One day, about 9 years ago, when I was still studying graphic design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, Marcin Surowiec called me. It turned out that a friend of mine, who was tattooed by him at the time, showed him my portfolio of illustrations on the web. Although we didn’t know each other, Marcin asked me a question that radically influenced my further life. He asked me straight out if I would like to learn to tattoo. I had no idea about tattoos at the time, but I agreed (out of pure curiosity) and soon I went to his studio to show him my other drawings. Marcin was the first to show me the world of tattooing as I see it today – as a full-fledged field of art and creative expression, which previously I associated only with hideous, retarded tribals, demons and skulls. It was then that I began to discover the first names of artists from around the world and realized how diverse the subject of permanent drawing on human skin can be approached. During the first year, I deepened my theoretical knowledge, analyzed works of newly met tattooists and sometimes watched Marcin at work. About once a month I had a chance to tattoo one of my friends. It was the beginning of my learning this craft. After the first year of such preparation, I worked for some time in Rock’n’Ink studio in Krakow and then I started tattooing in my own studio in Katowice. Then I realized that tattooing can be my profession and way of life.
Such an event is probably impossible to forget. It was a simple oak branch on the calf of my friend Michał, who, with his dedication at that time, allowed me to practice tattooing skills on live material. I remember that although Marcin was watching over me, I was so stressed that I could not control my trembling legs. After calming down my nerves, everything went quite smoothly and we completed the project successfully. It was, as it turned out later, one of the most important events in my creative development. After that event, I saw this tattoo many times, fortunately, it’s still ok and I have a lot of fondness for it 🙂
Since the beginning of my adventure with tattooing I used only black. My style is a mix of neo-traditional, dotwork and blackwork. I am heavily influenced by abstract art, surrealism, op-art and tribal art. I often use symmetry to create geometric, unidentified structures, but I also often create more figurative motifs based on surrealist portraits or images of plants and animals. In recent years, my portfolio has started to include a lot more non-representational, more graphic tattoos. I base my compositions mainly on strong contrast of light and shadow. When designing I rather moderately choose the number of elements, but I really like to search for different graphic textures and patterns.
I believe that everything around us can inspire us, if only we look at it in the right way. I try to draw inspiration from the widest possible spectrum of art, both contemporary and ancient. Every day I meet artists who dazzle me with their works, both classical and experimental. Pinterest and Instagram, as well as any books and albums related to art, science, and biology, are an endless source of impulse that spur me on every day.
There are many of them. In the age of online ubiquitous inspiration, it’s hard for me to pick someone I admire in particular. Social media is now a bottomless pit when it comes to learning about the work of tattoo artists from around the world. However, I try not to let tattoos and illustrations dominate my inspiration. I try to maintain a balanced variety when choosing materials that influence me.
Do you have any memorable tattoo story or a customer that has stuck with you through all the time you have been tattooing?
Over the past few years, many people have passed through my studio. There is a story associated with each of them. Some of them are much more colorful than others and certainly will not be forgotten, but I would prefer that they remain between me and my patients 🙂
Is there any art form that fascinates you also except tattooing? Maybe do you have any other passion or something that you really enjoy doing?
My second project, besides tattooing, is an experimental project called Cosmodernism (https://www.instagram.com/cosmodernism). It is my hobbyist creative initiative, which turned from a harmless activity into a phenomenon that currently consumes most of my free time. In short, it is an artistic audiovisual project based on the exploration of abstract form, both in the material and sound dimensions. I base my search mainly on microscopic observations, although I try not to limit myself to this one medium. I conduct experiments by initiating various, often accidental, chemical reactions, which I then record in the form of photographs and films. Recently I have also been exploring the secrets of sound experiments, which have become an integral part of the project. I invite you to check out these weirdness on my instagram! 🙂
I rather avoid tattoo conventions, preferring to work in the privacy of my one-man studio. In the last 6 years I have exhibited twice – once in Katowice, where I live and work, and once in Krakow. As a visitor I have participated in several other events, mainly as an opportunity to spend time with friends with whom I am not in touch on a daily basis.
I often forget that it would be fun to get a new tattoo. I usually remember it once every 1.5-2 years and then I do 3-4 new tattoos sometimes. I approach it quite spontaneously and have no serious plans. I wear designs from the entire Pajęczyna studio – from Bartek Wojda, Marcelina Urbańska, Mateusz WLK Wolski and Łukasz Sokołowski. Besides, I was tattooed by Marcin Surowiec, Sławek Nitschke, Yadou, Monika Malewska, Oliwia Daszkiewicz, Robert Borbas aka Grindesign, Lipa, Mariusz Trubisz, Crazy Lessi, Kris Cieźlik, Martin Jahn and Barbe Rousse. However, my favorite tattoo was made by Jakub Mokrzysiak.
I don’t really look that far ahead in terms of plans. I hope that I will be able to continue to develop both of my projects without any problems. I feel that my experimental activities have an increasingly strong influence on my tattooing. I hope that maybe in the next few years I will have the opportunity to create, in the form of tattoos, a larger number of bolder abstract designs. But rather, I let things unfold by themselves at their own pace. Everything in good time.
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