Artists: Alex Gotza
Dirty Roses Tattoo Studio
Apelloy 4, Navarinou Square
54622, Thessaloniki, Greece
+30 2310 227217
What year did you start tattooing?
I started working in 2002 in a tattoo studio as an apprentice for almost two years, studying and taking my first steps in tattooing. I always wanted to be involved with the tattoo scene, and the opportunity came to me by a friend who became my first tattoo teacher.
How did you get into tattooing?
At an early age in my life I was trying to learn to draw, and when I was almost 12 years old I got a spray can and began making graffiti—that lasted about 15 years. Tattooing was a childhood dream that started to come true after a difficult period of my life with some family problems. Then, as I said, a good friend who needed an apprentice in his studio gave me this opportunity to make my dream come true.
What was your first shop experience like?
I started in a small studio, in the middle floor of a building with a very comfortable environment and with more privacy.
Do you have any special training?
No, I didn’t get any special training. The only thing that I remember is my personal efforts to learn things about drawing and graffiti, nothing more. I was just a kid with the ambition to learn drawing and put color all around me.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards? What are some of your best convention memories?
I have gone to several tattoo conventions around the world, most of them in Europe, and I had my first convention in Taiwan a few months ago. I have won some awards, but for sure that is not my only purpose. The most important awards are the new people that I’m meeting at all of these conventions—the artists that you can talk with and exchange ideas concerning our common love with, and drink some beers with at the end of the day. I can’t remember something exactly in particular as the best memory, because all of the conventions have too many things that I would like to remember.
How do you describe your style?
Until now, I think I have worked in many different styles of tattoos because I didn’t have the opportunity to focus on a specific style. I’ve also worked on Asian, even Polynesian tattoos. But now I finally have the choice of making more interesting and fun tattoos from my point of view, like black-and-gray realistic designs, comic and color themes. And the most fun part for me is that most of the people coming to me are coming to me for some of my personal style designs, which are more of a new traditional style. The most important thing is to like the design that you’re working on—in this way you and your client will have more fun and the best result for sure.
What inspires you as an artist?
For me—and for many other artists, I suppose—I get inspiration from several kinds of things and arts, from other tattoo artists and drawers of tattoos, from music and literary books, even from our daily life.
What sets you apart from other artists?
I don’t know if something sets me apart from other artists, but the one thing that sets us all apart from other people is our personality.
How have you branched out from tattooing?
The business itself is sort of branching out from tattoos. It’s taken a lot of personal efforts all these years—and my business partner, the amazing artist Kostas Tzikalagias, has taught me so many things. Our studio, Dirty Roses, has just been established in the last four years. Our coworkers help us as much as they can. They are the most important reason that I have branched out from tattooing, through business.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
I like and respect a lot of artists, new and old, from several styles in the tattoo world. Right now there are so many great artists with amazing works we can see through the internet. But the ones I admire most are the ones who are very good at their work and who have a low profile. They give all of their love to tattooing.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I want to evolve my art and hope to have the opportunity to make many kinds of tattoos with new ideas and perspectives, but only the ones that I like to do.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
When we made Dirty Roses, one of our thoughts was to make only tattoos that we will like to make and those that we will have fun making, because even the simplest tattoos are better when they’re made with pleasure. The only advice that I can give to people who want to get a tattoo is to think of a tattoo that they like, to search for the right artist who makes the style of tattoo they like. And also to listen to their artist, because most of the time the artist knows better.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
Yeah, for sure. There are a lot of tattoos and ideas for tattoos that I would like to make—even those that I’ve already done—and many more that will come in the future.