Artem Naumenko, also known as Arty, a tattoo artist based in Berlin, shares insights into his journey from self-taught artist to renowned tattooist, revealing the evolution of his style from graphic art to delicate floral designs. In this interview, Arty discusses his inspirations, travels, and aspirations within the tattoo industry, offering a glimpse into the creative process that defines his craft. Join us as we delve into the world of tattooing with Arty, where each design tells a story and every stroke is an expression of artistic passion.

When and why did you decide to become a tattoo artist?

- I have always been an artist, teaching myself how to draw throughout my life. I was introduced to the world of tattoos in 2012 while studying in college. The art form was gaining popularity in my country, and I was drawn to its appeal. I decided to give it a try and tattooed my friend at home. I was very nervous, but the result was better than I expected, and I found myself enjoying the process. That's how I stumbled into the tattoo industry.

Tattoo artist Arty

Where do you work now?

- I currently work in Berlin, having previously worked in Hamburg. My journey started in Kyiv.

Tattoo artist Arty

Is tattooing art, a job, or something else for you?

- To me, tattooing is primarily an art form. I genuinely love what I do. I'm always seeking new designs and motifs. The exploration always keeps me motivated. So, it doesn't feel like a conventional job in that sense.

Tattoo artist Arty

Your tattoos look damn juicy! Tell us about the evolution of your style. Where did you start and how did you come to floral graphics?

- Thank you, I appreciate that. You wouldn't believe it if I showed you my earliest work. When I started tattooing, I decided to focus on black and white. I was very interested in graphic art and dot work. These elements were present in my work, but the motifs were completely different. I would say they carried a lot of meaning. Before drawing something, I would research the subject extensively and develop a logical sequence. It sounds complicated, but I experimented with many different styles. Over time, I realized I wanted something lighter, more natural, and timeless. That's how I shifted to botanical designs, and I still enjoy the process immensely.

Tattoo artist Arty

Besides flowers, what subjects are close to you?

- I have a fascination with snakes and birds, and I love combining them with flowers. I enjoy rendering tiny details on snakes' scales or soft feathers on birds' wings. It's like meditation for me.

Tattoo artist Arty

What do you find inspiration in?

- Travel inspires me the most. I absorb the experiences like a sponge and then retreat to my drawing tablet. I interpret the emotions I felt while exploring into my art. Besides that, I find inspiration in other artists. There's always something new to learn, especially when you work in one of Europe's largest studios.

What is the most important aspect of tattooing for you?

- The most important thing is the quality because people wear my art on their bodies for a long time. I want to be proud of my work years from now.

Tattoo artist Arty

Do you travel a lot for work? Where have you been? Who have you had the opportunity to work with? Can you share a particularly significant experience?

- Yes, I have traveled extensively. I've visited almost all the popular cities in Europe. Currently, I have a few favorites because of their atmosphere and the friends I have there. Barcelona, Paris, and Amsterdam are probably my top choices. I've met numerous tattoo artists during my travels. They're all fascinating and unique individuals with their own approaches to the craft.

Tattoo artist Arty

We've seen you among convention participants many times. Tell us about your experience and results. How many awards do you have? And which ones are the most significant for you, and why?

- I participated in the "Tattoo Collection Kyiv" convention in Ukraine as part of a studio. I've also attended several conventions in Europe. One was the "Tattoo Weekend Dusseldorf" in Germany to meet other tattooists, and another was the "International Brussels Tattoo Convention" in Brussels, where I won first place. That was a great experience and a confidence booster. I plan on attending more conventions in Germany and possibly London this year.

Have you had collaborations with other artists?

- Yes, I've collaborated with many Ukrainian artists while living in Kyiv:, Mafupoke,, kostaink, and a few others. I've also collaborated with European artists such as Rigueinglez, Elena.noir, Sashafoteev, and Gio.tatts.

You are a member of the Pepax Pro Team. What does this sponsorship mean to you? Are you able to influence the tattoo industry through this collaboration?

- I've been working with Pepax Pro for about a year now, and they're a great bunch of people. They're expanding and entering new markets every year, and their products are excellent. So, yes, I believe they are making a significant contribution to the tattoo industry, and I'm happy to be a part of it.

Tattoo artist Arty

How do you assess your popularity? And in your opinion, how can it be measured?

- This is a difficult question for me to answer. I am quite humble about it. However, I can say that on a few occasions, guys from Korea have asked to take photos with me. It was really sweet. They said that I am quite popular there. My Brazilian friends have also told me that I am quite popular in Rio and that many artists look up to my work and take them as a reference. A few of my friends in Germany have mentioned that random people have complimented them and recognized my work. So it seems like I am somewhat known. But I prefer not to talk about it too much.

Tattoo artist Arty

Many successful tattoo artists strive to share their acquired experience. Tell us if you have any such activities in your life and for whom they are.

- When I opened the studio in Kyiv, I had a few students. It was quite an exciting time for me. I enjoyed being a teacher and a mentor. Lately, I have been thinking about creating something like online courses or workshops. I have not made a final decision yet, but I really want to do it. I believe that I can help many artists in this style find answers to their questions and improve their technique. So that is in the pipeline.

Tattoo artist Arty

What do you find most appealing about being a tattoo artist?

- I love to create. I adore it when people come to me with complete trust and we create beauty on their bodies together. I love seeing the happy faces at that moment. I feel like I am on the right path. I like the fact that I feel free in many aspects of my work. It feels like a dream job.

Do you have any work goals and plans for the near future that you want to achieve?

- I have mentioned the online courses and conventions already. But I am also thinking about doing some contemporary projects with interesting artists. It would be great to have an exhibition of my work in a gallery at some point.