Interview. Anjelika Kartasheva - the secrets of success
The tattooist from Rostov-on-Don (Russia) - Anjelika Kartasheva, makes a real sensation in tattoo industry, first on Russian arena and then on the international one - striking everyone with her determination, concentration and the highest level of works, whose highly appreciated by the judges at the tattoo events around the world.
73 awards at 11 conventions and festivals! Just think about how colossal her effectiveness is!
We were visiting Anjelika in Rostov-on-Don, in her home studio - The Fabrik 13, where we tried to learn more about her, her creative path and the secret which makes her so successful in the modern tattoo industry!
- I would like to start with our traditional question: Why the tattoo? Tell us a little about yourself and how did you come to this profession?
- The moment of origin of the thought about this - most likely happened after I already got a tattoo to myself, and a year later I went with my friend, again to the shop, as support. It was on second or third year of university. After talking with the tattoo artists, I realized that I can try it myself too, because I've been drawing since my childhood. My current friend, Misha Golovko - calculated me 7,000 rubles for equipment: a tattoo machine and inks. For me, as for an unemployed student - it was great money. We could not work, cause classes in university were held from morning till evening: academic drawing, painting or something else.
My mom was giving me money for dinners, but I wasn't spend it - I started saving. For a few months, I saved up the entire amount and went to buy my first tattoo equipment. Then it was a Chinese machine and a giant stationary power unit. I loaded everything into my backpack and came home contented, but I did not quite understand what to do with all of this. I collected everything and began to train on a friend. It all started with simple works: hieroglyphs, tribal tattoos, but even then I tried to do small colored cartoon works.
- The New school?
- Well, it's not exactly a new school (laughs). I always loved cartoons and painted them. During my studies, I talked with Misha (Golovko).
About a year later he worked as a tattoo studio administrator and invited me to work with them. I was very surprised, thinking that I would not be invited to the studio until 10 years later (laughs). It was the Mikhail Mech Theater Studio. Igor Vinni worked there in that time. This man became my teacher and mentor for this period. I am very grateful to these people, we still communicate. In the studio, of course, the experience began to grow faster.
- Do you remember your the first tattoo?
- Oh sure! It was really scary!! The boy had a hieroglyph on his shoulder, which I decided to update. Induction tattoo machine was terribly buzzing. I turned it on and after then: "I can't - I'm afraid". He tried to cheer me up. I had tears in my eyes, but he already shouted: "Let me do it myself." A little later, I collected my will into knuckle and started. From the very beginning I had no fear to doing tattoo, but there was another fear - responsibility, which has survived until now.
- You talked about other styles, but when did you come to the realism?
- I completely came to the tattoo realism in the last 2-3 years. Probably, because I can copy very well. Now, I understand that realism as creativity - is a dead style. This is not creativity - it's craft. And you are either an artist or a craftsman. Raised up these craft skills to my maximum level, I understand that now it is necessary to develop the artistic side: to do some effects, go aside, combine styles, and so on.
- Do you paint everything by a freehand?
- By the freehand I draw anatomical drawings, sleeves, legs. Some parts, of course, I transfers, for example, portraits. Transfered - drew, transfered - drew, and so - we made Yulia's leg. We just transfered the pieces, but the background already composed on the go. Later, people whose saw the work - said: "Oh, guys, you have a such good composition, you probably thought about it for a long time!".
The sketch of the sleeve "Sin City" was construct in general like "Papier mache". I printed pieces, pasted it on Roma's hand with scotch tape, photographed and then painted. In this work I transfered portraits, but most of my time took the background, to dock all the images in one picture.
- How much time do you need to make a sleeve?
- It happens differently, it all depends on details. The fastest of them was made in 4 days. This person was a nonresident and arrived from Vladikavkaz twice for 2 days.
- Well, tell me about your own studio. It's the studio named after you.
- Yes, they forced me (laughs).
- When you decided to open it?
- In fact, I'm a modest person. And many things, most likely, I would not have done. I have a husband who directs me and even forses me to do some things, because he is a more commercial person. Tattoo studio - it was his idea. We are such a tandem of creativity and commerce - because only on creativity you will not go far, as well as only on commerce. We complement each other. Many people say that we are on the right path.
- Have you already tattooed when you met Kirill?
- Yes, it was not so long ago. Most recently, we celebrated 2 years since the wedding. We decided to get married after 3 months after we started dating, and we started dating after two days after we met (laughs). He immediately began to ask questions: "How do you work for someone? You need your own tattoo studio". I initially resisted, but eventually agreed. The opening of tattoo studio and role of leader have become for me the next tasks, whose I have set for myself whole my life. It's just not for me - to spend whole day without work.
- I heard that you work with two clients a day, is it real?
- Yes, either two for half a day to each, or one, but for whole day.
- Don't you get tire of such a rhythm?
- Of course, it happens that I get tired, but the big difficulty happens with several days off in a row. It's hard after it to get into work again. When you work day after day in the same rhythm - the body gets used to it.
- On yours social networks pages, you call your studio the most awarded in Rostov-on-Don. Is this all yours awards?
- Yes, these all mine, others our artists are beginners. I try to teach them, pass on my skills. Also I try to show them by my example how much it's cool to win awards, and how it drags on and I want more and more.
I sat on the place long enough, and I remember how else in the very first tattoo studio, Mikhail forced me: "We must go!".
In the first year, we went to St. Petersburg to the first tattoo convention in my life, I picked up one award for "Miniature tattoo." And after that - there was a huge break - 8 years, until we went to Krasnodar in the last year. The first nomination was "Cover Up", I had 3 models for it. When they went to scene, I was so nervous, I just lose consciousness, I even had to put away the phone, or else it seemed to fell out of my hands. At the end of the day announced: "The 3rd place in the nomination «Cover Up» - Anjelika Kartasheva", I was just excited, ran to the scene, embrace all, accept congratulations. And here they announced: "2nd place - Angelica Kartasheva". I was surprised, but I went to collect the award. And then the presenter told me: "Wait, do not go down" and announced: "1st place - also Angelica Kartasheva". It was a complete delight! And then it went on like this, all three days we took places, and as a result we took away 8 awards!
- So started a series of conventions, on which you collect the most awards?
- Yes, but this is still not habitual. All conventions are different, with different artists, so every time it's very scary to go back empty-handed. You try to do your best, and then, when they call your name, that joy comes. Especially when several awards, all people already know you for these days and you walk - like at home, everyone congratulates you, takes pictures - it's great!
In Zwickau (Germany) was incredibly scary. Every day, they laid out the work of the participants on Instagram, and I looked at it all: "Сome on, where are we going at all!?" When I got there, it seemed to be inside my phone, in Instagram account. All the artists, on which I signed - all their works - you can see in real life.
United States - was also scary. It was like travel to the Moon. The country that was known only from movies. The convention was held in casino and occupied a whole floor, there were 300 or 400 artists. Incredible!
- Do you know English?
- No (laughs). In fact, English is not given to me. There are things, that no matter how do you try - they are not be given to you. The school, university, additional classes, attempts to study on my own - all of them are complicated! I understand what it's needed, because in the same Zwickau - you meet a man, say to him "Hello" or "Hi" and then you just stand and smiling (laughs), and they say something. Well, with us was a friend - he translated, but even he can not express those emotions that arise in you.
We collected autographs from tattoo artists who are very popular in our country and in the world: such as Dave Paulo, who was very surprised by our desire, and only repeated: "You are crazy!", Jack Connelly - I did not expect that he is so communicative and cheerful. There is no pathos, which you expect from such outstanding artists!
- Well, do you already feel equal to them?
- No. I don’t know, it's hard for me to understand why I'm winning.
- Even when you win awards in the international events among these same outstanding artists?
- I'm really shocked! Let's get back to Zwickau, we took the Best of Day, which was preceded by some apathy, when I saw the works of all these eminent artists. And the next day, we fought for the Grand Prix, where Jack Connelly performed. After a few days in Instagram, I saw his work and asked: "What? I defeated Jack Connelly?"
Then that awareness came. On the third day, when the "Best of Show" was chosen between my work and Alex Pancho, I really did not think I would win or lose, the fact that they chose between us did not fit in my head. I standed and thought: "Come on! How does this happen at all?!" And I had absolutely no resentment because of loss, this emotion, what they chosen between Pancho and me - shocked me. I came down from the stage, congratulated him, and only then I thought, but what would happen if I won against Pancho!!! Euphoria appeared from this thought.
It seems to me that the crown I'll never wear, because already how many years I work - it did not appear. I am self-critical enough, and I believe that it's self-criticism gives the person development. As soon as he realizes himself as a superstar, he immediately stops and does not grow any further. But this is art, and there is no limit to perfection. You can always do better, with every job you must to do better, if you do not stop.
Even when we made this sign "Anjelika Kartasheva's Studio", at first I did not even look on it. I went in, thinking: "What the hell is it all written there?" I was even ashamed. It's good that many people do not know that Anjelika Kartasheva is me. In general, for me it's wild, but for somebody it's normal.
- Which of the tattoo conventions, was the most emotionally for you?
- The Tattoomo festival (Voronezh, Russia), it is so warm emotionally, that even a month after after it finished I was smiling. There I was completely congratulated! Everyone was happy about my victory, starting from the guys selling coffee, and ending the organizers. Emotions are very important. You can do the work for a year, and win, but if nobody applause, when you are go on stage, except a handful of your friends - you'll go down and just left. This is really an important point, when the presenter does not miss it to direct the audience and they applause - this gives a thousand times more emotions to victory.
- How many conventions did you visit as a tattoo artist and how many awards did you receive?
- About 11 conventions and 73 awards. This year conventions will be almost in every month.
- So, then tell me about your plans. Where we'll can see and cheer for you?
- Well, this information may not be reliable, because at this moment while we are talking, some other record may appear in the calendar (laughs). When we were in Zwickau, Mario Barton invited us to the tattoo convention in Las Vegas, as one of the masters of the Intenze. In May, we are going to Brazil to the BH Tattoo. In June we are going to judge in St. Petersburg. Again there will be Germany - Berlin, perhaps the Italian Venice. Also during the visit to America, we were invited to participate in the Sullen TV, where the masters will work on the air.
- In Rostov-on-Don, in addition to your tattoo studio, there is still Oleg Shepelenko's tattoo studio, with whom you are direct competitors working in similar style. Do you maintain any communication with each other? And how is your relationship going?
- Of course, we are not bosom friends, but of course we can say hello and talk. Just life did not bring us together at some point, and we did not start communicating. Maybe we'll start in someday or maybe not, it's hard to say. But in principle, Oleg and I are just competitors, and now I'm not just talking about style, but about goals. Goals, and development of tattoo industry in our city. We have a similar targets. He's a very good in this, and maybe if he did not do it, I would not start either. At one point, it became some stimulus for me. I thought, "Why am I not doing this? We have about one level of technique, similar style. I can do better." The thought that I can do this too, was not giving me a rest. Why does everyone talk just about him? Because Oleg did the right thing. He developed and presented himself, he is an excellent businessman and good artist. It is thanks to this combination - this man has achieved such success in this city, in the country, in the international arena. He is known all over the world and loved.
- Did you think about moving to another country? For example, to Germany, which has already become the second home of your tattoos.
- In Germany just people whose support me, and whom want to see me as an artist in their team. They invite me to festivals, where they can, and so far as they are Germans, it's Germany (laughs). In fact, the moving is very difficult. First of all we must decide and then do it.
- So, for now it's Rostov-on-Don and travels?
- Yes. Simply, if you move - it's practically starting from the begin. Again, some difficulties. And here, we can not leave anything, there is a certain binding. I believe that everything should be done in step by step. Here, you need to bring your doings to a certain level and then you can move on. In general, it is not a fact that somewhere else will be better life.
- And in Russia - do you use a guest spots in others studios?
- Damn, within this schedule is difficult to travel a lot. I want it all the time. I was in Moscow to try this, mostly because of my models, to finish them. This needs to include it in a part of your plan, in part of the graph. I do not have days off, I work with 2 people a day. It's difficult for now.
- Ok. Which projects do you prepare in the Fabrik13?
- In terms of development, I want to develop the tattoo industry seriously. Not for an industry that is simply aimed at trading, but for the masters, whose can aware of what they are doing, that they are artists, and that creativity needs to be done well and qualitatively. In Rostov, most masters are choice realism. Maybe it's because Oleg Shepelenko is promotes realism, I'm promotes realism - and people get the impression that realism is cool. Therefore, I want to help the beginning master, to give the right start. That's why, we want to open a tattoo school in this year, but the serious one. Where will be teach from very beginning, where will give lessons to already active tattoo artists, where already famous masters, Russian and foreign, will come with master classes. We want that it will not depend on finance, but aim at the development of industry in our city and the country as a whole. We want to getting smaller the number of low-level masters.
- Are not you afraid to create your own competitors by yourself?
- Competition is an good motivation. The more strong artists around, the faster you develop. In general, we want to organize a tattoo convention in Rostov. Also it would be desirable to make it abruptly, seriously. To invite artists for master-classes, to show people what the tattoo industry is it. Someone might change their attitude if it was negative.
- Now tell me more about this plan!
- This plan, in fact, was born immediately after we began to travel around the tattoo conventions. But again, it requires finances and acquaintances. And now the phase is approaching, when it is possible to embody all of this. We want to make it at highest quality level. We don't want to just to divide the premises into pavilions and sell them and for collect only an artists from Rostov (laughs). We want to organize master-classes of world famous artists, to prepare some activities aimed at presenting tattoos as a quality product, and most importantly - do it cool! In Rostov! And to prove that Rostov is a city in which makes cool tattoo conventions.
- You talking a lot about the development of the tattooing industry in Russia. What's wrong with it today, in your opinion?
- We are not lagging behind in terms of artistic embodiment, we are lagging behind in terms of people's perception. After all, the main related association with tattooing - is the prostitutes and thieves. This is a classic of the genre in Russia. When an adult says this, it's understandable, but when young people - it already makes you think. In terms of art, I believe that the Russian school is one of the strongest in the world. We have a lot of really talented artists, but we do not know them as much as everyone knows European artists. Because there the industry works differently. Only you start to tattooing well, and you immediately become famous, popular, etc. If you're in Russia doing cool tattoos - you're just doing cool tattoos (laughs). And that's all.
- In conclusion, can you give some advice to beginning tattooers?
- First, treat this responsibly! This is one of the most important problems. Secondly, do not limit yourself in development, and do not skimp on it. A master who sits alone with himself, he learns only from his mistakes, and maybe he does not learn at all, because he does not see these mistakes and he stops at his own level. We need to attend conventions, master classes, and not to lock in our work.
- Thank you for such an interesting and diverse story, it was nice!
- Me too!