Mashkow speaks on his signature graffiti style and working on collaborative tattoos
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When did you first pursue tattooing as a career and how did you grow to become the artist you are today?

I started tattooing in 2011, while I was studying in Russia. My friend brought over his tattoo equipment and asked me to finish this piece he had done. So, I just tried and it was a long journey of discovering a new world. A year ago, I started doing my graffiti faces. Before the Philadelphia Tattoo Convention, which is the biggest tattoo show on the East Coast, I needed to create something new that had never been done before. So, I just mixed my favorite things into one tattoo. Now my style is portraits, but with graffiti and a bit of creepy imagery. I chose portraits because I am an portrait painter, graffiti because I love hip-hop culture from the ‘80s and ‘90s, and creepy because I love horror. My style has grown a lot and it just keeps on growing.

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As a tattooer who uses street imagery in your designs, have you done any graffiti work and what inspired you to incorporate it into color portraits?

I used to do graffiti, but it was mostly for fun. I never did anything serious, just vandalism. But graffiti has always inspired me and favorite artists to date is PichiAvo.

Where do you find references for the women you use for your designs?

It depends on your taste. I use real portraits for the base, but I always change it beyond recognition. I usually search for reference photos on Google, but sometimes I find them on photographers’ social media pages and I’ll ask if I can use them for my sketches.

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When you hear the phrase, “The future of tattooing,” what comes to mind and how do you see yourself fitting into it?

Every year, tons of new tattoo artists rush into the industry and move down the older generations, so I think the future of tattooing will be very interesting. There will be fewer lions, pocket watches, or angels, and more unique styles. I see myself doing well because I have a lot of new ideas to show.

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What has been your favorite city to travel to for your work?

I love New York because it’s a very atmospheric and varied city. Street art is very developed here and New York has interesting people who understand my style.

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What are the pros and cons of doing a collaborative tattoo and who do you hope to work with in the future?

It’s a very interesting experience and there are no cons. I have few a artists in my mind that I’d like to work with, but I can’t tell you because it’s a secret.

If asked, would you tattoo graffiti on a real person’s face, and why?

I’ve actually thought about this many times. I would say hell yes, but the person getting it must be 100% sure that they want it.

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Where do you hope to be in one year, five years’, and ten years’ time?

I hope to be doing all of my favorite things, specifically painting and tattooing.

What’s up next for Mashkow and what can our readers look forward to seeing from you in 2019?

I plan to concentrate on painting this year and to create new graffiti faces.

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