For the most part, tattoo artists avoid doing coverups at all costs. Why? Well, they're super challenging and present many limitations. In order to be deemed a successful coverup, it must cover the tattoo underneath in its entirety. However, this isn't as easy as it may seem. Creating a successful coverup doesn't just mean making a big, black blob, it's about crafting a new tattoo that doesn't look like a coverup in the first place. You shouldn't be able to look at a coverup and know it's a coverup, it should just look like a badass design that was supposed to be there all along.
Not only does Kamil Mocet accept coverups, he embraces them. He loves the challenge of a tough coverup and has found success with his top secret technique. We caught up with Kamil to learn why he's gravitated toward coverups, what makes coverups a challenge and what are some of his most memorable coverup jobs.
What was the first coverup you did and how did you approach it?
I've been tattooing for over 20 years and did many coverups at the beginning of my career. It wasn't until last year that I learned and mastered a new technique allows me the tackle the worst cases. One of the first coverups I did using my new approach was a skull to cover a tattoo that I did years ago.
What makes coverups a challenge for artists?
I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, I was thinking too much about old piece and that was pretty destructive. So I learned to ignore it, but that’s only with the worst ones. For light tattoos, I don’t even consider those as coverups.
How do you approach doing coverups today and do you have any secrets?
This one I will keep to myself, I don’t plan to share that at the moment.
What do you wish clients knew about coverups?
I don’t like to take them through the details because every coverup is challenging to some degree. The less they know, the better. I like to surprise them in the end.
What tattoos/styles best suit coverups?
It’s hard to say, I don’t do any other style than my own and it works for 99% cases.
Take me through some of your favorite coverups that you’ve done?
I had a client send me a picture of a whole chest/front piece that he wanted to cover. Honestly, I don’t freak out seeing the tattoos I have to cover, but this one has me like, "WTF?!" I showed the photo to my wife and she’s like, "No way you're gonna cover that!" Because it was such an extreme coverup, I really want to do it and help this guy. So we did it in three sessions and now, you can’t tell what's was underneath.
Have you been approached with a design that can’t be covered up?
I've had a few, but I still do them or at least try. I'm really determined to take on the work that no one wants. I get hyped because it’s so challenging and I love seeing people's reactions when it’s done.
How does laser removal impact your work as a coverup artist?
Laser actually helps a lot, just two sessions can make a huge difference. If you brighten up the black, I'm good to cover up pretty much anything.
What’s one of the funniest, weirdest or strangest tattoos you've covered up?
One of my friends had a tattoo of a bunch of little faces from "Star Wars." That shit was from the 80s for sure.
What makes a coverup successful?
The most important thing is that when it heals, you can't see what's underneath.
What are the rules of doing a coverup?
There are no rules, it's one big experiment at the end of the day. That's why it's so exciting.
Do you have any coverups on your body?
Yes, most of the tattoos on my arms, torso and ribs are coverups. It's a shame I don’t have a twin brother, that would help to get something in my own style using my technique.
What’s your dream coverup scenario?
A dolphin jumping above a butterfly, so that I can destroy it with a skull. Honestly, something faded would make my day so much easier.
What else should people know about coverups?
As an artist, stay away from them if you don’t know what are you doing. It would look so stupid to seen your attempt of coverup get covered by me, becoming the “Before” picture.