Artists: Kobay Kronik
FRESHLY INKED: What year did you start tattooing?
KOBAY KRONIK: In late 2007, after I had done my military service.
How did you get into tattooing?
I met some tattoo artists as a teenager and since I was very much into drawing and painting, it really caught my attention. I sort of started to learn from them and eventually started to actually do tattoos.
What was your first shop experience like?
It was challenging; managing a shop and doing tattoos at the very beginning can be difficult, but it was a very good experience that taught me a lot about the backstage of the business and the art itself, since I always thought of it as pure art.
Do you have any special training?
No, I don’t have any training in terms of artistic education.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards? What are some of your best convention memories?
I attended the Bucharest and lasi conventions [in Romania] and won these awards: first place best of realistic, first place best of color, first place best of day, and first place best of show. It’s not so much about any best memories, but it is very exiting to get to work with such talented artists from all over the world, to see them in action and to see their completed art.
How do you describe your style?
I do realistic tattoos. My style is realistic, meaning that I like to portray my art as it is in reality. I like to create an impact, and that’s what I try to do with my style.
What inspires you as an artist?
Nature inspires me; I love everything about nature and animals. I guess when you live in the city among all those buildings, you kind of aspire to be in nature and enjoy all the colors like greens and blues. All of those details are very inspiring to me.
What sets you apart from other artists?
I don’t know that yet; I still don’t think that my style is completed yet. I still have to learn and try a lot of things.
What other mediums do you work in?
I don’t work in other mediums, really. Tattooing is what I do, and all other mediums related to the arts are more like a hobby rather than anything else.
How have you branched out from tattooing?
We could say that I have branched out into photography, as it is an extension of my style. I like the saying “that tattoo actuallylooks like a photograph.” Other than that, I’m into oil painting, and I actually started working with a very good painter who teaches me a lot in the field, which in turn improves my skills as a tattoo artist.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
Artist like Den Yakovlev, Tomasz Tofi, and Dmitriy Samohin.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
Chest tattoos. They are definitely challenging, and it’s a good space to work on.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
Are you sure? Look, this is your last chance!
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
I still don’t have a “back piece.” I’m just curious what all I can do with a back piece.
What was one of your favorite pieces to tattoo?
There are many pieces that I like but I guess I have to say that I really, really love doing animal tattoos, so I guess those are my favorite ones.
What is the tattoo culture like in Turkey?
The tattoo culture in Turkey is still quite an underdog. It is not yet seen as an art, except by the people who are into it. But in general we can say that the perception is changing step by step; people are starting to realize that there is more to it than “just a tattoo.” But there is still a lot of work to do. We as tattoo artists need to take it to the next level and actually show people that it is an art.
Is it different than tattoo culture in Cyprus? Why did you decide to leave your tattoo shops in Cyprus and move to Istanbul?
There is an important difference with Cyprus, since it’s such a small place and the tattoo culture is not as spread out as in Turkey. That’s the main reason why I decided to move to a big city where the tattoo culture is more evolved. And I wanted to improve myself and learn from other artists and people who have been in the tattoo industry for years. Istanbul was, and is, a good platform for me to perform my art and to get the recognition for it.