Introducing Radion Zinyatov - a talented tattoo artist from Kazakhstan, whose name has become known in the world of tattoos thanks to his unique and creative designs.

Utilizing cutting-edge technologies and machine learning methods, he creates truly unique and innovative designs. The combination of human creativity with the capabilities of artificial intelligence allows him to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in the world of tattoos.

Additionally, Radion shares his amazing adventures, from his first trip to Turkey to his work in Europe and North America. Let's find out what ideas and inspirations led him into this captivating world of tattooing, and how he adapts to different cultures and mentalities during his travels.

Radion, tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you choose the path of a tattoo artist? Where and how did your career begin?

- My journey into tattooing began in my childhood, in the small town of Temirtau, in the Karaganda region, which is located in the center of Kazakhstan. My parents noticed my interest in drawing, and at the age of 11, they enrolled me in an art school, specifically in the art department. There, my interest in visual arts grew stronger, fostering a love that would shape my future path. 

Тату мастер Радион Зинятов

Five years later, I graduated from art school while simultaneously completing the 9th grade of secondary school. I had no doubts about my next steps. I was preparing to enroll in college to study design. It was during that short period between school and college that I got the idea to try my hand at tattooing.

I was intrigued by tattooing as a new tool and medium. At the age of 16, I had already dabbled in oil painting, sculpture, and graffiti. The idea of tattooing was just another way of expressing myself artistically. That's when I got my first Chinese equipment, experimented on friends and relatives. My parents provided immense support in my beginnings, for which I am very grateful.

It was the year 2011, and there was very little information about tattooing on the internet, and you could count on your fingers the number of people professionally engaged in tattooing in Kazakhstan. At that time, it was still exotic for us; essentially, tattoo culture was just beginning to emerge. I managed to find a tattoo artist who, in a couple of weeks, gave me the necessary technical knowledge for a confident start at that time, and I began tattooing gradually at home while simultaneously studying in college.

Тату мастер Радион Зинятов

At that time, there was only one professional tattoo studio in the whole area called "Azart," which I joined in my second year of tattooing. The founders of the studio, Alexey and Vitaliy, took me on as an apprentice. I drew a lot and learnt from experience. I successfully graduated from college and continued to pursue tattooing.

Tell us about the tattoo scene in Kazakhstan. How extensive is the tattoo community? Are there any particular features?

- At the moment, tattooing in Kazakhstan, in my opinion, is at a very high level and continues to rapidly gain momentum. We have many artists, and there is a concentration of talented masters working in completely different styles, and they do it very well. Festivals are already being held, and artists are invited for working visits to many countries around the world.

Compared to 2011 when I started, there has been tremendous progress. I especially note how some of the artists incorporate Kazakh national ornamentation into their tattoos. This is something truly new in a global sense. It inspires me to one day try to incorporate such ornamental forms into my work.

Тату мастер Радион Зинятов

Tell me about your journey. Why did you decide to leave? Where have you been already? Where do you work now?

- I didn't make the decision to leave Kazakhstan permanently. Moreover, I periodically return there. My family, friends, and people who are waiting for my arrival to get another tattoo are there. Tattooing has given me the opportunity to see the world, and I accepted this opportunity with gratitude.

My first journey related to tattooing was a trip to Turkey 6 years ago. That was also my first experience working in another country, after which I felt the desire to move forward. After Turkey, I spent some time in Moscow, where I collaborated with Igor Terentyev, whom many know as Proff. Igor became one of my mentors, sharing a wealth of tattooing experience with me. I still adhere to the fundamental principles of tattooing that I learnt from Igor, which helps me to do clean, quality, and stylish work.

In 2020, during the pandemic, like many, I spent time at home in my hometown. By the end of 2020, I received a job offer at a tattoo studio in Europe, specifically in Poland. And then came the contract, visa, and flight. While working in Poland, I traveled all over Europe and even visited France, in Paris. It was a tourist trip where I met masters from local studios, walked around the Louvre, got inspired by paintings, street art, and returned to Poland. 

Тату мастер Радион Зинятов

I really enjoyed working in Poland, and I think I would have stayed there longer. But after six months, I received a new job offer in North America - Canada. After some thought, I agreed. The process of preparing documents was quite long and complex. I even improved my English with teachers to pass the IELTS language exam.

For me, the opportunity to travel is one of the main values ​​in life. I am interested in visiting countries not only as a tourist but also living there for some time. Stepping out of the comfort zone, adapting, immersing myself in the local, new culture for me, creating my comfort there, and moving forward. However, Kazakhstan is still my home, where my family is. And it is very important for me to return there every time.

Now I live and work in Canada for almost a year. This is a completely new experience for me. I really like nature, work, and people here. I live in a beautiful city surrounded by mountains, a lake, and warm weather. This place is one of the sources of my inspiration.

Тату мастер Радион Зинятов

Do you think the mentality of the population in these countries differs from what we're used to? If yes, how? Where do you feel most comfortable working?

- Yes, the mentality noticeably differs. And the farther from home, the stronger the contrast feels. In Canada, as in North America as a whole, I assume that the tattoo culture has a longer history than in Kazakhstan, for example. Therefore, in Canada, people tend to be somewhat more casual about tattoos, in terms of deciding to get one. There's a feeling that tattoos here, if not on every other person, then on every second person (laughs).

Quite often, people come for tattoos with their families on the same day. I rarely saw this back home. Also, here, many people love American and Japanese traditional tattoos. For many, it's classic. In my country, the majority of people prefer more modern styles, although there are also enthusiasts of traditional tattoos and skilled artists who do it well. It's just that, in my opinion, they are noticeably fewer. Another noticeable difference in mentality is the expression of emotions. "Our people" are more emotionally restrained when accepting the result of a finished tattoo. Although this is by no means an indicator that they like the tattoo less and does not negate their sincere feeling of gratitude. It's just that it seems that the mentality of people in Europe or North America is expressed more emotionally

Тату мастер Радион Зинятов

I try to create my own comfort in my work, regardless of the location. So, the level of comfort of working in the countries I've been to doesn't differ. And in all the places I find myself, I can see positive aspects in both work and people.

How would you characterize the current style of your work? 

- Good question. I periodically ask myself that. In general, I work quite often in different techniques and directions. But in most of my work over the past couple of years, you can notice common similarities that create certain boundaries. Perhaps it is these that define the style. 

Considering that my works most often feature natural-realistic objects and images, outlined in clear contours with empty (negative) lines and spots that are justified by their placement on the human body, and sometimes you can notice double exposure, then my works are at the intersection of some realism and illustration. Well, or surrealism. Let it be called that (laughs).

Тату мастер Радион Зинятов

What unique features do you personally highlight in your work?

- I haven't conducted any general analysis of my work for a long time, and I have never personally highlighted any specific features in them before. By default, I try to make my work better, more complex, and more interesting each time, allowing myself to experiment with new compositional and other artistic solutions.

If we talk about features, then I can probably highlight the desire to harmoniously fit the image into the anatomy of the human body so that the tattoo emphasizes the direction and forms of the muscles, as well as the striving for cleanliness and accuracy of execution. In general, I think that some features in my works are more visible from the outside.

Тату мастер Радион Зинятов

What themes do you like the most?

- I have always been interested in themes that revolve around female characters, portraits. I also love floristics, animals, and birds very much. Well, and the combination of these objects interests me. I also want to add more abstract forms and elements to my work.

Tell me how your projects are born. Do you often work on client ideas or your own?

- Design development for me is the most challenging part of tattooing right now. It's more difficult than the process of applying the tattoo because it's primarily a mental process, contemplating meanings, images, and composition as a whole.

In almost all cases, it's based on the client's idea. It may not exist initially, or it may be unclear or raw. Discerning the client's desire in a tattoo is also part of my work. I can expand on this idea more broadly, add secondary meanings from myself, and visualize it.

Тату мастер Радион Зинятов

Since my tattoo designs are based on realistic fragments of images (photos), with the advent of artificial intelligence, searching and selecting material to create a design has become significantly easier, faster, and more effective.

There is an impression that I am one of the few at the moment who extensively uses neural networks in my work. Although I am sure that it will take some time, and most masters to varying degrees will use AI.

There is an opinion that AI kills creativity. What do you think about this?

- I don't think AI kills creativity. It's more of a tool that helps. Just as tattoo artists once massively started using graphic tablets (iPads), which greatly simplified and shortened the time in creating sketches and designs, neural networks have also come into our work.

It is important to understand that at present, artificial intelligence will not come up with any truly new and interesting idea. At the beginning of the design process, I often already have a clear idea of what I want to see in the result. And then it's about formulating the prompt (query) correctly for the neural network, which will output what I have already seen in my mind. With a clear understanding of the perspectives, character, light, and color of the desired image, a sense of composition and style, the neural network will become a useful tool. But no more. At least not now.

Тату мастер Радион Зинятов

Do you have favorite projects? Or works that you're truly proud of?

- I see moments I like in absolutely every tattoo. I have many favorite projects, usually they are quite large tattoos where I had the opportunity to fully express my artistic skills.

Healthy self-criticism deprives me of a sense of pride; from project to project, I strive to do better and more interesting each time. Maybe there are only two moments when I can feel a fleeting feeling similar to pride in my work. But it's more like joy.

The first is when I've just finished a tattoo and see a cool result, and the second is when there's a chance to see a person with the tattoo already healed, to see how organically it fits into their anatomy and personality, to see how proud they are to wear it.

Тату мастер Радион Зинятов

What is the most attractive thing about being a tattoo artist for you?

- The most attractive thing in my profession is, of course, meeting new, completely different people. Almost every tattoo is a separate interesting story. I really appreciate that people trust me to express themselves through tattoos. And, as I have already mentioned before, what attracts me in tattooing is the opportunity to travel, to explore this world. These are the two main attractive aspects. 

Тату мастер Радион Зинятов

What is the main goal of your journey? Share your plans for the future.

- I have several main goals at the moment. The first is to make as many cool tattoos as possible, to stand out with new and interesting works. Second, it is to help people through tattoos, to cover up a failed, old drawing or to camouflage a scar. If not to help, then at least to give the person more confidence. I try to think not only about the tattoo as an image on the body, but also about the feelings and emotions it gives to the person.

There is also the goal to continue my travels to the most beautiful and interesting places on our planet. And to continue developing my skills, myself. To move towards the "better version of myself".