Artists: Robert Borbas
Dark Art Tattoo
How did you get into tattooing?
I had a solo exhibition at a venue in Hungary and the owner of Dark Art Tattoo, Zsolt Sarkozy, visited the event. After a long conversation about art in general and my work for bands he asked me the question: would you like to start tattooing? I was speechless. He is one of the pioneers of the Hungarian tattoo society, so it was more than humbling that he offered me this chance. I hesitated for 8 months, so in late July 2012 I got myself together and decided to hit him up and make my first tattoo. I asked a good friend of mine to be my first victim. He came up with the idea of an undead medusa head. I remember every single line of that piece. The guys at the shop helped me to put the machines together, make everything clean and proper, and after that I started tattooing. It was hard and honestly I approached it like drawing, but onto a different canvas, this is definitely not how it works. After several months I started to do some research, ask more, and sacrifice everything to become a tattooist.
Your technical approach in blackwork is really rich and different from most of the artists that chose that style. You do a good amount of large scale pieces and they have great composition and depth. Can you explain your approach on this style of tattooing? What drew you to pursue such elaborated work using only solid black ink?
When I started tattooing I did loads of color work. I loved it, but all of a sudden I started to do only black/black and grey tattoos. My theory is, basically if you turn every kind of picture into black and grey, the contrast and depth is way deeper and stronger. A perfect example would be a tree with all its wonderful textures, leaves etc. It’s gorgeous in color, but in black and grey it shows its rough and natural look. This is how I see all my work and try to reproduce this effect. The flow, textures, and grandly effects. I’m not saying that what I stated is the law, but if you think about it, it makes sense. Also, lines are super important for me to structure a nice and flowing composition, which never ends, but connect and live together with your body. For me that’s the best and the most beautiful part of working in black and grey and approaching large scale works. I’m also always open minded for palm size pieces, but because of the complexity and the personal connection of the project sleeves, fronts and in the future finally bodysuits are the closest to my heart. I’ve started to put more grey wash, soft tones to my works to widen the complexity and detail in my works.
Was this the style you’ve always wanted to do? What type of tattoos where you doing back when you started?
When I started I loved neo-traditional, realism, Japanese, everything (laughs). I’m inspired by every kind of tattoo style, but I try to avoid looking at tattoo artists’ work everyday. I follow loads of illustrators, painters, comic book artists, urban and underground brands and stuff. I did pretty much everything, including trash polka, it’s not my cup of tea but I respect the style. I once tattooed an old t-shirt design I did upon a customer’s request. I think that was the point when I knew I had to incorporate that style and rework it to make it “tattooable.”
If you had the freedom to do any tattoo, what would it be?
I would love to make the circles of hell into a bodysuit. Some other biblical themed tattoos, or even just stuff that comes out of my mind when I’m just doodling. I spent eight years in a Catholic school, and even if I do not agree with the Catholic Church, I respect religious people, because I’ve met some super nice and hard working people I can look up to. That is the reason I’m inspired by some religious topics and I love to read about all of its imagery and different theories.
What is your creative process when you are about to design a tattoo?
I do some research collecting reference pictures, even taking some and trying to mix and change it into my own style and give it a twist. If it’s necessary I read about it, even if it’s a special animal, for example an oriental cat. I had never heard of this species. Then a customer asked for it and I was mind blown. How they look, act, where is this breed from etc. I love this part.
What or who inspired you in and out of the tattoo world back when you started tattooing?
My main source of inspiration is Mother Nature. I’m impressed with all the structures, textures and wide range of beauty it offers.
Do you practice any other art medium? Art related projects?
I wish I could do it more, but I love to paint and work on personal inkings. I would like to do lithographies and etchings again. Hopefully I can make a nice schedule in-between tattoo work, to work on these personal pieces, making exhibitions and the most important, loads of limited prints. I’m in the middle of putting together an art book, including my sketches, never seen works, close ups of tattoos and loads of in progress shots I have never published.