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UV tattoo - what is it?

Tattoo artist Soma Art (Anna Onishchenko) / Photo: https://www.instagram.com/soma_art_tattoo/

Today we want to present one of the types of tattoos that are rapidly gaining popularity among club youth - Blacklight tattoo or UV (fluorescent) tattoo.

In a short conversation with one of the representatives of this tattoo area in Ukraine tattoo artist Anna Onishchenko, known under the pseudonym Soma Art we tried to learn more about this art and its features.

Tattoo artist Soma Art, glow tattoo, UV tattoo, fluorescent, Blacklight tattoo | Ukraine

Hi Anna! Tell us a little about yourself and how did you come to the tattoo.

- Hello! I've painted my whole life, from childhood I was drawn to this. I drew on any surfaces with any materials. In the children's sports camp, I used a marker to draw “tattoos” for people for some money. Apparently this profession is really mine. Once, at 15, I asked my friend Roma one of the most trivial questions: "What does your tattoo with stars mean?" Roma replied to me that this is the fulfillment of desires.

He led me to the first tattoo shop in my life in our city, so that I could get a star-tattoo for myself. Whatever trivial it was considered, I wanted it for many years to this point. I was drawing the star on myself with a pen at the school in the same place where I later make a real tattoo of it. On vacation, I was always asking to draw her with henna, so the star-tattoo was meaningful, even for that age. During the session, I thought: “How cool it would be to do a tattoo by myself”, but I understood that it would hardly to get apprenticeship for 15-year-old girl. At that moment I didn’t even think that everything would turn out that way.

Over the next year, I visited Toronto, Canada for a month. I went there for learning English, for courses, and there I went to the local tattoo shop. There the process of creating a tattoo sunk into my heart again. I returned to Ukraine and at the age of 16 I ordered my first Chinese tattoo set on Ebay.

Tattoo artist Soma Art, glow tattoo, UV tattoo, fluorescent, Blacklight tattoo | Ukraine

Did you learn all the technical aspects of tattooing by yourself?

- Yes, then there wasn't a lot of video materials about tattooing on the Internet. I collected information about how to do it by getting tattoos for myself and asked questions to the artists during the sessions. Literally by chance I learned how to work with the transfer (which at first time I tried to use with water and somehow I even got it), with needles and how to insert them into machine, which ones I need to pick up and other technical settings.

Pigments from this Chinese set did not remain in people's skin for a long time, the power supply and the pedal broke very quickly, but then I tasted the joy of trying to do tattoos, and I caught fire with it. For free, on my poor and ready for all friends, I made a lot of tattoos. Then I picked up some money and looked to more professional equipment, found out about the right brands of inks, started to draw sketches in certain styles. For 4 years I have taken breaks many times for various reasons. The progress went on for a long time, I could not decide in which style I should work, I wanted to invent my own, in order to bring something new to the tattoo culture.

I participated in tattoo conventions and visited them as a guest, talked a lot with our and foreign artists, make tattoos in all styles, trying to learn each of them. And even then I did not consider myself as a tattoo artist, I just liked to do it. Tattoo has become my life, and the path is lined up under the feet of the one walking.

Tattoo artist Soma Art, glow tattoo, UV tattoo, fluorescent, Blacklight tattoo | Ukraine

And how did you come to the fluorescent tattoo?

- Even at the very beginning of my practice, I saw pictures on the Internet with fluorescent tattoos, but it seemed to me something unreal. I could not believe my eyes and did not focus attention on them. Later, ultraviolet direction, all kinds of goa-trance festivals began to attract me. I saw lamps and canvases painted with fluorescent. The idea of ​​making such tattoos began to live in my mind. I started to draw this kind of picture and make sketches. I started reading about fluorescent in nature, in stones, in marine life, and began to study all possible information on this topic.

A little later, came out the cartoon movie “Coco”, in which animals from the other world were painted with a fluorescent, and then I realized that everything is the sign, it's time. I hardly found where in Ukraine it was possible to order this kind of inks. It was an American company Skin candy. Recieved the order, I started to try. It is really hard to work with it. It's imposible to paint a large area, based on it density - you can really make more stripes and points. You have to work under normal lighting, and then check how it lay under ultraviolet light. But when I made the first such tattoo and shone an ultraviolet lamp on it in the dark - I saw how the tattoo "burns"! I had a shock, a sense of magic, delight and even a little tears (laughs).

I found mine style. This is exactly what I want. I want that the light come out from the people. A little later, I learned that this style has its own name - Blacklight tattoo. My client was also in a shocked state of ecstasy, like every other (laughs). Over time, I found the artists around the world who work with the same inks and there were not so much: one American, one Australian, and another couple of guys who move in this direction.

Tattoo artist Soma Art, glow tattoo, UV tattoo, fluorescent, Blacklight tattoo | Ukraine Tattoo artist Soma Art, glow tattoo, UV tattoo, fluorescent, Blacklight tattoo | Ukraine

Did your clients have any questions about the safety of such inks?

- Of course! It turned out to be extremely difficult to develop this style in the CIS, people do not trust that this inks is safe, I had to refer to the same foreign artists, to explain to everyone that the inks are not light accumulating and do not glow in the dark, but only with an UV lamp, explained the difference between phosphorus and fluorescent. These inks heals quickly and looks even brighter after healing. A year after healing, it also glows well. But the range of available colors is quite narrow.

How do you think this type of tattoos is suitable only for lovers of club life or in general for everyone?

- At one tattoo festival I did 4 works in different nominations, using this inks in each styles to show the vastness of its application and how it can convey the subtext of the idea. When in normal lighting we see one meaning of the tattoo, and in UV lighting the tattoo takes on a different meaning. This kind of tattoo is made in truth for himself, not for nightclubs. In my head, new ideas are constantly being born, how and what to depict using these pigments. At now all the myths about it are scattered, and I hope for more interest from people who donated a piece of heart to tattoo art.

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Text: Oleg Zarvsky