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Interview. Alexander Oberov

Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov / Photo: @oberov.tattoo

Often, we talk about tattooists who have already made their name, but this time, we will talk about a person who is in the most active phase of his career.

Alexander Oberov, a Moscow-based tattoo artist who has boosted development of his career in several years on the path to the highest professional and creative growth. Just yesterday, Alexander, worked in the quiet walls of a Moscow studio, and today, he is invited by the most prestigious artistic groups from around the world, he becomes a member of the jury and collects prizes at international tattoo conventions and festivals.

In this interview, we will try to find out what helped him change his life and try to learn about his plans for the future.

- Hello Alexander! In the beginning of this interview, please, tell us a little about yourself. How and when did you decide to do tattooing?

- Good day! My name is Alexander Oberov. I was born and live in Moscow. I interested in tattooing as a teenager, when I followed the fashion and tendencies of my environment - graffiti, hip-hop and extreme sports. I believed and believe today that all such directions are built on creativity, self-expression and freedom of action... and this is what is exactly necessary for ambitious teenagers. My direction for the most part was associated with graffiti and I loved bombing... But my passion for adrenaline brought me to the not very pleasant stories. Having a little thought later, I decided to go to the tattoo shop and get myself a significant tattoo. And when I sat at the session and looked at the whole process, I was so surprised and inspired by all of this, that I even forgot about the pain... In my head was spinning one thought: «Why do I paint on walls and trains, if I can also do it on people?!» After that by an advice of my master I bought the first tattoo machine built by a Russian builder and began to looking information from everywhere... web-forums, videos and literature. Arrived home with my purchase I immediately told my mother that I would become a tattoo artist and she called me a fool (laughs).

Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia

- Have you thought about any other career?

- I could not live without «freedom» and was very energetic, that's why creativity is exactly what I needed. At the same time I was busy by graffiti, photo and video shootings, and also tattooing. But I liked this dynamic and in all these fields you can make money. But after some time I understood that the tattoo is more interesting to me.

- What does the word «tattoo» mean to you?

- For me, the «tattoo» is just decoration - a «bling». But if it's making for the whole life and due to it is building the «style» of a person - it must be unique and high quality. From this point is arises needing for development, both technically and creatively.

- Do you remember your first customer and your feelings when you took a tattoo machine in your hand for the first time and started making your first tattoo?

- Of course I remember (laughs). It was very funny and scary at the same time. Because I did a tattoo to my friend, with whom at least I had needed to continue communication (laughs) With trembling in my hands, I made him his girlfriend's name... crooked, but I warned him (laughs).

Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia

- Let's talk a little about your art. How did you come to realistic tattoo and why did you choose this style?

- I have tried to work in all styles, but seriously thought only about realistic tattoo. I was sure that this is a top style... . this is the most difficult thing that can be in a tattoo. Just ask any newbie or customer (laughs). That’s why I’ve always moved in that direction. I looked at the top artists and dreamed to achieve their skills.

- What are the main features of your art, you can identify by yourself?

- I love contrasts and volume due the using of deep black, as well as the «scaling» and dynamic. I find it difficult to say how I differ from others, but everyone tells me that I have a style... And I never copy other people's works.

- Where do you get inspiration?

- I am inspired by the creative atmosphere. You can feel it everywhere if you just have a good mood and atmosphere around. In the studio with colleagues, on a motorcycle, listening to good music, watching a cool movie or when just the sun shines and everything is fine (laughs). For motivation I try to communicate with more successful people from whom I can gain useful experience.

- Which of the modern tattoo artists do you consider worthy of being called «the best» and to whom, maybe, you are look up?

- I respect many artists... I used to try to be equal to some of them, but now I want to become myself. I want to be an artist... . and an artist is only like himself. These thoughts were more influenced by communication with Carlos Torres and with all the guys from his studio «The raven and the wolves», when I visited them six months ago. They have a very strong team and a very creative atmosphere!

Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia

- Do you participate in collaborations with other masters? Can you tell us more about the most interesting and significant collaborations for you?

- I have never participated in collaborations yet, but there is a desire to try it.

- Often, in collaborations, masters work with someone from a different style in order to create something exceptionally unique. So, who would you like to work with?

- I would do something interesting with realists... for example with Matt Jordan, Carlos Torres, Michael Perry... But also, I think, I can make something with someone who do lettering, for example the Mayonaoze, abstract graphics like doing Artemijs Saveljevs or Jay Freestyle , or something urban like Mashkow, Shanko. And this is not the whole list…

Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia

- Where do you work now?

- I work in Moscow. In the studio Pont Royal.

- Tell us about your typical working day.

- The workflow is always about the same... preparation of designs, workplace and most importantly, psychological preparation of the customer for the session)) Especially if the person gets the first tattoo. This is a big step and a very close contact, so trust and support are simply necessary. But in general, since different people come with different projects, thank God, I do not feel a strong routine.

- Who are your customers? What do they do outside of the tattoo shop?

- I love my customers. Most often we have a good relationship. Some have even become friends! I always open to all my clients, and always want to do the best for them. I am sure that's why they open up in response. The prices of my art are not the cheapest, that's why my auditory, in most cases, consists of successful people. How can it not be interesting to communicate with successful people? (laughs) Every new meeting, I hear new stories about events from various areas of their activities. Some of them are in the art, others are in business, third state employees, etc…

Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia

- As I know, your career started rapid grow is about 2-3 years ago. What was the catalyst for this?

- I had a rapid growth from the very beginning, since already from the 7th or 10th of my tattoo I went to work in a tattoo shop... but, unfortunately, I was stuck there for 4 years, thinking about money, but not about creativity. And only from 2014, when I left this tattoo shop, I began to think about my own name and creativity. And little by little everything went as I wanted.

- You are traveling a lot around the world. Are there any features of an attitude to the tattoo in Europe and the USA?

- Yes, I often travel abroad to show myself there. I am invited to conventions and studios. I guess I was lucky that good studios and other good artists notice me... I have not experienced any problems abroad. At least, because if you are invited, you will be respectfully received and everything will be for your comfort. I also got a very nicely experience with the owner of the studio «The skull museum» - Nic Westfall. Nick not only organized everything perfectly for me, he also wanted to get a tattoo from me, and in my one of the last days in the USA, I tattooed him a whole shoulder (laughs)! For this he flew from Sacramento to Los Angeles when I was already visiting in another studio. If we'll talk about the features of people, then it will be very long conversation... each country has its own mentality, fashion, etc., but I noticed that the more sun people have, the more positive they are (laughs).

Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia

- How is extensive your tattoo geography. Where have you already been and where are you going in the near future?

- I only visited Europe and the USA. In Europe, there were many places... . I try to plan trips of a length at least of 1 month, and I try to capture more places as I can. In the USA I visited Sacramento, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York... . It's just a small part of these places! In Europe, there are a lot of countries and cities that I want to visit... and in the US even more! And in general, I have a dream to drive through all of America on my favorite Harley Davidson!!

- Are there countries where you are always ready to return?

- I always ready to return to those who I liked! And this is probably almost all the places where I was), but California is still on the first place, since my last trip there was probably one of the brightest... and the one after which I began to think more about my own development.

- Are you a frequent visitor of international tattoo conventions? Tell us about your plans for 2019. Where can we see you?

- Yes, I'm visiting tattoo conventions, and now I'm trying to get more such events. From the lastest… I have been at a major convention in Las Vegas, in November… well, you probably heard about it… In February, I was invited to the convention in Verona, Italy, as a jury member. I also have the same invitation to another convention in Bolzano, Italy, in November of this year. I also have plan to be at conventions in New York, Los Angeles, Mexico. But about Moscow this year - I not sure. Recently I received a Canadian visa… so I will discover new country for myself…

- How do you rate your popularity? And how do you think, how it can be measured?

- I find it difficult to rate myself correctly, because I always try to criticize. Let other people rate me.

- Ok. I would like to know more about you, not only as an artist, but also as a person. What else do you do apart from tattoo art?

- I love to travel... I love to leave home to start to miss it later. I really like motorcycles Harley Davidson. My hobbies are photo and video shooting. I also love music because it instigate my imagination…

- Do you shoot videos by yourself? In which genre are they and where can they be viewed?

- Yes, I shooted video and photo, reports from events, backstage and weddings. Unfortunately, my video-related accounts in social networks are long gone, so I can’t show you my works... Since I became a professional tattoo artist, it’s just a hobby and more asossiated with photoshooting. In the past few years even for this I don't have enough time. Although, recently, my old friends from «blackscreen.pro» asked to shooting the backstage for their project with Dima Bilan (Russian famous singer). It was exciting and fun, because I hadn’t done it for a long time. Hopefully in the future I will have more time for some artistic shooting.

- What about musical / movie preferences? How do you spend your free time?

- I am a music lover. I can really listen to everything, depending on my mood. But more often it hip-hop and rap. As for movie, I always like action movies or movies with beautiful graphics or something to thinking… but mostly my attention is focused on montage and cinematography, as I interested in the film industry…

Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia

- How do you see the future of the world's tattoo in the next 5-10 years?

- The tattoo industry is developing very fast. In addition to the active development of technology, I see that many manufacturers are trying to develop the industry at the level of medical safety. For example, last year in Las Vegas was a convention dedicated to security in the tattoo industry. The initiator was the manufacturer of pigments Intenze - Mario Barth. He decided to create a security coalition in the tattoo industry. This is deserve praise! And by the way, the selection and registration process there was the toughest, from what I met before. This event was supervised by the Department of Health, it was necessary to obtain the license of tattoo artist of the Nevada to be allowed to participate. And I was very glad that I could take part in this event. It was very useful and interesting! Also the laser technology is fast developing. It is already became easier to remove an old tattoo without scars and up to 100% of the result. So, looking at such progress, I understand how much this fashion can develop among people - to adorn themselves with tattoos. I am sure that soon we will stop thinking about any difficulties and the time of active creativity will come.

- Are you a member of any Pro Team? What do you think about this trend? What do you think it gives the artist?

- Not yet. I had several proposals from manufacturers, but the projects were not implemented because we did not reach an agreement on the terms of the contract. But if there is any interesting proposal, I will gladly agree. I take this positively, cause this is a great opportunity for joint development.

- Do you prepare any personal events: masterclasses, art exhibitions, etc.?

- Once I spent a couple of modest masterclasses, but now there are a lot of other plans. If such a desire reappears, I will certainly organize something!

- Will you tell us about it?

- Together with one of Moscow studio, I conducted several master classes on color and black and white realistic tattooing. Perhaps for the studio it was a commercial project, but for me it was a rewarding experience.

Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia

- Now, in addition to master classes are actively developing schools for tattooists. What do you think about this trend?

- It is difficult to have some definite opinion to this, because people are different and they all have different goals. But if experienced artists are involved in it - this is really cool. For example, Andrei Kolbasin - an excellent artist and he is involved in the right thing. After all, not only the novices, but more than expirienced artists come to him!

Or if this is a commercial story, from the series, when a studio or artists who do not know how to do anything, suggest: «pay $200 and learn how to earn $1500 per month» it's ridiculous... but somewhere it’s really scary, just figuring what are they doing with the industry and how «educating» artists and customers.

- And finally, what advice can you give to novice tattoo artists?

- Most importantly, respect yourself and others, and approach everything with your head. Always think about the health of the customer and yourself... sterility is very important, and overall cleanliness has a good effect on the opinions of clients. Decorate customers, take care of them, and grow the industry in the eyes of other people... It means that you have to think not only about making money on the big number of cheap tattoos, but about the quality of work and your personality. It is better to spend more on yourself and your experience by attending drawing courses in order to «shoot up» faster. This way you can show your real level and attitude to your work, and customers will be ready to pay just to get a tattoo from you.

- Thank you very much, Alexander, it was very pleasant to talk!

- Thank you too!

Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia Tattoo artist Alexander Oberov, color and black and grey realistic tattoo, an excluzive interview on iNKPPL.com | Moscow, Russia