Interview. Anna Chernova - about a Chinese tattoo machine, an escaped client and the American dream

Interview. Anna Chernova - about a Chinese tattoo machine, an escaped client and the American dream
Tattoo artist Anna Chernova / Photo: @horror_tattoo

Today we met Anna Chernova, is already well-known tattoo artist and the owner of a tattoo studio.

Anna will tell us how is it important to hear your inner voice and go towards your dream at the moment of choosing a professional path, and how is interesting and exciting journey this can turn out for a tattoo artist.


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

- My name is Anna Chernova (@horror_tattoo). I came from Komsomolsk on the Amur, Far East, and now I work in Moscow, in my own studio. I started tattooing is about 6 years ago, at the age of 20. I got a Chinese rattling tattoo machine, and that's how it all began.

Tattoo artist Anna Chernova, black and grey realism, graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- What did you do before the tattoo?

- Before starting tattooing, I was a regular sales assistant at a sport goods shop.

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

- For me personally, tattoo is a way to show my drawing skill not on the usual canvases or paper, but on the skin. Previously, it was more difficult for me, but now much of what I can implement on skin, I cannot repeat on paper. Plus, I like this kind of underground culture that has developed around the tattoo. Perhaps not everything in it is so wonderful, but every year it changes, and it is interesting to watch it.

Tattoo artist Anna Chernova, black and grey realism, graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- So how did you start your journey?

- My journey began with the first tattoo I made. The next day after that, I went to my old job and right at the cashbox I thought: «What am I doing here? This is not at all what I want in life.» Apparently it was the process of growing up. And I left this work.

Tattoo artist Anna Chernova, black and grey realism, graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

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

- Yes, I remember the first client very well, I was very scared and with excitement everything fell out of my hands. All the movements were somehow awkward ... But this is not surprising - it is always difficult to start.

- Tell us about your works.

- I do Black and Gray tattoos in dots, kind of a dotwork. I do both realism and surrealism, and I love the clean execution of the work.

Tattoo artist Anna Chernova, black and grey realism, graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- Where do you get your inspiration?

- I like the tandem with a client. As a rule, you get the most inspiration from them - it's an individual project. Sometimes a successful result is prompted by the place of application and its shape. I am very fond of design and love to use custom implementations on the body.

- Which of the modern tattoo artists do you consider worthy to be called «the best» and who, perhaps, are you inspired by in your work?

- I like Cristian Casas и Kurt MELBOURNE. Even if this is not at all similar to what I am doing, but I like the execution and location of the tattoos by Cristian, and by Kurt - the plot and some depth of the picture. It's because they are primarily artists and these guys definitely inspire me.

Tattoo artist Anna Chernova, black and grey realism, graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- Have you participated in collaborations with other artists?

- I have repeatedly participated in collaborations, but mainly with my husband Konstantin Strokin. I really like the difference in our tattoo styles.

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

- I often visit international tattoo conventions to exchange experiences. In Germany, I became a prize-winner. Also once I was a judge at a tattoo convention, which was very difficult. In 2021, I'm going to the New York Empire State too Expo and the Golden State Tattoo Expo in California.

Tattoo artist Anna Chernova, black and grey realism, graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

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

- I think that the popularity should be estimated by those around. But I undoubtedly consider myself a pro and a very highly paid specialist.

- What is your main goal?

- I would like to open tattoo studios all over the world with my unique concept. I would also very much like to work in collaboration with museums and art exhibitions. I feel that I am full of ideas and strength to implement them.

- Has the covid-19 pandemic affected to you?

- From the financial point of view, no, it was not reflected in any way. I started painting more at home. But I really wanted to travel, and personally communicate with friends. I hope it would be over as soon as possible.

Tattoo artist Anna Chernova, black and grey realism, graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- - Do you think the global pandemic will affect the development of tattooing?

- I think that even a pandemic is not a reason to stop getting tattoos. This culture has always evolved, so I think it will continue to be.

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

- Yes, I am a member of several Pro Teams. Well, firstly, it shows that you are a professional, not an amateur, there is something to strive for. You can also demonstrate a product that you use yourself. I usually test tattoo machines and cares and choose the ones I like and share them with the public. What I don't like - I don't advertise.

- Do you prepare any personal events, activities?

- Recently I was invited to the Art Exhibition in Brooklyn, New York. Unfortunately, I was not able to go, although the event was large. Once I gave a master class, but for a large group it is certainly exhausting, but I would like to repeat it in the future.

Tattoo artist Anna Chernova, black and grey realism, graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- Have you ever thought about finally moving to the United States?

- I recently received a job offer in the USA, so wonderful that I still can't believe it! The offer from a very famous person in the tattoo industry. I am glad that what I am doing has become noticed. I also think that this is a new level and career opportunities.

Tattoo artist Anna Chernova, black and grey realism, graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- Who are your clients? Can you highlight any common features in them?

- For the last 3 years, all my clients are businessmen, from small businesses to large ones. It's easy to work with them, they let you do what you want, they don't force you into the framework of style.

- Have there been any curious cases or unusual clients in your practice?

- Yes, I'm a magnet for this (laughs). No matter how seriously I behave myself - clumsiness and forgetfulness are my everything. And about clients - yes, a client ran away from me without paying for the session. He pretended to be sick and asked to take him outside for some fresh air and ran away, deleting all pages in social media. We quickly contacted his family and everything went well, but I was offended for a very long time.

Tattoo artist Anna Chernova, black and grey realism, graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia

- How do you see the future of Russian and global tattoo?

- In Russia, to be honest, I don’t know, everything is so unstable here and society still discusses and whispers when a person with a tattoo passes by. Also, I don't understand why an painter is commendable and a tattoo artist is disgusting? After all, if we discard the ichor, cares and disposable equipment, this is the same picture. But our tattooists are definitely some of the best in the world, they make such beauty that you don't understand how it is even possible to make it with a tattoo machine. The global tattoo will develop for sure, but Russia needs to work on stereotypes.

- Is the concept of «fashion» applicable to a tattoo?

- No matter how old tattooists disown, of course there is fashion. And you need to follow it both financially, and in order not to become a slave to style. You need to try to adapt innovations to your style. And then you will always be on top. It is foolish to say that «this new style is worth nothing, but my style is the best, they do not understand anything.» It's interesting for me to follow new things and come up with something from myself, so we create culture.

Tattoo artist Anna Chernova, black and grey realism, graphics tattoo | Moscow, Russia