Artists: Alex Arnautov
What year did you start tattooing?
How did you get into tattooing?
For a long time I was working as a shoe-designer at my father’s custom-tailoring firm. One day I was drawing a sketch for the next shoe collection, my brother saw it and said that I could be a good tattoo artist. A few days later my friend and I made our first tattoos. I saw then that it is not as difficult as it looked before and decided to try. It seemed to work out.
Where did you apprentice?
My studying began from one visit to an experienced master who told me only how to prepare the work place and what the differences were between the needles. After this I began my self-education, watching famous masters’ videos and reading bits of information on the Internet. After a lot of totally free practicing on my friends, I thought that I could try to move on.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards? What are some of your best convention memories?
I have participated in conventions only three times. They all were in different cities of Ukraine. Once I won the first place for the ornamental competition. As a prize I was given the induction machine. By this time I had completely moved to the rotors, so I presented this machine to my friend. Since then I have had no desire to participate in such events because of the huge crowds of people where a lot of dust with bacteria is flying in the air. So I do not think tattooing at conventions is hygienic, which may be dangerous for people.
How do you describe your style?
Traditional styles with a long history and profound culture always attracted me. In the beginning i tried a lot of styles, but with greater joy I worked over ornamental and graphical things. Because of this, as well as inspiring other masters’ works, I came to sacred geometry and dot-work. These styles allowed me to make more detailed and complex work. More motivation and the impulse to progress brought the fact that very few Ukrainian artists ever tried to work in this style.
What inspires you as an artist?
My biggest inspiring source is nature with its proper lines and shapes, proportion and harmony of the different plants and biological structures. I enjoy constructing exact compositions and symmetry. I admire [M.C.] Escher’s works, perhaps the most impressive genius whose art showed us the world beyond perception.
What sets you apart from other artists?
I guess nothing sets me apart from those who are working very hard to grow over themselves. Everybody is moving forward, some faster, some slower, but it’s nice to see others progress in their work.
What other mediums do you work in?
Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to work over the huge number of ideas I have. Now I’m launching a series of machines for the dot-work and preparing the sacred geometry and mandalas art book. But everything is moving very slowly, as the development of sketches and their application takes a lot of time.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
Thomas Hooper (saved Tattoo) showed me how beautiful mandalas could be. In fact, since I saw Hooper’s works, I started my sacred geometry research. Roxx (2Spirit) is striking with her massive and laconic but complex works. Gerhard Wiesbeck impressed me with great composition in his epic works. With Mark’s (Little Swastika) works, full of harmonious untidiness, I started introducing my own black-work and dot-work.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
Steeper than the last!
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
Think twice before you get a tattoo.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
I’m happy to immediately embody such kind of tattoo projects. It happens very often. unfortunately, some people with interesting projects disappear for a long time. By the time they come again I usually lose my interest.