Interview with Andreas Christodoulou| Style | Cyprus 15/11/2020

 Hello Andreas Christodoulou! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. We really appreciate the opportunity to share some of our thoughts with you, hopefully our audience will find this conversation interesting and insightful. Please start by telling us something about yourself, your background and how did you get into this business? I’m a 27 year old tattoo artists born an raised in Cyprus. My background varies quiet a bit, no one in my family really has the artistic gene in them. Growing up in Cyprus, tattooing, drawing, graffiti wasn’t something well known, it’s more of a traditional island.

Q: Was tattooing something that was like a dream job or it came spontaneously?
A: I was always intrigued by art, drawing and graffiti in general. In a way, I sort of knew that I wanted to be a tattoo artist, especially it being something ‘frowned’ upon and more underground in my country.

Q: Every beginning is difficult even for the talented artists who have good drawing skills, but "conquering" the skin as a new playground is challenging. One can be an excellent painter but still struggling to learn tattooing, as both require different approach and skills. Was it hard to learn tattooing?
A: Of course it was difficult in the beginning, your basically drawing something on someone and it’s going to be there forever. But the thrill of that challenge and the concentration makes it easier in a way for me. Tattooing actually helped me with my drawing and made me better.

Q: What type of tattoos were popular back when you were starting? How long took you to figure your way in this and forming your own style?
A: I can say that old school tattoos were the most popular at the time. It took me roughly one and a half years to find my style, but what helped me along was that I wanted to do something opposite of what was popular back then.

Q: Do you still keep some photos from your first tattoos? :D As an artist myself, I do and when I look back I have an "urge" to call my then clients and fix their tattoo haha Thank God they are still my friends! How was your experience?
A: My first tattoos were actually on my family members so I have to see them every day even if I don’t want to. Thankfully they still haven’t got rid of me and still talk to me hahaha. But yes of course, I still save pictures (in a secret file haha) of my first tattoos as a reminder of where it all started.

Q: I really like your work today. Tattoo realism is definitely one of the trickiest styles to master, simply because it has "no mercy" when it comes to mistakes, it requires precise detailed work but still a sense of creativity too. So it's not for everyone. How long took you to gain confidence in your work?
A: First of all thank you for your kind words! I haven’t been tattooing for that long, I’ve been tattooing realism for about 3 years but for me to get where I am now, took me about 2 years. I also like to add different concepts to my realistic tattoos because they make them pop more! My confidence in my work though, really boosted when I won my first tattoo convention award 1st large black and grey.

Q: Portraits, we expect the exact facial expression, exact hair... How much room for creativity you feel like you have when doing this type of work? Do you suggest your clients, playing a little bit with background or details added from some picture?
A: Most of my clients come to me because of the ‘twist’ that I like to put into realistic portraits such as graffiti lettering, cartoons etc. Most of them go with it, but of course I have very few which are more into the classic style.

Q: Building a portfolio is stressful sometimes. It's crucial to show off your skills and gain customers but also connect with other artists, booking at conventions etc. What are some of your recommendations about building a successful portfolio? What my younger, aspiring artists should be aware of?
A: My number one recommendation is to take their time, pay attention and have patience. No one is rushing, so just take a breath and take it easy. Also, find your style, even if it’s something that will make them get out their comfort zone, go for it and try different things. If it’s something you love and enjoy doing people will recognize that.

Q: Do you have any favorite artists you look up to? How often you try to connect with others and build connections? I think we need LinkedIn for tattoo artists!
A: Of course I have favorite tattoo artists just like anyone I would say like Neon Judas, Eliot Kohek and others. Everyday I build connections with others artists and talk to them, I think that in this industry we are all in this together and it’s all about the respect. Hahaha a LinkedIn for tattoo artists would be a great idea to be able to connect.

- Do you work as a guest spot artist in the local shops or even abroad? If so, please share some good memories and what that experience taught you?
I still haven’t had the chance to guest spot at another shop, I was going to this year but unfortunately because of the circumstances it got cancelled.

Q: What is that one thing that you learned from being a tattoo artist that kept you motivated to continue in your journey?
A: One of my mottos in this industry is to always be modest and humble and everything in time will come to you.

Q: What is the biggest mistake that you have made or you have seen many others make during their path of getting into this scene and actually making a good name out of themselves as an artist not a brand to brag about?
A: I think the biggest mistake that people do in their journey of becoming a tattoo artist is letting the money take over their lives. We all know that making that much money at the end of the day could end up doing bad decisions. I have seen some great artists being overwhelmed by the money, that they ended up using drugs and not tattooing anymore.

Q: We live in challenging time with so much uncertainty, so strong will should be persistent, even though it's difficult but I think the world will probably get out of this Corona situation. How are you doing? Do you have any plans after this?
A: As I stated above I had a lot planned this years such as guest spots and tattoo conventions but unfortunately got cancelled because of the Corona situation. I hope everything and everyone gets better and theres a lot of time ahead of us for more events.

- What's the procedure for scheduling appointments?
Clients come by the store so we can see the design, placement and size and discuss it together. By paying a deposit which is included in the final price their appointment is secured. Of course now because of the Coronavirus everyone has to wear their masks and as fewer people in the studio as possible.

Q: Cyprus is a summer heaven! As spring approaches, I bet people are looking forward to get a tattoo more than in the winter or they finally realised that beach body with tattoos should be preparing from October? Hah How is the tattoo scene there, do you see a progress?
A: Because I’m in one of the biggest and well known tattoo studios in Cyprus we pretty much have work all year round. But yeah, our high season is basically in spring so people can get ready for the beach runway hahaha. The tattoo scene in Cyprus is getting better and more known with the younger generation being open minded, and also many companies are no longer taboo on employees with tattoos, not everyone yet though :)

Q: In few words, what would you change about the global tattoo scene if it was up to you? What we, the magazines, tv, seminars etc should be aware of, doing more?
A: There's not much about the tattoo scene that I would change, because over time people are getting more used to tattoos. The tattoo community needs to understand that we’re all in this together and it’s not a competition. One thing I would say is that magazines, tattoo tv shows etc. should start looking for new aspiring artists to interview to show them that there is potential in what they’re doing, and not always interview already well known tattoo artists.

Contact info
Instagram @andreaschr12

Mr.Andreas Christodoulou Thank you so much for the interview, stay safe,
Kind Regards