Mark Drushchenko's Tattoo puzzles
We often talk about graphics in tattoos, fineline, geometric works, but today we want to draw your attention to a rather rare and really successful combination of all these styles, giving rise to something new and meaningful. Today's hero of our interview is the tattooist, whose work we have been observing with admiration for several years now. His work is a real puzzle. Fine-tuned to the last stroke, aesthetically attractive, filled with deep meaning, not accessible to a cursory glance of passers-by.
So, get acquainted - Mark Drushchenko.
What were you doing before the tattoo? Why did you decide to become a tattoo artist?
- To give a detailed answer to this question, you need to go back to my childhood, where, in addition to school worries, I studied at an art school, which, I must say, I paid much more attention to than ordinary lessons. After graduating from art school, I lost interest in drawing a bit and eventually entered law school. Only closer to the end of the bachelor's degree I realized that this was not mine at all. In that time I found a desire to get into tattooing. It seemed to me that this is an interesting job that will give me all that I am looking for: the opportunity to independently organize my workflow, be independent and develop creatively.
You talked about the art school, why didn't you continue to study art? Do you think a professional art education is necessary for a modern tattoo artist?
- My art education ended after a diploma from an art school. There were thoughts of continuing my studies at an art university, but burnout after graduating from art school, which coincided with final school exams, and pressure from my parents to get a “serious” education, led me to law school.
I can’t say that a tattoo artist doesn’t need art education, rather, on the contrary, it is necessary, but all the further development of artistic skills for me was self-education. I still want to get an academic education, maybe in the form of personal courses, and I hope to get this in the near future.
How did your career start? Did you have teachers or references among tattoo artists?
- My career started when I moved to Tyumen and met some local tattooists. I stopped at one of the studios and began to study there with its founder, who at that time already had experience and was happy to share it.
In addition to local artists, I was inspired by the work of Dmitry Troshin, Sasha Sorsa, lil'B and some other foreign artists. Now I also follow a large number of tattooers, both foreign and Russian, which helps me feel the competition and not stop developing.
Who exactly do you follow, whom do you single out, and who is in your personal TOP?
- I follow many artists, the work of other tattooists also inspires and motivates me. It is difficult to single out the TOP, because there are a lot of high-class guys around, but if I try, the following people had a greater influence on my work: Dmitry Troshin, Sergey Vinni, Patryk Chybowski, Balazsbercsenyi.
The style in which you work combines graphics, fineline, geometry, surrealism, microrealism and abstraction. I hope I haven't forgotten anything. How did you come to him?
- Yes, that's right. Simply put, this is a collage of different styles in the tattoo, which I like. I find something fresh and original in it.
I always had a desire to do something original, I tried different styles, experimented, set different creative goals and eventually found what I liked. I have always liked surrealism in art and, in fact, my style is its adaptation in tattooing. I love what I do now, but I do not exclude that my style will be transformed further.
What features of your work can you highlight on your own?
- I think people are tired of the simplicity of images: repetitive scenes, the same references, and sometimes entire tattoos, because often a tattoo is just a copy of a photograph without attention to background, composition, dynamics.
Many tattoo artists compete with each other only in the density of color, evenness of lines, smoothness of shadows. These technical aspects are of course important, but lately the technical level of most tattooists is high, and more and more clients are looking at the uniqueness, style, and author's approach, which is what makes my work attractive.
They are not like most tattoos and people like it, because tattoos are usually done to emphasize their individuality, to do something stylish and unique, maybe not in the plot, but definitely in the composition and its visual effect.
Your works are like puzzles that's just want to solve. Tell us, do your tattoos have meaning or is it just an attractive picture?
- I like it - puzzles ... Yes, as a rule, there is an idea and meaning component in a tattoo. I like it when there is depth in the work.
Clients fill my tattoos with meaning, because more and more often people come to me not just with a set of photos-examples, but also with some memories that they want to depic, or a set of values that they want to somehow express in a tattoo.
For example, a very frequent request to depic the “balance” in work, but there are also more personal stories: experienced depression, difficulties in life, death of loved ones.
After I know the meaning of the tattoo, the process of creating a design begins, in which I use various metaphors and symbols.
For example, if the client wants to show balance, the simplest expression would be a meditating person or a scale. The owl is a common symbol of wisdom or death when viewed in the context of Egyptian mythology, etc.
So, to express ideas in a tattoo, I try to use knowledge about mythology, philosophy and culture. Of course, not everything is always limited to common symbols and signs. When the story is more personal, it is better to look for associations that are close to a particular client.
I think it's important to say that although I say that the idea and meaning plays an important role in my tattoos, one cannot deny the fact that sometimes you just need to make a beautiful picture and an interesting composition without burdening it with meaning. I think everyone should see what they want in a tattoo. If there is a desire to fill it with meaning, I am ready to do it with pleasure, but in the same way I am ready to do just something aesthetic.
Tell us more about the process of creating your sketches. How detailed should the client's description of his idea be so that you can create a relevant design?
- In my case, the process of creating sketches is a topic for an entire article, and I think in the near future you will be able to see the relative material on my Yandex.Zen.
In a nutshell, the process is as creative and intuitive as possible, but at the same time, a lot depends on the client. Someone completely understands the need for creative freedom and gives only an idea, someone an idea and a few basic objects.
I, in turn, always ask to clarify the place for the future tattoo, if I see the need, I ask other questions: what is the general theme of the tattoo, what ideas (if there are several and they are not compatible) are important and make more sense, what can we add or pass, etc.
I perceive the work on a sketch as a dialogue between people who are equally interested in a cool result, this is not a scheme “I pay you and you do what I need”, but not “I am an artist, I see so”. In the process of working on a sketch, the main thing is understanding, trust and mutual respect. Each of us should enjoy the process and the result.
Tell about your clients. Why do they come to you?
- As a rule, my clients are successful people, usually middle-aged (30-45). All of them are interesting and educated people with whom it is pleasant to have a dialogue.
I think most of them are attracted by the uniqueness of the style, the opportunity to make a tattoo in an original and interesting way. A tattoo in this sense is a decoration that should be stylish, of high quality and look expensive.
You have a very active travel schedule on Instagram. Tell me where have you already been?
- Yes, I grew up in a small and remote city in Siberia, and the desire to travel has always been there and warmed me from the inside. And the opportunity appeared quite late, probably about a year ago, after which I began to satisfy the long-accumulated demand.
At the moment, I have visited 13 countries, mostly European. Next year I plan to visit Latin America and Mexico.
What about conventions? Have you had any experience of participation in tattoo events?
- You know, I have always been very skeptical about conventions, because it seemed to me that it's very subjective and limited by the nominations. But literally in the last six months my opinion has changed, and now I have awards from several international online competitions.
One competition was more artistic than tattooing, where I won an award in the category "Digital art". And at the international online tattoo convention, I took first place in the "Sketch tattoo" and first place in the "Illustration".
I was also a participant of the international convention in Bruges and the international convention in Barcelona. It was my first offline convention experience and I must say I liked it, so I plan to continue to take part in various conventions and other international events in our industry.
Is tattooing art, work or something else for you?
- I think tattooing is a job in the field of art, since it's difficult to separate the creative component: working on sketches, drawing, solving creative problems, and the routine work of maintaining Instagram, solving organizational issues, answering requests, etc. For me, tattooing is more of a lifestyle.
What are your career goals?
- Tattooing, like any creative field, teaches us to enjoy the process, so I try to perceive my career as an interesting journey, each stage of which I learn to enjoy.
If I answer this question less philosophically, then of course I want to increase my popularity, continue to develop my style, make it more recognizable, work on technique and be one of the best.
How do you rate your popularity now? And how do you think it can be measured?
- It is difficult to talk about your own popularity, I think the best criterion for measuring it is the respect of colleagues and the presence of clients who love your style. Based on this, I can say that I am popular.
What are you interested in besides tattoos?
- I like to study: I read books on economics, classical fiction, and academic literature for artists. I love sports. To watch and practice, especially boxing, basketball, and workout.
Tell us about your plans for the near future.
In the near future, I plan to have a good rest by making a short trip to Latin America and Mexico. In addition, I am planning a move, and most of my daily routine is devoted to resolving issues related to this: processing some documents, finding a work space, market research, etc. Globally, the main plan is always the same - to continue to work, develop and explore the world.