we had the pleasure of interviewing an extremely talented artist with new ideas
Hello, my name is Andrey Kolbasin. I am 31 years old and I started tattooing at the age of 12 . It was a long time ago and I don ‘t remember every day of my career in detail , but I remember the beginning vividly and interestingly . It was spontaneous. I was the only one who could draw, and that’s why I was asked to get tattoos for guys who were interested in this hobby. Of course I refused , because I was scared and didn ‘t understand what it was . The pressure of adult guys made me a tattoo artist . I don ‘t know who I would have been if my future clients hadn ‘t knocked on my door then . I got tattoos several times a week when I came home from school . Evening sessions combined tattoos , alcohol , cigarettes and a desire to plunge into the criminal world . These were my main motives for the first time . Blue tattoos with different meanings . I grew up in Russia, in a remote village with a population of 300 people. Then, as an adult, I moved to St. Petersburg. At the moment , I have left home because terrible events are happening , from which I want to keep my distance .
Where is your Studio?
In St. Petersburg I have my own tattoo studio and a school where I teach drawing and
tattooing . This is my main income . I also travel the world and participate in tattoo conventions , as well as stay in guest spot’s lots in good studios . This also brings not a bad profit.
I paint pictures and sometimes it turns out to get a good order or sell something from my collections. But of course I try to keep the paintings, as it is a good memory of who I was during my lifetime. My tattoos will leave a mark in the history of art, and my paintings are a legacy, they are eternal.
When did you know you wanted to become a tattoo artist?
Over the 19 years of my career, I have tried many styles, but I stopped at what I do best. My style is Realism . The direction may be different. Someone makes cats and dogs , someone tattoos landscapes on the body , most make portraits of actors from famous films . My direction is social realism . I like to encrypt messages for those who understand, and for those who do not understand, it’s just a beautiful tattoo. For the last 3 years I have been combining old prison tattoos in my works , which symbolizes a protest to power , and these tattoos have a deeper meaning . I use portraits of beautiful people and try to imitate the technology of oil painting and the rules of academic drawing . I like the Renaissance of fine Art. I try to follow the rules and technologies of Caravaggio , Rembrandt, Rubens . For me, these artists stand at the height of my creativity. I mainly specialize in color tattooing, but I also do black and white tattoos not infrequently.
How did you get started?
At the age of 17, I already opened my first tattoo studio, and when I closed it, this personal loss gave me a lot of strength for new victories. That ‘s when I realized that I liked my struggle in tattooing . The struggle for business , for qualifications, for popularity .
What do you feel was one of your biggest struggles?
The most difficult thing was at the beginning. It was necessary to defend their interests. I fought for the right to get a tattoo . My parents were against it. The school was not always happy with the friendship with the tattoo artist . The society did not recognize me until a certain moment . Until I was 18 , it was very difficult for me to take steps forward. I wanted to lower my hands and stop doing tattoos , but I got up from my knees and walked forward clenching my fists . Everything I have , I deserve thanks to my perseverance and efforts. It was difficult at that time to find information on how to properly apply the pigment under the skin. It is difficult to earn a lot of money for professional equipment when you are a child, but it is even more difficult to understand how to work with them. There were no teachers or schools at that time, but there were apprentices who did not take me. Everyone was afraid of competition. Now I teach people for money and for free , because I myself have gone through these difficult paths and I do not want young masters to go through the same difficult path .
What do you like about what you do?
I get great pleasure from the application process. I spent many years trying to learn how to draw and learn how to apply pigment so that it would be preserved in its original form for another 40-50 years . Now I am proud that I am one of the few masters who makes real tattoos . Many artists have beautiful tattoos on Instagram, and at the tattoo convention they are ashamed of their healed works . I also had this, but 15 years ago. Now my tattoos are of excellent quality . I also like my new design and realistic skin . What do you like about what you do? What do you dislike? Sometimes, of course, it does not work out to reach your level. If the client has poor patience and twitches during the session , it is impossible to focus on work. Then I don’t give 100% and lose quality. Well , I analyze every tattoo after the session and look for mistakes . That ‘s how I learn . I find mistakes and try to remove it in my future works. These are mostly design and composition errors. It is not always possible to observe the proportions and guess the dynamics of the muscles .
How much money do you make as a tatoo artist?
In a year it is about 200-300 thousand dollars. Everything always depends on the economic situation in the country and the stability of the dollar. The session costs about $2000 and my training costs about $ 5000 My wife and I spend 20% on charity. We mainly help those who have cancer or other serious illnesses. Pensioners , children and the disabled. Do you have a formal art background? There is no official education. I studied at an art college, but I didn ‘t finish and waste mytime. I was educated at art courses, communicating with artists, tattoo artists. I got my mainskills from books and hard work. I have been drawing all my life and my main task was and remains to comprehend the secrets of the old masters. Later I started reproducing it in a tattoo . The desire to learn and comprehend new things moves me forward. This is what I live by. I moved to St. Petersburg because there is an Academy of Arts there and the largest number of professional artists on the planet live in this city . That’s where I met a lot of my teachers. I also had the opportunity to study at the John Angel Academy, where I received not only drawing skills but also the basics of restoration. The base that every artist needs. My specialty is portrait. Studying the mechanics of muscles, the construction of the head, volume and perspective, I understand all the other laws of painting. Education is an important part of becoming a master. It doesn ‘t matter if you have a diploma or not, the main thing is your skills and knowledge.
What sparked your desire to take classes? What are you specializing in?
Watching tattoo artists, I often see their mistakes. Even the strongest masters makemistakes . For me , first of all , shape and anatomy are important . Harmony of color and harmony of spots in the composition. It is important to me that the nose and face were not flat , and the color was varied Fingers that wouldn ‘t look like sausages. Of course , the skin is a specific material for drawing , so you need to follow a certain application technology , and you also need to be able to simplify the images so that the ink retains its shape for many years , because the meaning of the tattoo is that it would be eternal and would not require corrections after a while . You need to have not only knowledge of technology, drawing, but you need to know how the equipment works, for which thanks to Japanese tattoo, Maori tattoo and O’Reilly and other builders for combining all this into the electric tattoo machine industry.
How do you think your formal art training has now affected your tattoo work?
The most difficult thing to deal with is the Internet. Now is the era of the Internet, and if you are not on the Internet, then you do not exist. You need to come up with content, monitor popularity and communicate with subscribers. Youtube and Instagram take a lot of time and effort . This is the most difficult , more difficult than learning how to do tattoos. If you can do tattoos 2 times a week and not lose anything, then you need to monitor your content 24 hours a day .
What education or skills are needed to do this?
For all tattooists without exception, I recommend to follow the design, follow the application technology. Each studio should have its own producer and lawyer in the future. This will help save time for creativity. At the moment, many new masters are lowering prices and the industry in the world is experiencing serious financial problems. I will advise you to raise prices , not lower them . You need to learn to draw every day, the only way to quickly become a master . Of course, you need to draw manually, and use the iPad at a minimum.
How much time off do you get/take?
Free time is one day a week. 5 days I do tattoos , 6 days I paint a big picture all day and study something new , and 7 days I am with my family. So constantly. 2 times a year I take a vacation and free my head from working thoughts .
Do you think there are challenges in being a tattoo artist that artists who create for themselves don’t face?
In the profession of a tattoo artist, there are now big problems in the application technology. Most masters know how to draw, they know how to make beautiful designs and they manage to develop their social networks, but technically tattoos after healing look cheap and not durable. Poor – quality equipment is to blame for everything. Induction machines were rough, but they made long – lasting tattoos, but a rotary tattoo machine is a specific technology. She can get a tattoo, but it is very difficult to achieve quality. Not many brands can boast of production quality and innovation. I know onebrand for which the future is “Ink machines”. These engineers know a lot about the application technology. I am waiting for a high-quality Solenoid in the future. This will be a new stage of tattooing. Security in the tattoo industry also suffers. Many masters do not even know what an autoclave is and do not know the laws of sterilization. A lot of nonsense. Now 80 % of tattoo machine manufacturers do not make safe equipment. Time will show.
Which is your first love: tattooing or animation/illustration? What are your goals/dreams for the future?
Of course, I am an absolute artist. Tattoos are just a technique of application. Tattoo is a part of fine art with its own rules and canons. I paint on absolutely all surfaces. This includes tattoos, graffiti and airbrushing on cars, paper, canvas, sand, stones and much more. I ‘m an artist . Illustration is my first love. In the future, of course, I want to legalize my school and give real diplomas. I like the idea of opening an art institute where teenagers will learn to draw , tattoo , create new designs and preserve the ancient traditions of tattooing of various tribes and reconstruct lost styles and traditions. Also study medicine for a tattoo artist . This way I can make the industry better and stronger .
As an art professional/creative, what advice could you give to others about the field?
As an art professional/creative, what advice could you give to others about the field? I like the idea of preserving traditions and my main advice is to study the roots of tattoos. Having understood how tattoos were done manually, how the composition worked, where the meaning of the tattoo came from. So you will understand how to apply your drawing skills in a tattoo. Well, watch YouTube, there’s a ton of information that you can use for free.
I am developing my Instagram and developing a YouTube channel in Russian and English
a little. I hope someday I’ll get my millionYoutube