Today, we present to you an interview with Natasha Lisova, better known as Natasha Animal, a true star of the modern tattoo industry. Natasha is a shining example of how talent, perseverance, and passion can lead to stunning success.

Watching Natasha's development as an artist over the years, we couldn't help but marvel at how her skill and style rapidly evolved from convention to convention, ultimately placing her at the pinnacle of contemporary tattoo art. Today, together with you, we'll try to uncover the secrets behind Natasha Animal's success and what we can expect from her creativity in the near future.

Natasha, let's start with introductions. Where are you from? Where do you currently work and take appointments? 

- I've been working in the tattooing industry for almost ten years now. My journey began in my hometown of Moscow, where I was actively developing my skills. However, in 2019, I decided to embark on a journey across European tattoo conventions. My initial experiences at these events served as a true catalyst for my creativity. And after visiting Sandra Daukshta, for a sleeve, I gained even more inspiration and technical expertise.

Тату мастер Наташа Энимал

When I first visited Düsseldorf five years ago, I left the city with the thought "thank you, but perhaps never again." The German way of life didn't impress me much back then. However, everything changes, and here I am, in Germany, living for the second year now. My decision was greatly influenced by the creative atmosphere and the people at Dima Naboka's studio, NBK. This place and its team give me boundless inspiration and warmth. My main base is here, in Düsseldorf, at NBK.

Do you have an art education? When and how did you start drawing?

- The passion for drawing has accompanied me throughout my life. My parents, being creative individuals – my father a film director and architect by profession, and my mother a costume designer – always encouraged and guided my artistic development. Thanks to them, I never felt limited in my creativity; on the contrary, they always supported it.

Тату мастер Natasha Animal

The decision to pursue a career in cinematography, where my parents worked, came at the age of 16 when I entered a film-theater college as a makeup artist. Over the course of four years of my education, I immersed myself in the world of academic painting and drawing. This time laid the foundation for my creative development. Painting continues to inspire me now when I have free time. Drawing for me is not just a skill but a way to express my emotions and connect with other forms of art that exist parallel to my main professional activity.

How did you decide to give up your career in the film industry in favor of tattooing?

- I don't consider my choice to leave this field final. At the time of deciding in favor of tattooing, I felt that further development as a makeup artist required more time and effort and perhaps was less aligned with my creative aspirations. 

Тату мастер Natasha Animal

The profession of a makeup artist is undoubtedly interesting and allows achieving impressive results. However, my choice towards tattooing is based on feeling a greater potential for self-expression and development in this field, as well as a strong attraction to this art form. My inspiring moments came from the world of cinema and television, especially from the show Face Off, where makeup artists created amazing characters. I also found inspiration in the cinema, where makeup could completely transform a person, creating images that were difficult to recognize.

Tell us, where and how did your relationship with tattooing begin? How did your career start? 

- When I was in my second year at the College of Theater Arts, surrounded by teenagers who were just starting to get their first tattoos, I decided that I also needed one and booked a session with the artist Olga Sergeeva. Until the last moment, I considered skipping the session and not showing up. Who knows where I would be now if I had chickened out back then. But I decided to go. The process deeply inspired me. Feeling that this was exactly what interested me, I decided to try my hand at tattooing. 

Тату мастер Natasha Animal

My first tattoo became an integral part of my life and creativity, although initially I thought it would just be a temporary hobby. Starting to work from home and learning through YouTube videos, forums, and other online resources, each new piece became for me not only a trial and error but also a unique opportunity to enjoy the process.

With a high level of self-criticism and perfectionism, I always strived to surpass previous achievements, inspired by talented artists on Instagram. I was particularly inspired by the contrast between tattooing and my professional work at the Bolshoi Theater, where I worked as a makeup artist. In the hustle and bustle of the theater, work often boiled down to craftsmanship, and I felt like a "squirrel in a wheel," everything was going in the same circle, and I keenly felt the lack of self-expression, whereas tattooing provided me with that fully. When my clients appreciate my style, my vision of the theme, and my creativity, it becomes the main incentive to enjoy the process and grow creatively. That contrast between theater and tattooing gave me a clear understanding of my life priorities. And I made a choice in favor of greater self-expression.

Тату мастер Natasha Animal

Tell us, how did your amazing style develop? Where did you start?

- From the very beginning, I was fascinated by the magic of realism; it resonated with me. The feeling that I wanted to develop in this direction was my internal compass.

There has always been a place for animals in my craft; however, my style found me when, for a whole month, the majority of clients came with ideas related to them. It excited me so much that I decided to focus on such projects, making it the main part of my style

Тату мастер Natasha Animal

At the same time, there was a desire to create works in a way that would connect the body and the drawing in balance. This led me to the decision to introduce elements into each of my works that not only complement the image but also emphasize the anatomy of the body, preserving its harmony. Thus, my style was born, where each work becomes a harmonious combination of the human body and the soulful picture.

It's not hard to guess that your love for animals lives not only in tattooing. Tell us, do you have your own pets, and maybe tattoos of them?

- Yes, I love animals immensely, and I truly enjoy going on photo outings in nature and visiting zoos. I have a cat, but she stayed in Moscow, Russia, with my parents. Despite the distance, I always try to stay in touch and take care of her. I decided not to move her because it would be too stressful for her, and she feels happy with my parents, receiving lots of attention and care.

Тату мастер Natasha Animal

Do you have any personal records in tattooing?

- When it comes to personal achievements, it's always challenging to evaluate them, given the critical eye we often have towards our own work. However, I can highlight a variety of goals I've set for myself.

There have been periods when I aimed to increase my work speed, while at other times, my efforts were directed towards enhancing detail. All these goals sometimes intertwine and evolve depending on sources of inspiration. My experience in setting personal records has shown that when I set a specific goal, such as improving work speed, each project becomes an opportunity to learn what will lead me to achieve that goal.

I analyze, experiment with new approaches, and when one goal begins to lose relevance, I seek new experiments. It's important for me to constantly draw inspiration from other artists, studying their techniques, working processes, and ideas. This is highly motivating. Additionally, creativity in other areas also motivates me.

Тату мастер Natasha Animal

Is tattooing creativity or work for you? 

- I've gone through several stages in my work and have drawn certain conclusions for myself. For me, tattooing is primarily about creativity. When I focus on the creative process, both the enjoyment and the financial aspect become more satisfying and naturally fall into place.

I would never want to solely associate tattooing with work because it could bring more obligations, routine, and a sense of enslavement. It's important for me to emphasize the creative aspect of my work in order not to limit myself with obligations and routine. Every time I've focused on the financial side, it hasn't brought me the desired success. Money may come, but I didn't feel satisfaction from the result, unlike with creative projects. This experience has allowed me to realize that what matters most to me is a high-quality result that brings enjoyment and improves my psychological well-being

Тату мастер Natasha Animal

What is the most appealing aspect of your work?

- The most appealing aspect of my work is the opportunity to materialize ideas suggested by other people while infusing them with my own vision. For me, it's crucial to maintain the creative aspect because when the focus shifts solely to money and work, the creative component suffers, and I sink into routine, which triggers sadness and depression. 

The most incredible and beautiful moment in my work, I believe, is when a client sees the sketch or looks at themselves in the mirror after the session and starts crying tears of happiness. To me, this is the warmest and happiest indicator that my work has some meaning and brings joy to others.

Тату мастер Natasha Animal

How do you evaluate your popularity in the tattoo industry? What, in your opinion, made your name truly known?

- Evaluating my work is always difficult. In 2019, when I started participating in festivals in Europe and observing masters with different techniques, that was perhaps a pivotal moment for my growth.

Also, after completing a sleeve, my learning process and struggles significantly helped me improve the quality of my work. In those years, I began to look at what I do in a new light. The years 2019 and 2020 were probably the sharpest in terms of growth moments.

Let's talk a bit about conventions. You are a frequent guest at all major Russian and international festivals, both as a participant and as a judge. What are the most valuable awards you have received at tattoo competitions?

- When it comes to conventions, it's not just an opportunity for me to meet talented artists but also to share my own creativity. Thanks to participating in Russian and international festivals as both a participant and a judge, I've had the honor of receiving several awards. However, when it comes to valuable awards at tattoo competitions, one of the most important factors for me is the emotional aspect. Primarily, it's the recognition from masters whom I admire. It's incredibly gratifying and motivating when a master you look up to takes notice of you and your work. That recognition is truly rewarding beyond trophies and other accolades. Of course, awards are important too, but we all know that conventions are a bit of a lottery, and it's challenging to evaluate these victories because it all depends on the jury. I understand how difficult it is to make such decisions and take responsibility for your choices.

Тату мастер Natasha Animal

Tell us about your experience participating in and winning at the Milan convention. How was it? How do you evaluate your collaborative work with Walter Montero? Who proposed working together in a collab?

- My experience participating in the Milan convention was incredible and unforgettable. Meeting Walter at one of my first European conventions five years ago, we quickly found common ground. A year ago, we decided to do our first collaboration, and the Milan convention became the third where we worked together.

From our very first collaboration, we felt the ability to work effectively together, thanks to mutual respect and a desire for harmony in design. During our collaborations, each idea develops uniquely for us, and the result can be entirely unexpected. As a rule, we look for a client open to our ideas. In Milan, our client entrusted us with the choice of color scheme and completely relied on our creativity. Three days of work at the convention are always challenging, but with a good person nearby, everything becomes easier and more harmonious. 

Коллаборация Natasha Animal x Waler Montero

Collaboration Natasha Animal x Waler Montero

It's essential for me to carefully choose a colleague for collaboration to ensure comfortable interaction. Working in a team is always difficult, but dealing with challenges becomes easier when masters are ready to provide sincere support to each other.

Throughout your career, you have collaborated with many well-known masters. Which collaboration stands out to you as the most memorable?

- One of the most emotional collaborations was with Walter, where we depicted a woman with a deer. This work represented a fusion of forest spirits and humans. Although we didn't have much luck with the client's patience, the end result brought satisfaction. The idea was quite strong. 

Коллаборация Natasha Animal x Waler Montero

Collaboration Natasha Animal x Waler Montero

Among the interesting collaborations, in my opinion, the most fascinating ones are when masters have completely different styles, and they integrate objects into each other to emphasize one another. A great example of this approach is a piece done collaboratively with Sasha Gin, who specializes in a cosmic two-dimensional style. Working with her, combining our quite different styles, was very cool.

Коллаборация Natasha Animal x Саша Джин

Collaboration Natasha Animal x Sasha Gin

You are a member of the Pro Team of the world's most famous paint manufacturer. What other Pro Teams are you a part of? Why do you think this is important for a master?

- Yes, recently, I received support from the leading distributor in Europe, Killer Ink, which is a huge achievement for me. Also, I have been a member of the Pro Team of Kwadron needle for a long time because their cartridges satisfy me with their quality to the fullest. I see no reason to switch to anything else since they fully meet my requirements. I am also supported by the manufacturer of Inkjecta machines, with which I have been working for six years now. This machine has everything I need, and the ability to adjust settings such as different strokes, interchangeable bars creates a feeling of having a complete set of different machines for different needs.

Currently, I am also under sponsorship from the German oil manufacturer Believa. After each session, I provide clients with a healing pack that includes all the necessary supplies for tattoo care. I provide written care instructions and share all the necessary information. I consider this an integral part of the service.

Тату мастер Natasha Animal

It seems like you have already achieved incredible heights in the tattooing field. Can you tell us if you have any specific goals and plans for the near future that you want to bring to life?

- Perhaps, I want to take a bit of a pause from conventions. I'll literally be at only two conventions this year, but my main focus would be on paying attention to the stylistic aspect, as progress never stands still, and there are increasingly more opportunities, such as the integration of artificial intelligence into the work. I also would like to incorporate all these changes into my new style, giving it a fresh perspective. Mostly, I am working on that. 

Additionally, due to high demand, I plan to diligently develop my online and offline tattoo master courses in Russian and English this year. I also plan to work in Germany. Location and comfort are very important to me, as I am accustomed to them. It's always challenging to travel to new places as it decreases productivity, and more time is spent orienting oneself in a new location. In the studio where I work regularly, I have automated all processes, and I don't want to waste time on that again.

Where can people find you in the coming year? How can they schedule an appointment with you?

You can always find me in Dusseldorf, Germany. Appointments are usually booked six months in advance or even a little more.