The human body is Sasha Masiuk’s canvas. When approached with a project, she assesses every person as an individual and analyzes them to create a design that is harmonious with their unique form. Her process isn’t a matter of copy-and-pasting a drawing onto the client’s body, but an opportunity to give them a permanent piece of art that was supposed to be there all along. We sat down with Masiuk to understand how she came to love ornamental tattooing and what she aspires to create in 2020.
What was your upbringing like in Ukraine and how did you become a tattoo artist?
I was born and raised in Ukraine, but I developed as an artist in Russia. I was a self-learner and my path started when my husband bought me a tattoo machine. I started learning and practiced on my friends and myself. By trial and error, as it usually happens, I established my style. After the first attempts I understood—this is it! I knew that I wanted to create something special and unique, without repetitions, with every tattoo I designed.
When you first started tattooing, who were your favorite artists?
Who are some of your favorite artists today? I started tattooing when I was 21 and drew a lot of inspiration from the Western artists, such as Thomas Hooper. His dotwork and mandalas helped me decide that this was the style I wanted to work in.
My most recent inspiration is Black Prada. We collaborated on a project and his work was such a pleasure to observe. He turns the human body into a canvas and works with large areas, creating striking designs with scale and accuracy.
What inspires you to create tattoos with delicate lines and shading?
What kind of clientele does your work appeal to? I just like how they look. I do my best for it to be natural and harmonize with the body— both in shading and in form. My designs appeal mostly to young women, as they are tender and feminine, but I’m always ready to try something new.
Do you prefer to work on a large or small scale?
To be honest, I prefer larger scale tattoos. It’s hard when people start with something small and then want to continue filling a sleeve. I make every tattoo, even the small ones, complete, so it’s hard to add something to them. That is why I like working with big projects over several days.
What do you hope to tattoo more of this year?
The first thing I’d like to do is to work in my own style. That’s why I love the American clientele, as they come to get tattoos specifically from me. I get the opportunity to do what I like and give them advice, change ideas and fantasize. I would also love to have the opportunity to work on more big projects.
When you’re not tattooing, what do you enjoy doing?
I’m usually spending time with my family. My son is 3 now and I love taking him to the ocean for long walks.
How do you hope to expand and grow your tattoo shop?
We have just moved to a big studio in downtown Los Angeles and I work there together with Nora, my colleague. We have several stations reserved for guest artists who travel around the USA. They are always welcome at our studio, we are glad to meet new people.