Interview with tattoo artist Pasha Et

  Hello Pavlo Kurylo aka Pasha Et! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please start by telling us something about yourself, your background and what inspired you to start tattooing? In short, I always liked to draw but never drew anything serious, my maximum was the characters from The Simpsons. I didn't take drawing seriously until I tried to draw a portrait from a photo at the age of sixteen. I was pleasantly surprised, I did it much better than I could have imagined and since then I have taken drawing more seriously and began to draw portraits for orders. For the first time, I wanted to be a tattoo artist when I was eighteen. I found some videos about tattoos and decided that I could also do it because I always liked tattoos and at 19 I bought all the necessary equipment and made the first tattoo, it was 2015.

Q: How long took you to learn the basics skills? Was it difficult?
A: It is very difficult to answer this question, everything was very gradual. It probably took 3,5-4 years for the basic skills. For the first 2 years, I worked at home and did 1-3 tattoos a month and at the same time studied at the academy of graphic design. It was difficult to learn, because I had very little practice and I was very slow. Later, I dropped out of the design school and focused on tattoos - then everything moved much faster. After that, after working for another 1.5-2 years, my tattoos were already at a fairly good level. At first, I found all the information on Google, and later I was already acquainted with several tattoo artists and exchanged experiences.

Q: Every beginning is hard, especially in a competitive field like tattooing. There are many new artists popping up every day it seems. That on its own can be very inspiring but also can put a lot of pressure. Do you agree? What kept you motivated?
A: Yes, I agree. Personally, I am inspired by the emergence of new cool artists, new styles and cool ideas. I was motivated by many things, first of all, I just wanted to make cool and high-quality tattoos and tried to constantly improve and I still try. I am also motivated by people of any other creative professions who work hard on themselves and succeed in their field and beyond, it can be a tattoo artist, graffiti artist, and a photographer or musician.

Q: Did you experiment with a lot of styles or you kept your focus on one style?
A: At first, like all beginners, I did absolutely everything, except for works that were difficult for my level and color tattoos. I really like how tattoos look in the technique "whip shading" and I started learning this technique. For the first 3 years, I worked in graphic style because in realism style I failed, and when the level got higher, I switched to realism and focused only on realistic tattoos.

Q: Who were some of your first clients? How much their support ment to you at the time? Do you feel like you need to re-do their tattoos now or not? Haha
A: The first attempts were on fake skin and it was immediately clear that it had nothing to do with real skin. I decided to study on my own legs and after a few sessions, I already understood how it works and started doing tattoos on acquaintances and friends. They knew that there would be no masterpieces. Haha. Since I had no experience, I did it for free - everyone was happy. I did new tattoos for some of these clients when I already had enough experience and they didn't want to correct the first tattoos. I didn’t do tattoos that were difficult for me at the time, so most of them don't need to be corrected.

Q: How long does it take to finish a portrait tattoo?
A: Everything is very different. Usually, I don't make big portraits, portraits that I usually do take 4-6 hours. There are quite large portraits, about 20 cm long if they do not have additional detailed and heavy elements - I do them in 1 session (5-7 hours) and if a portrait has many details, it can take 2-3 sessions of about 5-6 hours each, depends on how detailed and complex the design is.

Q: I love the Freud portrait! Who's idea was it?
A: Thanks. It was a client's idea, the client described what she wanted and then we worked on the design together. At first, she wanted in a graphic style, not in realism, but I knew in realism it would be much better and I convinced her.

Q: Drawing is almost a "must" for every tattoo artist basically without good drawing skills I don't believe someone can be good at tattooing. Do you agree?
A: Yes, I agree, for each style, you need to have certain skills and if we talk about realism, it is necessary, without good skills, you can't do a good tattoo. For me, drawing is first of all a hobby and an improvement in tattoo realism. For clients, I create sketches in Photoshop and then, if necessary, I do freehand, or a few days before the session I make a consultation and we develop the design together.

Q: I don't see color inks... do you plan to experiment with color tattooing in the feature? How important is to explore new things?
A: I like to draw black and white. I've never painted in colors, I'm self-taught, therefore I'm focused on improving my skills only in black and white style. Sometimes I think about adding color to my work, but I don't plan to do that yet. It is very important to explore new ways, otherwise, you may lose interest in your work and stop improving.

Q: What your tattoo journey taught you about yourself? What part of it you value the most?
A: The tattoo journey has taught me a lot. The most important thing, in my opinion, it's understanding that you can achieve anything if you want and do something about it. During my tattoo journey I have acknowledged that many times. If anyone ever told me I would be a tattoo artist, I would laugh and wouldn't believe it, it was something unattainable, but now it's reality.

Q: Any advice for the new artists?
A: Learn to draw and constantly work on yourself. To be a good tattoo artist you need to work, work, and work hard. There are no easy ways.