interview with Artemijs Saveljevs | Home of Tattoos, Latvia |16/01/2019

Hello Artemijs Saveljevs! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. Your art is very inspiring to many out there mostly for its uniqueness, do you have any artistic background?
A: I began tattooing without any artistic background, I didn’t have an education or any professional competences. At first, I was developing the skill on my own and I began looking for the best tattoo artist in my city. This person happened to be Kurt Jansons. As soon as I found him, I signed up for a session to get my sleeve done. And while his was tattooing me, I was learning, asking questions, and with time we become friends, so his had huge impact on me.

Q: What type of art you used to like while developing your tattoo style? Do you have any favorite artists you look up to?
A: I love all types of art in general. The style that I have developed was influenced by not only visual art but also by the music that I love. Regarding classical artists, my top influences are – Kandinsky; Picasso; Redon; Pollock; Rothko. As for tattoo artists, I follow more than 600 artists on Instagram. Around 70-100 of these artists are my true favorites, there is no point in listing them all.

Q: Your portfolio looks impressive. Seriously, I've seen many tattoos in my life, but I'm so happy when I see an artist who not only works both color and black & gray ink, but have a unique style and therefore the designs look like an artwork itself. Not just a ready made design from the internet. Again, impressive portfolio. How do you prepare for a tattoo session? Do you first draw a bunch of sketches for your clients or the inspiration comes naturally while talking with them?
A: Thank you for these kind words, I am truly grateful for the praise!
I have multiple variations for the process of creating designs. I will list two of them:
1) A customer arrives and I start preparing a design for them right on the spot. I love working under pressure in terms of a set time-frame, otherwise I am very lazy and unorganized (just like many other artist). Due to this trait, I am able to deliver a prepared project quickly. In these cases, I prepare the foundation in Photoshop (which I am well-versed at). As for the details – I finish them by freehand on the customer’s skin, this helps the tattoo to merge with the body in a harmonic way.
2) During my free time I develop my own idea. I start off by creating the foundation in Photoshop, then I draw using an iPad. Once the design is completed in this way, I start looking for customers.

Q: How much the talent plays a big role especially when it comes to creative tattooing?
A: Generally, talent is less important than technique. An artist may posses a talent from the beginning, yet generally it isn’t enough. As for developing a solid technique, it requires no less than 10 years of dedicated work and this is what separates the professionals from the regular artists. I often find myself repeating these words: “I prefer a small, simple, traditional tattoo of rose which is made with perfect lines, dense coloring over a full sleeve with poor technique and “creative idea”.” Almost all tattooers are creative, but just few percents from them have decent technique that helps represent creative tattoos.

Q: How much experimenting is important when it comes to creative progress? Would you change something in your style?
A: Experimenting is 100% crucial! I evolve everything constantly, I look for a new approach for the technique, for various details, for new equipment, new ways of mixing or diluting ink. I look for new ways of selecting designs, preparing them etc. I have always been experimenting since day one! Every one of my long-term customers have heard the same story. When they visit me once in a few months, I always tell them that we will be working in a different way, that I have come up with something now and that I want to experiment on them! And yes, I want to change a lot of things in terms of my style but I don’t want to describe what I am currently thinking and working on. Just follow my works and you will be up to date :relaxed:

Q: I like both black and gray and the color tattoos you did, but I must say, the color ones look amazing, like a painting. How much the knowledge of tattoo ink plays a big role not just for the final result but even after the tattoo heals?
A: Yes, I work in both styles and I have a theory that only by mastering black and gray you can work with colored ink at maximum quality. The ink is important, but most of the leading ink labels produce good quality product. It is up to the artist to choose which ink fits his arm and technique. I use the ink produced by World Famous extremely satisfied, I like it when the pigmentation is of medium consistency – neither too liquid, nor too thick. This type of ink can be used to tattoo tightly in a single pass and also to tattoo by applying a layered technique. Due to this, tattooing with colors is easier for me – straight away you can see how the color will look after healing. Black & Gray is more difficult in these terms – you need to have a good understanding of how the tone will change after healing.

Q: Do you think color ink give the final outcome a bit more of an expressive note?
A: Indeed! That is the exact reason why I prefer color ink! By using colors, I can express my thoughts better, I love the brightness and richness of colors. I enjoy having the opportunity of creating a strong contrast according to the temperature of the color. Wheatear the dominant color is cold or warm dictates the mood of the artwork.

Q: Do you help your clients when it comes to tattoo ideas? How much is important to be open minded and cool with ideas from your clients? Are any weird requests that you did tattoo?
A: Of course, I help my customers to develop their ideas. Most of my customers come to me because they like the way I tattoo and their ideas relates with my artwork, because of this I rarely experience any problems with my customers. I also have a personal assistant and he is my Firewall! Thanks to him, I rarely encounter any difficult customers as he resigns them from my schedule during the first stages of the organizing a session.

Most of the weird tattoos are requested from the artists that have been working for 2-3 years, as when you get on a professional level the difficult clientele begins to sift out.

Q: Many will probably think that is super fun to be a tattoo artist. You travel a lot, meet new people... What's the best part you cherish the most?
A: I love everything about this career – the opportunity to bring my ideas to fruition, for the traveling, for the encounters and for all the opportunities possible due to this path. But most favorite part of my job is to tattoo! I love tattooing and I love looking at skin as color begins to take over it, I enjoy the process.

Q: Any motivational words for those who are willing to try becoming a pro artist? What's the best approach?
A: The classic approach is the best! You need to start by developing your interest into a love for the culture, to research the culture’s history. Tattoos have to be done while being respectful towards your colleagues, by processing critique from the more experienced people, but you should never take negative commentaries close to your heart. It is important to surround yourself with good artists and positive people, to strive to be in the places or groups where you count as the weakest of the strong. Being self-critical without tearing yourself apart is important. Constantly learning and being productive is key.

Artemijs “Agat Tattoo” Saveljevs
personal assistant. Oskars Z.

Mr.Artemijs Saveljevs Thank you for the interview,
Kind Regards,
Iva Green