Interview. Konstantin Strokin - How Tattoo Saved the Artist from a Military Career

Interview. Konstantin Strokin - How Tattoo Saved the Artist from a Military Career
Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin / Photo: @strokin_dark

Today, in our Interview, a well-known professional in the field of graphics, an artist whose hand can be easily recognized among thousands of others - Konstantin Strokin.

His works are imbued with special energy, which, like an electric discharge, spreads over the bodies of his clients.

This article are dedicated to true connoisseurs of dark graphics tattoos!


- Tell us a little about yourself and how and when did you decide to become tattoo artist?

- At the moment I have been working about 9 years in this area. The first time I saw and tried it myself at the military academy in Blagoveshchensk. After two years of training with my friends, I decided to quit the university and do tattoos seriously. I worked for another couple of three years in my hometown at the edge of the earth (Komsomolsk-on-Amur) and after moved to Moscow. So in that time and that place it all started.

I met a lot of professionals who influenced my attitude towards tattooing and growth of my technique. I consider Moscow like springboard for a good leap into the future. Huge competition, the fast pace of the city makes you productive.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- What did you do before the tattoo?

- Before starting in tattoo industry, I was a cadet, had a couple of part-time jobs. But in general, I have never seriously worked anywhere. Therefore, my work book is always virgin.

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

- Tattoo - body decoration, accessory. As an accessory, it can be cheap and expensive. It can be done with taste, or it can completely ruin the visual acquaintance with a person. A tattoo can influence the attitude of others towards you. Therefore, an artist is the person who sees in advance an idea on a person's body. He picks up a million options in his head to achieve the goal. He is responsible for all stages of the tattoo, from sketch to healing.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

Tattoo very quickly acquired the status of an expensive accessory. It shows the taste of the person who chose the tattoo artist. How he treats himself and his body. And what's in a person's head. People need to express themselves, getting something unique makes you feel like a winner. Often a small tattoo is a big step in self-confidence. For some, this is the initiation of his spiritual beliefs.

For the client, a tattoo is everything he can imagine and put into it. For tattoo artists, this is another format for visual art. With its own unique rules in composition, with its own techniques and a set of different instruments. I believe that a well-done tattoo can really make a person visually interesting.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- How did you start your journey?

- I drew a lot since school. Having absolutely forgotten about studying at school, vocational school, military school ... everywhere I was saved by the fact that I could at least draw. I make posters, sculptures, competitions and pass exams. I was an absolute D-pupil and the irreplaceable hands at the same time.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

I have separate trash content about tattoos in the army. I opened a studio in my city and was surprised by the demand. My calendar was booked 4 months in advance, and I still didn't know what style I want to work in, is this exactly what I want in life? But there was no time to think and I did tattoos. It all happened by itself.

- Do you remember your first client and your feelings when you took a tattoo machine in your hands and started making your first tattoo?

- When I first time took a tattoo machine in my hands, I experienced mixed feelings of fear and interest ... Of course, it turned out to be an absolutely bad tattoo. But wild delight. Which still hasn't faded away.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- Tell us about your work.

- I try to do most of the work as Freehand. Pull out each new work exactly from imagination. But sometimes you have to use photos and collages. I love monochrome, minimalism, I prefer a simple, contrasting design. I love large-scale semi-abstract objects. Incompleteness, I love works that require study, leave questions, attract interest. If the work that you catch a glimpse makes you look a second time and not be disappointed, this is a good tattoo.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- Where do you get your inspiration?

- The main inspiration is everything that happens around. If you are can't imaging something, you need to refresh your memory when you see something new. Traveling and communicating with people of different cultures does the trick. The human brain with eyes is a good camera (laughs). Take as many interesting pictures as possible and you will be able to pull out the idea at the right time. It is important to observe how people who are much better than you work.

- Which of the modern tattoo artists do you consider worthy to be called «the best» ?

- Alex Sorsa, Tidan, Oscar, many interesting Korean artists. The list of great artists is endless.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- Have you participated in collaborations with other artists?

- I only collaborate with my wife @horror_tattoo. We do it quite often.

- Where do you work now?

- Moscow. Private studio in Moscow.

- Do you travel a lot? Where have you already managed to work and where are you going in the near future?

- Over the past 3 years, we managed to visit many countries in Europe and Asia. Many of the trips were for the exchange of experience, participation in various non-profit projects and just to visit museums and update your visual "database". I plan to attend conventions in New York and Los Angeles this year.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- Do you think the tattoo industry in Russia is different from the Western?

- Is different. The tattoo culture in Russia has become unique over the past decade. A very good school, many high-profile names and victories. Many innovations, a unique look at the tattoo as a whole. I think there is a lot to learn from Russian tattoo artists.

- How often do you visit international tattoo conventions? And what about your plans on 2021?

- I was at conventions. I was a participant and a judge several times. Abroad and in Russia. In 2021 I am going to take part in the largest tattoo conventions in the USA.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

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

- I don’t know how to evaluate popularity. I have some specific tattoos, so most likely I am unknown to a wide audience. But in the dark club I am recognizable. In the last year, especially a lot of job offers came from various countries in Europe and the United States. But I think the popularity should be judged from the outside. Recognition of your work from thousands of works on Instagram, so far, I think, this is already a good step into the future.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- Are you a member of any Pro Team? How is your general attitude to this trend? What do you think it gives to an artist?

- I am currently a member of the VladBlad Pro Team. This is a wonderful factor for personal growth. You are forever devoid of equipment headaches. You communicate with the professional community, who love their job just like you. Certainly, interaction with professionals in your field has a positive effect.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- What is your goal?

- Since it so happened that I am engaged in tattooing, I think that I should make every effort to develop. For me, a tattoo is serious, as well as for everyone who comes to get it. This separate art form still has a great future. Especially when combined with modern technology, there is a huge potential

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

I think that as long as a person needs his own body for life, he will love a tattoo as a form of self-expression. I want a tattoo to adorn a person and I think that every time the level of skill needs to be raised, to work with your own taste, to study all disciplines related to tattooing. And I think our goal is to beautify a person, not spoil his body.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- How do you see the future of global tattoo in nearest future?

- The tattoo will periodically change its concept, will change during the development of each generation. And this growth is only in the design, form, information content of the tattoo. But I think that technology will only bring it to a different quality level. When skin with black pigments will display a smartphone screen or measure the wearer's vital signs. Or when the machine will be engaged in the introduction of paint, and the person will develop the design.

When the patterned skin becomes reinforced due to the strong bond between some nanopigments ... When the tattoo becomes not only a decoration, but also becomes functional for the wearer. Then there will be a future in the industry that I would like.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- Has the covid-19 pandemic affected you?

- The pandemic has very confused all our plans for the year. All trips abroad were canceled. We canceled visits of major conventions in New York and Los Angeles, or rather postponed it to 2021. This is the most difficult time, since it is unbearable for me to sit in one place for a long time.

- Do you prepare any personal events, activities?

- 2020 forced to postpone all planned events for the year. I have planned training and several master classes, but recently it is more relevant to do everything online. Therefore, now I comprehend the entire technology of organizing online learning. I would like everything to be no less informative than with personal training. A particularly acute question is in the practical part of training. More time is needed to organize such events, but new times require new methods.

Tattoo artist Konstantin Strokin, blackwork graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- More and more newbies are entering the tattoo industry. Are you following new artists? Who would you highlight?

- A lot of good guys have recently joined this industry. They walk confidently along the trodden path. Succeed quickly and bring fresh vision to work. I can't even remember everyone who I like, there are really a lot of them.

Eduard Sadikhov (@ess.tattoo) is one of the people who surprised me with his speed in the growth of quality. Nikita Grunenko, a guy from Donetsk, who grew faster than most old tattooists in a year (@nikitka.heretic).

In fact, there are a lot of names, I try to follow the creativity of beginners. Many of them have not yet tainted their vision by tattoo styles and similar junk. A new look always brings development.

- Can you give any advice to beginners?

Don't listen to grandfathers (laughs)! You can listen to their experience, but do not become like them. Always doubt the established conclusions, experiment a lot, draw a lot and travel a lot. It's enough.