Egor Kubrak didn't always dream of becoming a tattooer. For a while he was planning on becoming a designer. While in college he picked up a tattoo machine for fun, and, as they say, the rest is history. We spoke with Kubrak about his journey through the tattoo industry, the book he is planning and much more.
Tell us about your journey in the tattoo industry.
I started doing tattoos for fun during my second year of university. I studied to be a designer and initially tattooing was just a hobby for me. I tattooed my friends and classmates, and they paid me. After I graduated from university, there was a moment I thought about my future when I realized I didn't want to be a designer. I rented a studio space in Vladivostok and decided to teach my friend all the basics of tattooing that I learned myself, and that's how I opened my own tattoo parlour. A year later, we rented the whole floor in the center of the city and hired a team of tattoo artists. A couple of years later, I organized a tattoo convention in Russia, and started actively traveling all over the world to explore the culture. Then, I moved to Moscow and while I worked there, I received a job offer to work in the United States.
What attracted you to New York?
The United States is a land of great opportunities, and New York is the center point of all these possibilities. There are many interesting people and creativity in this unique city that I have never seen before, and I am incredibly grateful for the chance to work and accomplish my goals here.
Why did you choose Hustlers Parlour to work?
I also was wondering why they chose me (laughs). The Hustlers Parlour crew is a professional team of outstanding artists which I am happy to be a part of. I constantly learn from the experience of my colleagues and continue improving my skills. As a Hustle Butter Sponsored artist, I always have access to the best tattoo products that I loved to work with in Russia, so this very quintessence of motivation and resources that help me push myself forward.
What are your strong points as an artist?
I always try to find a personal approach for every client. It is vital not to just Xerox what the client brings as an idea, but to create a unique project that will amuse clients through the years. Also, I always strive for a good heal. I use quite an intense contrast in work so after the healing process the tattoo will not look faded.
What pitfalls have you experienced along the way?
One of the main obstaclesI experienced was when I managed my own tattoo studio. Everyone should be in their own spot but I spent all of my energy on making the studio work and ran everything myself. For several years, it was hard for me to grow as an artist, because of my constant administrative and organizational work. I was afraid to delegate and I simply burned out. But this mistake taught me a lot. Now, I am completely focused on my creative development and I consider it to be the right decision that gives me a lot of joy.
What are your plans for further development?
I am very passionate about the culture of tattoo conventions in the U.S. But unfortunately, in 2020, due to the coronavirus, I didn't have a chance to participate in any, but now I'm ready to come off to the fullest (laughs). Seriously, it's an awesome experience: you can see how other masters work, meet new people, travel the country, and push your limits. I want to grow as an artist and exhibit my paintings at an art gallery. I have a dream of creating comfortable and functional work-clothes for tattoo artists under my brand. I also plan to publish a book about the tattoo art field.
What an ambitious plan! Tell me about the book that you plan to write and what it is about?
Actually, everything is ready to go. Currently, we just need to edit it and finish the book illustrations. So, it's coming along nicely. This is a book for people who are interested in the tattoo culture. Basically, it is for beginner-level artists. I realized when I was learning that there was not much of a source of information on tattooing and everything I learned was random. I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about needles, like info on what needle groupings were and what they were used for. I couldn't find information on how to tune machines, or how to practice tattoo techniques. I learned from making many mistakes. So, I would like to help beginners to learn the tattoo art correctly without using outdated information.
Name the artists who most inspire you?
There are so many different Artists working in Realism who have, in my opinion, an excellent technique and vision. Among them are Sasha O’Kharin, Dmitriy Samohin, Levgen Knysh, Jakub Hendrix and Walter Montero. The list goes on and on, there are too many to name them all.
How do you describe your style and what equipment do you use at the moment?
It’s simple, I love realism in all its forms. I used to work in black-and-grey mostly. I felt this was very harmonious on skin, but now my opinion has changed and I’m actively doing more color realism. As for equipment I am currently using Hustle Butter Deluxe, this works the best for me and helps me work longer hours.
For machines I have had a lot of experience with many different coils and rotaries. I am currently using the Spectra Xion and for now it completely suits me. For pigment I am using World Famous.
What advice would you give aspiring tattoo artists?
Try to not only develop your Tattooing skills. Expand your horizons and travel more. Being witness to all the world has to offer is very important for creative development. Personality and knowledge will influence your individual style.