Today's featured interview guest is Olga Kotova, a talented tattoo artist whose delicate botanical masterpieces on skin have won the hearts of thousands of women around the world. Her artworks seamlessly blend botany and graphics, creating a unique interplay between precise lines and gentle hues. In this interview, we delve into the story of her tattoo passion, discover how Olga assists people who have undergone traumatic experiences to overcome emotional pain and regain their sense of self. She shares her sources of inspiration, emphasizes the importance of client trust, and recounts captivating tales from her professional practice.

Tattoo artist Olga Kotova

Let's begin with our traditional questions: tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, and what were you doing before tattooing?

- I was born and spent most of my life in Russia, in the Siberian city of Tyumen. After finishing college, I moved to Moscow due to my husband's job, and after two years there, we relocated to Berlin. My journey into tattooing started six years ago when I was 20. At that time, I was attending college, pursuing a degree in animation artistry. Prior to entering the world of tattooing, I worked as an administrator in automotive showrooms and beauty salons. Additionally, I freelanced in designing business cards and corporate branding.

Tattoo artist Olga Kotova

What led you to tattooing, and how did your career in this field begin?

- As I said before my path into tattooing began during my third year of college. My husband expressed interest in getting a tattoo and asked me to design a sketch. This sparked my curiosity about the tattoo industry in my hometown. An acquaintance from my class introduced me to her friend, a tattoo artist. That's when I started immersing myself in the world of tattooing. Initially, it was more of a fun hobby – I tattooed bananas, spent time in tattoo studios, and engaged in this enjoyable activity with friends.

Tattoo artist Olga Kotova

Your portfolio primarily features feminine botanical tattoos. Why did you choose this direction for yourself? What particular aspects of your work would you highlight?

- I didn't immediately come to female tattoos. At first, I did whatever people asked for. Among them were tribals, skulls, and popular lions with crowns (laughs). However, I didn't feel inner satisfaction from these works, and it was only by studying the creations of other artists that I began to understand what truly appealed to me. Over time, I realized that delicate floral tattoos truly attracted me the most, and I started to try doing them myself, which received a positive response from my clients.

Tattoo artist Olga Kotova

At the beginning of my career, I mostly worked with black tattoos, but over time, my love for color led me to the decision of experimenting with colorful elements. This is how the style I currently work in was formed. My uniqueness lies in the technique of my works, where I use color overlay to achieve transparent, delicate, yet readable pieces that can be easily recognized.

Tattoo artist Olga Kotova

You often combine botany with graphics. Tell us what attracts you to this combination?

- In reality, it's quite simple – I enjoy how it looks. The blend of precise lines and delicate floral forms, especially when paired with color, strikes me as truly beautiful.

You frequently work on scar cover-ups. What do such projects mean to you? How does the lives of your clients change after a session? Share a few stories.

- For me, scar cover-ups offer the chance to help someone feel confident, no matter how clichéd that might sound. Some individuals struggle to accept their scars, and I'm glad to provide assistance. I recall a case where I covered a burn scar on a woman's leg, one she had acquired during her childhood. She had spent her life avoiding short skirts and dresses, only wearing swimsuits with a long skirt to cover her legs. After our session, the first thing she did was schedule a bikini photoshoot, and it was truly remarkable. Finally, she began to like herself in the mirror. In general, I have many stories like this. After a session, people always express their gratitude, and later, as I observe them (sometimes checking their social media profiles), I see that they no longer conceal their scars and wear clothing that doesn't hide their arms, legs, and more.

Tattoo artist Olga Kotova

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

- Being a tattoo artist to me is about freedom – the freedom to earn well, travel, and shape my life according to my desires. Freedom matters to me, and my profession grants it to me. I'd label it as a job, as I receive payment for my tattoos and work with people, but it's a job that has become my life. I wouldn't want to be anyone else, and I'm content engaging in what I do.

Tattoo artist Olga Kotova

What holds the utmost importance in tattooing for you?

- If we're speaking of tattooing as the final product, it's crucial to me that my client loves their tattoo. Their happiness in wearing it is perhaps the most vital aspect.

Do you prioritize the client's idea or your own in your work? How does the concept for your tattoos come to life? Where do you draw inspiration from?

- For me, the client's idea takes precedence, as they are the ones who will wear the tattoo. The client shares their concept, and I propose how to bring it to life and suggest improvements. I assist in refining the idea, leveraging my experience, to achieve a beautiful and harmonious tattoo. Occasionally, I create freehand sketches that I'd find interesting to execute, and if the client is unsure, they can find inspiration in my projects. I draw inspiration from the world of flora and fauna, as well as finding it in the works of artists and illustrators.

Tattoo artist Olga Kotova

Do you have favorite tattoos, clients, projects, or any exceptional stories in your career?

- I can't single out specific favorite tattoos. Each project is my creation, and I pour all of my craftsmanship into each one. However, I do have some particularly memorable projects, usually large-scale tattoos like sleeves or back pieces. One of them stands out especially vividly. We depicted two mythical creatures – a griffin and a dragon – on the body. This project was completed in four sessions, which, in my opinion, is quite fast. It was the most extensive and memorable project in my career.

You travel a lot. Where have you had the opportunity to visit? Which country has had the most influence on your creativity?

- Over the past two years, I've embarked on numerous journeys and even relocated to another country. My first guest spot was in Germany. I visited several cities and explored Belgium and Norway. During my free time, I traveled to Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and other countries. Among them, Germany has perhaps had the most influence on me since I now call it home.

Tattoo artist Olga Kotova

Do you attend tattoo conventions? Share your experience.

- I find tattoo conventions more appealing as a guest than as a participant. The conditions at conventions typically aren't the most comfortable for working. However, I enjoy attending, interacting with colleagues, and observing other artists.

Tattoo artist Olga Kotova

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

- It's quite difficult for me to measure my popularity, as I don't consider myself an outstanding master. I'm aware that I create high-quality tattoos, but I also understand that I still have room to grow. The key factor for me is the trust of my clients. I see positive feedback about my work, people from different countries book appointments with me and look forward to meeting me. I sincerely appreciate this and strive to further develop myself.

Tattoo artist Olga Kotova

What's most significant in your career as a tattoo artist? What goals have you set for yourself? Could you share your creative plans for the near future?

- For me, the most important aspect of being a tattoo artist is the opportunity to continue growing and improving. My main goal is to always provide clients with high-quality and unique tattoos. I also aspire to establish my name in the industry and share my knowledge with colleagues. In the near future, I would like to actively showcase myself, including participating in interviews, like this one for example. I am also interested in collaborating with other artists. Overall, I strive to present myself and my creative ideas on a wider scale. Currently, I don't have a specific action plan, but I am confident that everything will evolve gradually.