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Interview. Igor Mitrenga - graffiti realism

Tattoo artist Igor Mitrenga / Photo: @im_tattoo

Today's hero of our interview Igor Mitrenga has a striking sense of style. Being originally an artist of street art direction, he very successfully combines elements of graffiti and portrait realism in his tattoo works. Our editors literally fell in love with his works from first sight, so we were looking forward to the opportunity to talk with Igor, learn more about himself and his work. Here we go!

- Hello Igor! At the beginning, please, tell us a little about yourself and how and when did you decide to come in tattooing?

- Hello Alexander! I’m 29years old and I’m from Prague (CZ). When I was a child I still drew. About my 14years I started doing graffiti. It was for me more than passion, still it is. Actualy this has infuenced my point of view on life. 5 years ago I got opportunity to take tattoo machine to my hand. I did some lettering on my leg haha, but in same moment I felt tattooing will be my next level on this world. I was fascinated by the fact that it's forever, you can not wash it like graffiti.

Tattoo artist Igor Mitrenga, authors color relistic portrait tattoo in graffiti design | Prague, Czech

- What possible career did you leave for the tattoo?

- I do not know. I have a graduate technical school with a focus on industrial design, but it never happened to me (laughs).

In fact, it's about the people you meet in your life and the circles you are in. It will affect you a little bit, and it is only up to you. I moved among the people who were creative, we painted graffiti, we experienced a lot of extreme situations and dangers, it gives you a completely different view of the thing. It also affects you in everyday life. So I can hardly tell what I left because of that, but I believe everything is as it should be.

- What does this word means to you?

- Maybe it's a little bit of a kitsch, but the tattoo is life. If you do it only half, you can never do it well. You have to take a lot of time around. Adapt everything around, you know. You have to have people around you who respect that sometimes you crazy, often you are in the studio to night, etc. So, for me it's not a "job", it's life and a lot of passion.

Tattoo artist Igor Mitrenga, authors color relistic portrait tattoo in graffiti design | Prague, Czech

- Tell us about your style. How do you call it?

- I don’t know how to call it. I combine realism and graphic elements using my own graffiti as a basis. I start my designs on a wall and transfer it to skin this way you can see the street art and then on the skin.

- What most important features in your style?

- I love high contrast and colors. I try to break the classical composition with something else and give it a completely different face. Also clean lines and fill a hundred percent of the skin is for my style very important.

Tattoo artist Igor Mitrenga, authors color relistic portrait tattoo in graffiti design | Prague, Czech Tattoo artist Igor Mitrenga, authors color relistic portrait tattoo in graffiti design | Prague, Czech

- Where do you get inspiration?

- The inspiration can be found all around. At this time of the Internet it's really easy, but I try to ignore it. I often try to find something original in the things we have in everyday life around us.

- What message can your works carry?

- If my work brings to my customers and people around joy, and makes them more happy, so that's what I love and everything is all right.

- Since you work in an exclusive author's style, it imposes certain limits, against than on work in a more pop theme. Can you sign out some peculiarities of people who want to become your customers? What they do in regular life, outside of tattoo shop?

- Yes it is true. A lot of my customers are dedicated to things that are close to what I do, they are creative and they go for their purpose.on the other hand, I have a few customers who work in the office or as director in the bank (hehe). The biggest specialty is that I made a sleeve for two policemen (haha). It's funny because my style is based on graffiti. Graffiti is generally hated by the police (laughs)

Tattoo artist Igor Mitrenga, authors color relistic portrait tattoo in graffiti design | Prague, Czech

- Tell us about your typical working day.

- My day begins early in the morning. every day I wake up at 6:30. I love the morning, it's my favourite part of the day. I go out with my dog, I buy coffee. I'm coming to the studio at 8am. Everyday I do cleaning by myself in my studio, I love then everything is clean and perfect ready for daily traffic. I only do a full day session so every day I only work on one project. My customer arrives at 9am. We talk for a while and drink coffee together. At 10 o'clock, when everything is ready, I begin to tattoo. Every two hours I take a short break. That's good for me and for the customer as well, also for the skin. I usually end up around 8-9 in the evening. Sometimes earlier and sometimes later. It all depends on the difficulty of the design I am doing and also on the customer, you know (hehe). After I finish my tattoo I'm going home. At home I work on other designs for the next days.

- How extensive is your tattoo geography. Where have you already had to work and where will you work in the near future?

- My base is in Prague (Czech). Here I have my own private atelier where I spend the most time. My second base is in New York where I go to work twice a year. Besides, I go through conventions all over the world. This year was challenging and I've done so much. Next year I'm going to visit even more conventions. My favorite are Krakow tattoo fest, New York Empire state tattoo expo, Grand prix Brno, Zwickau in Germany by Randy Engelhard and the blast was this year's first CTS in Las Vegas.

Tattoo artist Igor Mitrenga, authors color relistic portrait tattoo in graffiti design | Prague, Czech

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

- Yes it is USA, New York. This city has the atmosphere. The Hustle Butter Deluxe provides me there. Nice people and everything. I'm always ready to return.

- How do you rate your popularity?

- Nowadays, it's hard to talk about popularity because what's popularity? Every other person on the Instagram who makes some shit feels popular (hehe). It's about likes or followers? I don't feel popular. I let everything go naturally and do not push on the saw.

- Do you work with any company as a pro-artist? How do you feel about this trend of pro-teams?

- I'm sponsored by several companies: Intenze Tattoo Ink, FK Irons, Hustle Butter Deluxe, Killer Ink Tattoo, Dermalize PRO, Stencil Forte and I'm part of Pro-Team by Intenze Tattoo ink, Fk Irons, Hustle Butter Deluxe. I think it's good. be part of the Pro-Team means that your work has a certain level of quality.

Also Together with other artists, we can contribute to improving the products because we use them the most.

I do not want to say that it's important to be part of the team but it's definitely good.

Tattoo artist Igor Mitrenga, authors color relistic portrait tattoo in graffiti design | Prague, Czech

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

- He-he. What else am I doing apart the tattoo art? I think nothing ha-ha. I’m just kidding.

I love dogs. I have one crazy whippet. Being with him out there is really fun. When I do not work, I enjoy spending time together with my girlfriend and enjoying the time spent at home, because there is really little. At least once a week I try to paint a wall. If there is some time left, I like to make some furniture at home, I love handmade pieces.

- What about music / movie preferences?

- In terms of music, only rap / hip hop. I'm listening more old school, sometimes new things, but everything until 2005 you know...he-he

Do not ask me for movies, I'm really amateur in this. I always have better things to do than watch the movie (laughter)

Tattoo artist Igor Mitrenga, authors color relistic portrait tattoo in graffiti design | Prague, Czech

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

- I often see the tattoos I think they are from the future hehe. The level is very high and I like it. I just can not imagine where it can go. Maybe in ten years we will buy all the laser and we will remove tattoos that we were doing to hehe.

- And finally - what advice can you give to newcomers in the tattoo?

- Thanks for the interview bro, was my pleasure.

It's important to do it with love, if you don't love it, don't do it. The moment you are satisfied with your result, it is your last level. But art don’t have last level, it can be always better...

- Thank you very much Igor!

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