and receiving an award.

Q: You are also very good at painting. The style reminds me of your tattoo art. Are some of those artworks a tattoo design for some of your clients?
A: Thank you so much. I love painting and drawing, but I separate them from tattoos. There is tattooing and there is painting. What I do in the form of painting can't be used in the form of tattooing - it's a bad basis, because I have very different requirements for image selection when it comes to tattooing. It's not about beauty here, it's about the specifics of working with the skin, how it lasts over time, etc. Simply say - not everything that is good as art will be as good as a tattoo.

Q: I like your personal style. The hairstyles and your tattoo collection. When did you start getting tattooed? Your first tattoo, what it was?
A: Oh, it's my pleasure :) My first tattoo on my skin was a little crystal because I love crystals and I did it when I was still in school and I needed to hide it from my mom so it's just a little crystal on my belly.

Q: I guess this will open some doors maybe for modeling etc? Ever thought about it?
A: I never thought of doing it professionally because I want to spend all my free time just to tattoo. I look at it from an artist's point of view. I like beauty, aesthetics, the female body, the creative process of making a photograph. My husband often organizes professional photoshoots for me. I am very lucky that we have a similar vision and we both like the same things. All my photos were and are done by him :) including magazine covers.

Q: I saw one really cool photo of you and the brilliant Valentina Riabova. If not only a photoshoot, you ladies should think of doing a tattoo collaboration.
A: We haven't really discussed it somehow. We both have enough tattoos in our lives and when we get together we talk about everything but not about tattoos.

you can read our interview with Valentina here

Q: Busy and booked? If there's any chance my audience to book you, please write your email/studio and where you will be in the near future.
A: I just moved to the USA now and I'm starting from scratch. I'm new here. My resident spot is Elysium tattoo studio in Colorado. It's a great place with great guys :) I'm also planning on traveling around the USA in the near future to see a lot of cool places. No clear schedule yet because I'm settling in. For all those who want to book a session, I have a form to submit on my website. After filling it out I will contact everyone to confirm and discuss details.

Q: If you were starting today, what would you do differently? In few words, encourage the young, aspiring artists who will read this interview and maybe will try to get into professional tattooing.
A: I would only do my style, only works that I like. I lost a lot of time when I just sat in my country and didn't travel anywhere. You should not be afraid to travel, to take part in conventions, other tattoo stuff, it all helps to grow.