Artists: Samuel Potucek
What year did you start tattooing?
I started tattooing immediately after leaving high school in 2009.
How did you get into tattooing?
When I was at elementary school I began to draw on my forearms with marker pens instead of learning. Basically, I wanted to do tattoo since I remember, but real tattoos came to my life during high school, when I started visiting one tattoo studio to sit there on a couch. It was enough for me to be happy. After leaving high school I started with true tattoos. I didn’t earn much money for it, so I had to steal my first machine. But also bad things can help, huh.
What is the tattoo scene like in Bratislava?
Here in Bratislava there is a big boom of establishing tattoo parlors these days, I think. Guys find out that this is a straight way to earn easy money, but they forgot that they should know how to do tattoos at least well. My only hope is that these things will not ruin the entire market. I know we have very gifted and skilled people here.
Do you have any special training?
Maybe I have some kind of “special training“ because I studied school to be a professional jeweler. And that means fine precise work, where you need tons of patience.
What conventions have you done recently or are planning to do last year?
I love conventions. It is the only place where I don’t feel different from others, and the others probably see and feel the world the same way as me. I was in Milano this year and I really love it there. High quality artists and a lot of people. I also visit Bucharest often, there is a great friend of mine John Maxx and we have a lot of fun each time…it is more relaxed. This year I also made it to London convention—one of my dreams came true. Just being there was like winning it. My next plans are Barcelona, Roma and Paris.
How do you go about preparing your designs before tattooing?
I prepare pictures from primary photos, which I customize in photoshop. In fact, I prepare whole work, also the details, but also improvisation during work takes place. It is really individual. I try to make things like artist – it is about feeling and you can feel it only in that moment, so it is about it.
Tell us a little about your use of color—how did you develop your style of seamlessly melding multiple colors together? Are you ever afraid that the colors will bleed into each other over time, or is this something you take into account as you tattoo?
It is hard to describe my own evolution. I remember that I started to think about how does color work under skin and how I should put layers onto them, that I can cover them. I think that I am in a phase of improving myself and I don’t consider my style and way of tattooing finished. It never will be. If I should say something about technique, then it is that the basis of my work is the overlaying of colors. Some people do tattoos with one layer and they don’t return to that area; for me the opposite is true. I splash colors throughout them.
When do you find yourself working in black and grey? Going by your Instagram, which may or may not be in chronological order, it appears as if you binge on black and grey from time to time.
I treat social networks like a presentation of my work. Or, better yet, of what I want to do. That is why I put out mostly full color tattoos, I want people to want them. But I do like black and gray and I actually do it more often than full color. What an irony. It is more relaxing for me because it is much more simple.
What are some of the major subject matters you like to tattoo?
My favorite thing is portraiture. I am doing it whole life. I can leave feeling and human character in the picture. For many artists this is the hardest thing, for me it is the easiest and I really enjoy it. I need only to complicate it, for example hair, jewels, lights and shadows and so on—I see myself in details such as these. I like realism so much.
What inspires you as an artist?
The greatest inspiration is to leave something that will last long after me in this world. The only way to do this is through art. With it I can be special and demonstrate my art. I appreciate this very much and I am thankful that I had this opportunity, because not everybody has it.
What sets you apart from other artists?
My approach and way of thinking. I feel tattoo in the nature of art. Everyone is trying to be similar to Nikko Hurtado and others famous artists. For me, it is essential to not be similar to anybody. That is what makes me different from others.