Artists: Petra Hlavácková
What year did you start tattooing?
I bought my first machine when I was 17, that was around 2007. I studied art in high school, and later while attending university, so I did not have much time for tattooing other than on my friends on the weekends. I started with tattooing properly after I came to Prague, almost 3 years ago.
Did you have a formal apprenticeship?
Yes, I was lucky enough to work with Peter Bobek and Ernesto at Bobek Tattoo.
You are located in Prague, how are tattoos accepted in your community?
Tattoos are in fashion in Prague, people love to get tattooed, they give you free hands, and are open to new ideas. On the other hand some people are stuck in the middle ages and still think it’s only for criminals.
What is the tattoo scene like, are there many shops and artists?
We have so many original tattoo artists in my country, who are going against mainstream, and pushing borders of tattooing every day. People are starting to see tattoos as kind of art, because a lot of students of art schools are buying equipment and becoming excellent tattoo artists. I would say there are a lot of shops there but only few are good ones and I see that each studio raises its own tattoo family and these families live their own creative process.
What style of tattooing is the most popular?
Realism, neo-traditional, dotwork are popular. Blackwork is also becoming very famous now. A lot of people want abstract work, which is great; people are becoming more open to any new ideas. Watercolor style is very popular in my country. I don’t do it anymore, because it became so popular.
What other countries/states have you visited and tattooed at?
I especially like to work in Berlin, Paris, London, and Sweden, but every country has something special. I enjoy every opportunity to do guest spots around the world. It’s important for my mind to change location as often as possible, so I don’t get lethargic. I love to observe other cultures and learn as much as I can from other people and their life experiences.
How are they similar and how are they different?
I find that my artwork attracts mostly similar customers around the world. Culture or behavior is different, but I think we are all same. The difference between continents is that, to me, the United States has more breathtaking nature and European countries have an interesting culture scene.
Outside of the Czech Republic what is your favorite country to visit for work?
My dream place to work is Australia. I went there once and I fell in love with everything there. I feel that I belong there.
Your designs are very painterly, where do you find your inspiration?
I take lots of inspiration from observing the real life, from people, places, also nature is very powerful source of inspiration for me. Music is also big influence for me, it creates interesting moments which influence the result of a creation. Thanks to the music, I sometimes find myself in a sort of trance while drawing. I also take inspiration in a spiritual way, from my dreams, meditation, and unconsciousness. I’m fascinated by the return to basics, where the tattoo had a ritual, magical or healing function, so sometimes I’m inspired by South American shamans. I need time to meditate on each design. Ideally, I need one month of drawing and thinking for one week of tattooing. From my design style you can see exactly who I am, because I put everything into it.
What other mediums do you work in?
I love to work in a wide variety of art fields such as audio/visual art, painting or drawing. I do animations, which I’m using to connect music and visuals. I do projections and VJing for audio/ visual projects or electro bands. This medium makes me see my artwork in totally different way. What I find in different kinds of artwork I can insert into tattooing and it keeps me inspired and constantly evolving as an artist.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I would like to do more black and grey abstract stuff on people who see tattoos in the same way I do, as a powerful tool and unique way to reflect ones self-transformation. I strive for a higher purpose with tattoos, connecting with them as a different form of art. I try to make every tattoo special, and have it represent the client’s state of mind or show their values, ideas, capture some important things, and feelings from their personality. That’s what I really look forward to.