Artists: Andrey Barkov
FRESHLY INKED: What year did you start tattooing?
ANDREY BARKOV: I started doing tattoos in 2009.
How did you get into tattooing?
I always liked tattoos, watched photos of tattooing on the Internet, read different forums. And one day I thought that it was the time to act. I bought my first tattoo machine.
Where did you apprentice?
Nowhere. I asked for help from masters whose work I liked. I wrote letters, watched videos, read forums.
Do you have any special training?
No. I did not attend any kind of special training—I have no art education. Actually, I am a system programmer—I graduated from the University of Applied Technology.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards?
I’m not a frequent visitor of conventions, been only to a few in Russia. I’m afraid of big crowds. Consequently, I did not get awards. The most important thing is that people like my work. I get feedback, letters from different countries, and this makes me very happy.
How do you describe your style?
I would like to call it realism, but it turns out not like realism. Probably some kind of pictorial realism.
What inspires you as an artist?
I find inspiration in the images created by nature. Traveling, cities, architecture, visiting museums. If you look closely, you can see the genius of creation in any subject. For example, look at the cabbage—it’s a real organic [example of art].
What sets you apart from other artists?
I really would like to believe that my style of work is recognized, to be honest.
What other mediums do you work in?
I love to paint in oils, but unfortunately, I do not have time for this. Still, I would like to paint more. At one time I was very fond of creating computer graphics, 3-D modeling, samples of which can be found on my website.
How have you branched out from tattooing?
I dedicate a lot of time to my family, walking with the daughter—her name is Lisa. We love to travel to historic places, go to exhibitions and museums, eat delicious food, drink good beer with my close friends.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
I probably will not be able to list all now. I have always admired the work of Den Yakovlev, Kathy Mikky, and of course Dmitriy Samohin. As for foreign artists, it is of course recognized artists such as Cecil Porter, Nikko Hurtado, Joshua Carlton, Markus Lenhard, Liz Cook, John Anderton, and others.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I would like to develop my own style and do more portraits and realism.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
Be careful choosing a master. Do not take ill-advised, not-thought-out decisions. It’s always difficult to correct.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
I have only been tattooing for three and a half years, so there is a lot of interesting work that I look forward to doing. I want to make a huge ant’s head, making a complete back piece.