Exclusive interview with boris tattoo  |  Vienna,  Austria  | 07/03/2016

Hello Boris! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our magazine. It's a great honor having you here. You have a lot to talk about, not just about your tattoo style but also about the life of a professional and dedicated artist.

Q: How it all started, what made you to become a tattoo artist? Do you have any art background?
A: I'm Hungarian, I lived in Hungary. I spent my childhood in the communism, when tattooing was forbidden. In 1989 changes arrived, communism ended and the first tattoo studios have opened up. It was mysterious, mystic and because when I was young, I loved to draw as a hobby, I felt like this is something I would like to try. At age 20, when I was enlisted in mandatory military service, I made my first tattoos in the army base. I am a first generation tattoo artists in Hungary, I didn’t had to learn only tattooing, but also figure out what to work with and where I can get it from, which was really complicated at the beginning of the 90’s. In the first couple of years I learned by myself, as autodidact, then in the following two years I visited some Western European conventions and as a visitor I tried to learn tattoo artist’s secrets through close observation. :)

Q: I love the fact that you love to play with different styles, making a beautiful final piece. This makes me think that you don't have a favorite style, but you're constantly trying to mix the styles and make unique tattoos. Could you please tell me more about the creative process of tattooing?
A: As in Hungary there were no tattoo artists, there was no tattoo art, I had to find by myself, what works the best on the skin and the best tattoo style that would be closer to my personality. The creative process of tattooing, starts for me when the client gets in touch with me for the first time. I place great emphasis on the conversation with the client and when I feel I see clearly his/her request, then I give my knowledge and my own imagination.

Usually I need a few keywords to get my imagination start. Depending on the request, on the pattern, I often start with a smaller, thumbnail- like sketches and if the composition works fine in that size, I make the design in a larger size. Sometimes I make photos for it, sometimes I search on google for photo references and use them to make the design. But I handle the pattern-design only as draft all the time, despite that they are very well developed and understandable. I do keep the right for any changes till the design gets on the skin, as sometimes the body itself, the form of the body requires it. The scheme is made on paper, on monitor, in plain flat, but the art gets its final form on the body due to it’s spatiality.

Q: Your color work is impressive, I get lost in all the different color shades, textures... Do you prefer color ink, or you also find fascination in the black & gray tattoos?
A: Thank you very much. Yes, I place a fairly great emphasis on making large tattoos, because I think the biggest challenges and the most evaluable arts are the ones which are made in great consistency and in large surface on the body. So, do I like more, the color or the black? For many years I preferred color tattoos, but I could and liked to make black tattoos too. Despite this, basically I still think till this day, that there are much more potential in color tattoos, there are more possibilities to express the meaning of the tattoo in color. Nevertheless, in the past years I made some larger and more exciting black and grey tattoos, which are really close to my heart. To tell you the truth, it is hard to choose, usually I leave the decision to the client, how he/she wants the tattoo to be made, what tattoo he/she would like, I make both with pleasure.

Q: I guess there is a bit of misunderstanding or... Would you say that color tattoos are more difficult to work on, from a technical aspect? Oh, and is it true that applying color ink hurt more? :)
A: Generally, I would probably say yes. But for many years it was more simple for me and the simple reason for this is that during color tattooing, there are better possibilities to make changes on the tattoo during the making process. It is possible to darken the lighter tones, or to make dark tones lighter, which can not be said about the black and gray tattoos. There, I'm unable to make a dark gray tone to light gray. So, the responsibility of this is greater. For me it was always harder, it required more attention. When it comes to color tattoos, it is possible to mix the tones even on the skin. With this I want to say for example if I apply a white or yellow layer on a light red surface, the pigments will mix in the skin and the red will show a more pale, a lighter tone after healing. With black and gray there is no possibility for this.

About the pain. Yes, probably due to this, the color tattoos can be more painful, but these days, there are very good numbing products from different companies, which explicate their effects especially due to the layering tattooing, so I can say it from experience, that they are very effective and they reduce pain greatly.

Q: Tattoo artists should be responsible when it comes to their client's health. Do you have any quick advice for all those who are getting tattoos for first time? The ultimate DON'T (s)?
A: The quality and the condition of the skin has a serious effect on the outcome of the tattoo, how it can be made on it. On the client’s skin quality, his/her lifestyle can be perceptible very well. So with healthy lifestyle, proper eating, drinking the right amount of water, the skin also can be brought or kept in a good condition till the tattoo gets ready. I recommend to take the right amount of vitamin. For example I recommend to all of my clients before their appointment, to take 3000-5000 mg vitamin C in the form of pills. They can start to take it for example 3 days before the appointment day, and due to this, the skin will be less hemophilic, also it will be more flexible, firmer, so it is easier to tattoo it, much easier to make a good tattoo on it. In fact I think that would be the most important which I would tell the client.

Q: Being tattoo artist could be a fun profession. You meet a lot of different people every day. Any cool memories to share with us? Like the funniest client or the most bizarre tattoo request ever? :))
A: Well, this question is... :-) it’s really fun. Yeah, we can say it’s a fun profession. We meet different people every day, but also me for many years now, I work on one client a day, but probably in a food store we can meet 100-1000 times more people, so 100-1000 times more funny stories happen. In fact I don’t remember the funny stories, I remember the pleasant hours I spend with my clients, talking, getting to know each other. I think this side of the tattooing is much more memorable than extremist cases when the stories turn into funny or ridiculous.

Q: "Boris Tattoo" is your tattoo studio in Vienna Austria. I bet that place is one of the best places in Vienna to get tattooed! It must be. You have a really nice team, there are some cool resident artists like: Krisz Molnar, Betti and Gege. All of them have different styles, so I'm sure any client will find their artist, depending on the style they want...

- How do you feel working with all of this great people?
Right now my studio can be found in Vienna, the capitol of Austria, but the team I work together with, worked with me much earlier already in Hungary too. With Krisztian Molnar we worked together in the late 90’s for 7-8 years, he was one of the first members of Boristattoo. After 8 years we went apart, he wanted to go on his own ways. Then years later-two years ago he returned to us and since then he’s been working together again. Betti and Gege, they are a couple, our relationship with them goes back also for many years. Betti was aapprentice in our studio, what she does she learned it here. This nice progression that she achieved, probably can be attributed to the influence of the people surrounding her and to her talent together. I like to work with these people, we are together for a long time, we get along well, we understand each other, we cooperate with each other, we have good influence on each other. So I think this team got combined like this, because in each of it’s component is viable.

Q: Something that is also cool about your tattoo studio is the fact that you offer guest spots too. Actually, one of the best names out there, Dmitriy Samohin, Sandor Pongor, Otte Timar, Domantas Parvainis, Randy Engelhard were all part of your tattoo studio. How do you pick up your artists? Do you have any special term etc?
A: One of the reasons I moved my studio from Hungary to Austria-Vienna was that I wanted to host those many many great tattoo artist I got to know during these years, and for this a kind of enviroment was needed where there is suitable market, and can be reached easily. In Hungary I was working in a small rural town, where I would not be able to accomplish all this. My relationships with the listed tattoo artists go back for years, all of them are very talented people of today's tattoo world. I got to know them on conventions or through the internet and I invited and hosted them in my studio to deepen our acquaintance, not only to the professional, but to personal direction too. I have to say that, working with them, I had to realize had to perceive that a talented tattoo artist is not talented only because he/she pursue the maximum in the artistic field he/she creates, but each of them as a person being really unique, fascinating, their way of thinking, their human values made them a kind of tattoo artist what they become to be.

Q: As an experienced and well know artist, you can proudly say that you have your own signed ink collection, under the brand "Intenze". Congratulations! Tell me more about this collaboration.
A: The joint work with Intenze…..hm….The joint work has a root going way back compare to when we actually started to work together. It must be known that I started to tattoo at the beginning of the 90’s. The founder and owner of Intenze, Mario Barth opened his first studio about 120 kms from me in the late 80’s. When I started to tattoo, he already had a really good reputation, he had a good name in the tattoo world. Due to the closeness of his studio, I inevitably met in real life with his work too. I knew his works from magazines, I liked them very much, but when I saw them in live, captivated me even more his thoroughly developed works, their technical perfection. Also his clients adoration towards him. So like this, more than 10 years later, when I got a request from Mario Barth regarding a joint work together with Intenze, I happily said yes, because as I said, even at the beginning of my career I looked up to him, I recognized all he did.

As a color lover, it was one of my most memorable days of my life, when I spent a day at Intenze laboratory. That was when together with Mario we created the colors of the Intenze Boris Collection, included 19 elements. But this was only the beginning of the work, it is unbelievably interesting to participate in other kind of works of Intenze, like marketing or attend at their seminars as an instructor which are being organized during conventions, managed by Mario Barth.I a in daily contact with them and I think the secret of Intenze’s success beyond the charismaticism of it’s leader, the excellet Intenze team behind him, together with the excellent work of the tattoo artists being sponsored by Intenze.

Q: People can get tattooed by you on many tattoo conventions. You love to travel and share some experiences with the rest of the artists and fans. Do you have any favorite tattoo convention? Also, don't hesitate to tell us which convention award is your favorite.
A: Yes, you are totally right, I like to travel very much and tattoo on conventions. I travel since 1996, first only as a visitor and a few years later as a participant, we can say for about 20 years now. My favorite convention? Honestly my favourite ones are those conventions where those friends of mine from all over the world are attend too who I can see more rarely. Because a convention is always a good excuse to leave from home and it is a good possibility go sit down with them, to share our things with each other. Before the time of social media it was much more complicated. Today I see daily what they make, in which direction their interest turns to. It was not like this in the days back. However, it can not replace the magic of personal meeting. But as long as I have to talk about my favorites, the Berlin and London conventions are my big favorites in Europe, Paris is also excellent. In the US the Las Vegas and the Long Beach shows are the ones really close to me, but the Pasadena convention which was organized for the first time this year was also one of the best.

Q: You're also part of the Worldwide Tattoo Conference seminars in Portland. This must be really exciting! Can you tell me more about the idea of the seminar and the artists?
A: Yes, I participated in the first three parts of the Worldwide Tattoo Conference. Alex De Pase and Gabe Ripley created an excellent and a very useful event with the Worldwide Tattoo Conference. I think everybody who attended in any of the events agree with me that it provides a uniquely extensive information to the audience and it’s performers lined up today’s best tattooers. By Gabe Ripley, not only the tattoo artists, but the background industry of the tattoo also appeared. From them, not only about artistic advices, artistic experiences the audience could learn, but through them, they could find out a lot about the marketing and self management also. Thanks to the multifarious performers, we were able to get to know separately everybody's vision, their thinking, their attitude to arts. Their visibility, approach, from which direction they turn to the tattoo art. That is why I think, this expanded the vision of each person of the audience, made them more opened, more responsive even to novelties, even to the redefinition of their own art. Primarily not from technical side, but more from artistic and personality point of view.

- Would you say it's career uplifting?
I think by all means it would. A tattoo artist who is invited or who is presenting on event series like this, can be sure or can expect that his/her professional recognition will rise. From the other hand the Worldwide Tattoo Conference is also a business venture and as such, it wants to become successful. To achieve this, one of the criterion is the performer's a priory have to be well known and successful tattoo artists. So I think from one hand yes, that is right, the attendance increases the reputation by all means. On the other hand, on an event like this, as a performer can be only who is basically already had the professional recognition, reputation.

Q: Boris, after so many years in this industry, so many great experiences and so much hard work, what is your next challenge? Do you feel like there is more to explore, more to accomplish?
A: There are short and long term projects which I keep in mind during my work. The past 23 years of my tattoo career I always looked ahead, I always had dreams, wishes which I wanted to accomplish, usually even more at a time. I always put more energy into those where I see more chances to the realization and that is how I was moving forward continuously. After 23 years, is there anything which is a challenge? Of course there is, because I think all those people are lucky who succeed to accomplish his/her dreams, plans, to bring to reality those challenges which they set in front of them. However these successes give such a self-confidence also, which is point forward and take further. A lot of things happened in the past 20 years. 3 years ago I turned 40. It was an interesting feeling, 40 years is a long time and unwittingly I thought about, I did sum-up what happened in the past 20 years. On the other hand it also scares me the many things happened and what else is waiting for me. I am very optimistic though and after all the outcome was my sum-up that is when I started to tattoo 20 years ago, I had no tattoo knowledge, no relations,

I was not known and I had no financial opportunities either. Despite all these, in the past 20 years, soo many good things happened to me, many interesting happenings, if I work hard, if what I do, I do it with heart, I can bring my plans to success. After 20 years I looked back and I had to realize that today I have a professional knowledge, I have a profession reputation, I have a lot of experiences, large and tight relations-connections within the tattoo profession, I also have much more favorable financial opportunities than 20 years ago. I don’t know exactly what will be the challenges of the feature, but one thing is for sure, my chances are much better now to accomplish everything.

Q: Many people nowadays are trying to get their names out, what is your advice?
A: I think there are two point of views which a tattoo artist must comply with to be able to make his/her name known.
The first and maybe the most important is to be excellent in tattooing. Have an excellent technique, have such an aesthetic sense wherewith he/she can evolve, build up such tattoos, motives, compositions, which will be noticed on one hand from the audience, on the other hand –if somebody wants to emerge of the crowd – the industry, the reputed tattoo artists take note of him/her.

Nevertheless, for this it is not enough only to tattoo good, to have this success to come, they have to manage themselves well, if they are good tattoo artists. By that I mean even in the social media, or even within the tattoo scene, in the world of tattoo magazines, they can represent their work by reviving the attention of the bystander. This is not an easy task, because these days there are so many good tattoo artists and on the many different social media surfaces a lot of them appear and a lot of good appear, that I think this is a very-very hard task. But the one who is able to, has enough volition and ambition to reach his/her goal, I'm sure he/she will reach it successfully and will attract the eye of the industry by all means.

Thank you for the interview, thank you very much for the great questions, they made me think.
I really hope I was able to give you interesting and attention grabbing answers to you. All the best!