Photo above by Kamila Burzymowska

 

Piotr Olejnik


 

How long have you been tattooing and how did you start your tattooing journey?

 

The beginning of my story with tattoos took place when I was still in middle school, in the late 90’s, so over 20 years ago from now. It all began with the first tattoo that I got. A person who did it was, safe to say, less than a professional. At that time my friend, who was dreaming of getting a tattoo, saw the ink that I got and suggested that I have the abilities to do a better job at tattooing than the person I mentioned before, since I had always been sketching or drawing instead of paying attention during classes at school. He decided to make some tattooing equipment on his own and put me in charge of being the “artist”.

 


 

Do you remember what was the first tattoo you did? If so, tell us what it was and for who.

 

My friend actually kept his word and managed to make a homemade tattoo machine. I agreed to do the inking. He was dreaming of a tribal on his calve (at that time tribals were still very popular). To be honest the final result was better than we expected, even though my mate was screaming his lungs out the entire time. This experience made me consider following the path of becoming a tattoo artist. He rocks this tattoo to this day, considering it’s like an old school artifact. 

 


 

Please, tell us about your current tattoo style and how it has changed over the years.

 

I have always fancied surrealistic style. I can say that it has been my main style throughout my career as a tattoo artist. I always aspire to get as close to perfection as I can. When it comes to the evolution of my artwork, I notice the progress all the time. I’m always trying to learn and add new technical nuances to my works. For the past few years I’ve been using a few 3D softwares, which enabled me to create interesting compositions, especially with the use of digital sculpting. It allows me more than anything else to operate with lightning. This really reflects on details of my tattoos. 

 


 

Does anyone or anything inspire you?

 

For years now my main inspiration was painting, I definitely found the most role models in this branch of art. My number one painter is undisputedly Zdzisław Beksiński. He is a polish surrealist painter, but I don’t think he needs any introduction. I love tattooing his works, especially since they usually make for perfect composition in tattoo art. I think I have transferred to the skin more of his art than any other polish tattoo artist did. An honourable mention would also be Tomasz Alan Kopera, another polish painter that I’m sure will gain as much fame as Beksiński. 

 


 

Are there any tattoo artists who are extremely admirable to you? If so who?

 

Back when I was just starting tattooing there were only a few worldwide known names, those were people who inspired almost everyone. At the beginning of the XXI century polish scene started to grow rapidly and tried to catch up to western standards. There were a few artists who started to make their name on the european stage, their works have definitely impacted my approach to tattooing. One of them is Sebastian „Gonzo” Abramczuk, who introduced colour into his works. Since the first time I saw what he could I wanted to make just as incisive tattoos. Another artist that focused his style on innovation was Tomasz „Tofi” Torfiński, who was one of the pioneers of the use of digital 3D art in tattooing. I also love the works of Robert Hernandez or Dmitriy Samohin. I honestly can’t name them all.

 


 

Do you have any memorable tattoo story or a customer that has stuck with you through all the time you have been tattooing?

 

There are a lot of stories that definitely would entertain you but I’m sure my clients would not be too pleased seeing them published, so instead I’m gonna tell you about my friend Roman, who has quite an unorthodox taste in tattoos. When we first spoke, he had part of his space-themed sleeve already finished, so I’ve prepared some suggestions assuming we were going to continue his arm in such a manner. He did not like any of my propositions however, and to my surprise he suggested that we add a cow to his composition. Well, he didn’t have to talk me into that idea for too long, and we ended up with a cow in space. Next time we met we continued with an intergalactic animal farm and added a pig with a classy foaming saliva coming out of its mouth. Lately we’ve been tattooing his leg in all kinds of virus’esque and bacterial shapes ,(before it was popular!), so as you can see Roman still doesn’t disappoint with his ideas. I just may add that he works as a veterinarian, before you think he’s a little over the rainbow, for him those motives have a lot of meaning, and I love that.

 


 

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? 

 

As I have mentioned before I have always been fascinated by painting. I’m also trying to paint whenever I have some free time to spare. Lately however the main form of art, besides tattooing, that I put my efforts in is widely recognized as digital art. Three years ago I started my adventure with ZBrush, and with time other softwares have joined the party. I use 3D software in my everyday work because of the growing popularity of tattoo patterns based on digital art. Almost unlimited creative possibilities of that art form amaze me. My free time is very limited, so when I’m not doing anything creative I try to stay active, rollerblading or cycling, but still I enjoy a good book or TV series. 

 


 

Do you like visiting or exhibiting at tattoo conventions? Would you recommend any of them?

 

I’m definitely a fan of tattoo conventions, I have participated in these for years and that topic brings a lot of good memories. Right now I’m considering taking part in some smaller, but still prestigious conventions to feel the old school climate, when you could have a chat with all the artists and take a look at their works. One the most unforgivable conventions I took part in was definitely in Nepal. After the event I stayed there for another month. Kind folks, who organised the convention showed me how does everyday life look like in Nepal.

 


 

Any artist you planning to get tattooed by? Who has tattooed you already?

 

I guess I don’t have much space left on my body to work with, so I’m not planning on getting tattooed right now. Big chunk of my body is covered by the works of already mentioned „Gonzo” and „Tofi”, but also „Prykas” and „Junior”. Some of my latest tattoos were made by Levgen Knysh, who is one of the new artists. When you would think there’s not much left to add to tattooing art, new faces are showing up and contributing something fresh every year.

 


 

What are your plans and dreams? If you think about yourself in 10 years, what do you see?

 

I definitely want to exhibit what I’ve been creating in my free time. In 2020 I had two expos of my digital work scheduled, (but then the pandemic happened), so I hope those will take place in 2021. I’d like that form of art to be my domain, alongside tattooing. I also hope I will have enough time to commit to painting much more. I have a few ideas how to develop my tattoos style that I’m working on now, and I sure hope those will be appreciated. Ten years from now I would like to see myself as an artist who expresses himself in many forms.

 


 

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