tattoo | interview with Olivia Moonchild by iva kancheska 03/03/2014

Hello Olivia Moonchild! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for Skin-Artists.com readers. Let's start with some basic info, what got you into the world of tattooing?

Hi, I am Olivia Moonchild and I've been tattooing for almost 8 years as a professional tattoo-artist. I've been drawing for all my life, according to my mom I had a firm and natural grip on pencil when I was only 2 years old :D Of course I really can't remember that far. It always has been relatively easy for me to to pick up techniques and ways to create art if I'm truly interested of the genre. I fell in love with tattoos in very early age since my dad has a tattoo in his forearm and it's done during his service time in the army (nowadays I think it really would need a fix up but then I figured it must have been the coolest tattoo ever :D I wasn't more than 8 or so, but I secretly admired his tattoo). Later on I really found a passion for it by taking my first tattoos. How I ended up being a tattoo-artist was a decision made in a spur of a moment. At that time I was a bartender and playing bass in a quite sad version of a band and I have to admit that I myself was the worst bass-player in a whole world :D We were bad!!! But then it happened that our vocalist decided to take a tattoo. He and I went to meet up the tattoo-artist and he noticed my drawing skills. Next day I was at the studio as an apprentice to become an artist myself.

Q: Where are you based now? Please share some basic info about the shop you work in.
A: For few years I had a shop of my own called Moonchild's Art Tattoo, but I got tired working alone, doing the tattoos and running the shop..... that required a loads of work and energy and I almost lost my passion and motivation for tattooing. Then I decided to return in a rental chair and now I've been working a little over a year in a studio called Twin City Tattoo, Helsinki (www.twincitytattoo.fi).

We moved to our current location in a beginning of 2014 and now we are operating in Hakaniemenkuja 2, Helsinki - Finland. We have three (3) working post at the studio and the third chair is reserved for guest spotting purposes. We're very specific of the hygiene, age-limits and security as well as the customers service.

Q: You work on many tattoo styles, from floral and cartoon designs to black & gray portraits. Really cool, do you have any favorite style?
A: Well... not really :D I'm very varying styled artist and I enjoy the art itself so much that I think I kinda love all the cool ways of creation. I also have to say that I'm trying to find ways to over shine myself all the time, so basically I want to learn and keep learning to become better than I was yesterday. But I have to admit that if I was to do one particular style or theme for a two weeks straight I would probably get freaking bored :D I'm absolutely grateful that my clients have so differing needs <3

Q: Tattooing is very creative work. How do you usually get inspired?
A: The work itself inspires me, but every now and then I take some time of's and focus on something completely different than my art. That way I see closer so much better. I also get very inspired by other artists and their awesome tattooing art. Got to love great art work when you see it! 3D-art makes me go crazy inspired :D

Q: Seems like all of your tattoo creations are custom made. Can you tell about the making process, how do you corporate the client's idea with your own?
A: When a client calls and wants to make an appointment, I ask them to stop by at the studio so we can have a discussion of his/her coming project. I tend to interview them a bit to get to know them little better and to find out their main ideas of their new tattoo; desires in style, how wide is it going to be, colors or black and grey and so on. We basically share our thoughts throughout the planning. This way I can rule out things that are unwanted and start sketching more efficiently. Most of my art are made freehand but I do make flashes as well. For freehand's I do have some kind of plan in most of the cases, but some are designed right there, directly on skin at spot when clients comes in for the first time for a tattooing appointment.

- Is there any "dream" piece that is still undone, so far? hah
There are quite many :D I would love to make a large pieces of a story "Never ending Story", "Resident Evil" and "Starship Troopers" just to mention few and of course in colors and as large as possible... preferably sleeve or whole leg would be cool!!! I have many on going projects at the moment that are so to say '"dream" pieces and they all are at least 2/3 sleeves, few of them are getting ready during the summer and this week I'm starting one of my dearest "dream-piece"; it is full sleeve from the movie Aliens <3' ( I love science fiction and fantasy )

Q: Every creative work requires dedication and love, especially tattooing. What's the biggest challenge in tattooing?
A: When I was a beginner it was challenging to create well functioning daily work routines and sometimes my days were almost 16 hours long. I have very wild imagination so I have never had any problems on the artistic field :D With time I managed to create well working routine to deliver all requirements of this work, so I would say that the greatest challenge in my case is to have enough vacation. Even tough this profession is creative, fun, inspiring and full filling, it still requires a huge amount of energy and focus. Vacations and day offs frequently will load up the batteries and when you are well rested you can achieve better results.

Q: What designs are most popular nowadays in your area? Have you ever tried to change someone's mind when it comes to tattoo designs?
A: I'm very straightforward and if clients design is looking bad on paper, it most probably is going to look worse on the skin. In these situations I'm delicately letting them know that it would look better with more or less customizing. If people are wanting names or stuff like that tattooed on their skin, I ask them to re-consider or change it to be not so obvious.
I think skulls, birds and roses seems to be hot at the moment :D

- Are there any tattoo designs you simply don't want to tattoo?
Nothing that violates other people by tools of racism or similar. I mean, if somebody wants to be a complete asshole, I don't care to help them to reach that goal by labeling them with a permanent mark which would probably get that poor bastard in some sort of trouble in some point anyway :D

Q: Talking as a female artist, are there any crazy customers that want to meet you by getting a tattoo? Haha Btw. You look amazing!
A: D Hahaha! Thank you! :) As a matter of fact no, not really. I have had maybe 2-3 emails that are referring that the writer has interests of other than tattooing during my whole tattooing career, but practically people wants to meet me for a tattoo :) I take my profession serious enough to be bitchy if absolutely necessary :D I think professional-life and personal-life are two different things :)

- Talking of your look, you also have some great ink on your body. When did you get your first tattoo? Seeing you now, seems like you got addicted to tattoos!
Let's see.... It must have been nearly 15-16 years ago when I took my first tattoo.... a Chinese-symbol, which by the way doesn't mean dragon as it was supposed to :D hahaha!! Ever since I've taken tattoos frequently, some of them weren't such a success and are been covered later on :) Yes, you could say I have an addiction for tattoos, but I have to admit that I kinda like the after burn of the freshly made tattoo almost as much as the ready and healed product.

Photo credits: Janne Hamalainen / Nordicview.com

Q: What your tattoos mean to you? How many are on your body?
A: Some of my tattoos have very deep personal meanings, some I have taken purely because I find them cute, nerdy, cool or funny. Overall tattooing is a way of self expression and freedom for me and I want to cover myself from neck to toe and preferably from as many amazing artists as possible :) I'm also a bit of a collector in that way :D I have no idea of the amount of tattoos that I have! But if I was to make an estimate I would say that maybe 48% of my skin is covered in tattoos already <3

Q: So far, do you still enjoy tattooing? How do you cheer up yourself, when things get tough in the studio?
A: I just love it! Tattooing is just so enjoyable in every aspect. Every day is new with new possibilities to create something amazing. If things were to get tough in the studio I think the solution is communication and mutual respect. People don't have to agree on every thing, but still everyone must follow rules that are created for studio hygiene and main protocols. Honesty and opening up usually clears the air pretty well too :) Basically I think that when people working in the studio are working for a mutual goal with each other, and having respect and honesty towards each other without need for a rivalry, things won't escalate into tough situations and this also helps everyone individually to build up their personal career.

Q: Do you use other art mediums such as painting, photography? What are your other hobbies outside tattooing?
A: I'm also painting with acrylics and I make art by carving and burning wood. My newest art form that I'm practicing is digital-art and I enjoy it alot. I'm driven to get myself better at it with time and patience :) Outside tattooing I'm also having couple of hobbies. I play paintball (and because of that I work out at the gym), I also like to knit every know and then when I feel like it, I read alot of books; mainly informational or historic but also fantasy tales, and I love watching good movies. Sometimes I do modeling for fun.

Q: Sometimes people share their life stories with their tattoo artists. Do you feel honored? Have you ever learned something about life, after listening to your client's story?
A: Some people share their stories, not all of them, some people are quite silent when taking a tattoo, but when they start sharing I feel absolutely honored! Sometimes I'm purely amazed how people have managed go through so difficult times and still standing tall. That is so respectable. What I have learned from my client's through out their stories is that people are so much stronger than what they usually think. On the other hand I've heard so joyful and breath taking stories that words fail to describe their vividness. Everyone has a story and they're worth listening.

Q: Any advice to the people that are just starting out their careers?
A: Ask advice from professionals, make a good portfolio of your drawings and skills and try to get an apprenticeship; when you get proper guidance you'll learn better, you get better reasoning why certain things like tattooing methods, hygiene and such, should be performed in a certain manner. Explore how artists have delivered; how they are drawing, what are their techniques. Go to conventions to get inspired. Go to seminars to get more information. Don't make any assumptions!!! That is a short cut that very often leads to mistakes. In stead, ask, practice and learn :)

Please feel free to share your your work info(website).
www.facebook.com/MoonchildsArtOy
www.twincitytattoo.fi