interview with elena diva dark | creative |  style | russia | 25/05/2019

Hello Elena aka Diva Dark, interesting nickname, I must say, I like it. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. Please start by telling us something about yourself and what inspired you to start tattooing?

I’d like to be called “Diva Dark – tattoo artist”. Such a nickname had aroused before I first took a tattoo machine. I just prefer black to almost all other colors, and somehow there were only dark items of clothes in my wardrobe. The flat interior also predominated with dark shades, even the ceiling was black. Until a certain point, I didn’t think of becoming a tattoo artist, and even more – had no dream of getting a tattoo on my own body. It’s a matter of chance I guess. My friend made a tattoo on his shoulder, which I had never seen in my life, it was like a real picture. That night the thought flashed into my mind to try, and so it began…

Q: How long have you been tattooing? Was it hard to learn? Did you have any mentor?
A: At the moment, my tattoo experience is 2 years exactly. What struck me is the fact that a tattoo machine can’t be compared with either a pencil, or a brush, or a pen. It is something else with its own specific features. My first impression was that it’s too heavy and it’s not easy to find the balance working with skin. My mentor was Vasily Suvorov. With him my sleepless life began (just kidding). He was the master who made the tattoo on my friend’s shoulder I talked before. His only and perhaps the most important condition was to make a tattoo by myself on my body. For me and my family it was shock, but I couldn’t be stopped already (laughing).

Q: You're very creative. All of your works are beautiful mix of many tattoo styles. I guess you take extra hours to draw each of your designs. Do you suggest some ideas to your clients? Do you allow them to bring some reference photos and then mix it all in one design? Tell me more about the making process.
A: In fact, I’ve passed a long interesting way to become a real tattoo artist. Sketches development and tattoos got better day after day. I was trying to overcome my fears and in the end it was for the better. Now I work in my own way mixing different styles and techniques in one – graphics, realism or something else. There isn’t any consistency in my head about what to do. I talk to my clients, listen to them, together we’re looking for some specific idea and start thinking it over. I’d like to notice that I’m always in search of cool sketches, different paintings and photos. There’re a lot of them in my tablet. I used to draw all my designs by hand that took me much time, even more than just much. Plus, sometimes you can’t fix what you have already drawn without redrawing from the very beginning. That’s why I started using the iPad, and that is where I do all my work while creating a design for the next tattoo now.

I always listen to my client very carefully – if something goes wrong we change direction and try again and again until we succeed. However, there are some moments to be explained the client, because he/she is not aware of all the details of our work. So I tell the client about best size to choose and what body part we should use for this tattoo, what is it going to look like after healing and so on and so forth.

Q: Tattoo realism is probably one of the most popular tattoo styles nowadays. Of course, many artists are taking the challenge to master this particular style, many clients want to have such a masterpiece done on their bodies, so yeah, we have seen many portrait tattoos for sure. But I like when a tattoo artist makes their own way of doing this particular style. You made almost a "signature" style in doing this type of work. I love the idea of creating something unique, after all it's the artist's main goal to be unique right? What's your opinion? How would you call your style?
A: Realism is definitely one of the most difficult schools of painting, not all the artists can master it. Even a professional with great experience in it is always a little bit nervous when he starts working, because no matter what kind of materials he has, he is the only one who is responsible for the final result. I tried working with realism, but I always wanted to make something from myself – some idea, thought, brushstroke that don’t actually belong there. You must do what you really love, that’s why I can’t stop myself from mixing different styles together.

Q: Many interesting drawings in your studio. You can frame them and make an expo! ;) Or maybe consider a graphic design as a part time job haha I love them all. Again, very creative. Before considering getting into tattoo business, did you have any artistic background? How much the talent played a big role in what you do today?
A: It’s an interesting question in fact. I used to dream about being an artist when I was a child, but my parents send me to a dancing club. I managed to balance art school with playgroup. After school I went to college of applied arts, faculty of design. Then it was the institute of design and computer graphics. I wanted to become a designer, but as it turned out, working as a designer is not so cool as I imagined. I did miss the art since all design nowadays is done via computer programs. I really wanted to work with my hands. I tried to paint with oils, make photos of my friends, even decorate walls and much more. But tattooing is the best thing you can imagine. Regarding the issue of education, I can certainly say that it gave me a good background, because some things aren’t enough to be done only intuitively. However, I personally know a lot of talented tattoo artists who have no educational background but who take a high place in the tattoo industry. All our artists have their favorite sketches hanging in frames in their workplaces. The clients really like seeing it! I only hang those sketches that have won award at tattoo festivals. To me they mean a lot.

Q: How do you get inspired? Is it hard to get cool ideas every day, especially when the work schedule is crazy and your clients expect from you to give the maximum?
A: It’s difficult to say what inspires me. I love unusual, even specific things. I’m interested in photos, especially photos of women, I really enjoy visiting new places, it’s kind of euphoria to me. Team work is also very cool, we load each other with positive energy, give advice to each other how to do best. I believe that healthy competition is key to our success.

Q: Many people, especially the young believe that being a tattoo artist is a lot of fun, hmm is it?
A: When I first came to the tattoo studio I was told that the job’s really difficult physically and morally. I thought about it a lot and finally decided that I could do that. It’s still hard sometimes, but I’m getting over it because I’m really passionate about what I do. Even my friends at first laughed when I told them that I came home in the middle of the night and couldn’t unbend my back like an old broad. Now I’ve found the way in sport. Sport does help from everything, but rest is also very important!

Q: Having the talent to draw definitely is an open window to explore many new ways of working and maybe even yourself as a person. How much is important to experiment in order to level up artistically?
A: Experimenting is an important part of work of any artist. It helps you to overcome the fear and grow as a professional. Sometimes you just can’t do something perfectly, but it gives you motivation to try again and finish what you have started.

Q: Looking gorgeous and being talented, bringing up some really new, cool style in the business, I guess gives you many opportunities to grow as an artist. Do you have some extra international bookings, like guest spots or working on tattoo conventions?
A: I visit a lot of festivals where I can speak with other artists and share my own artistic specialties. I’m absolutely sure that every tattoo artist should visit at least 3-4 festivals per year. Incredible emotions, miss them so much in my everyday life. Testing yourself, creating a new super-duper project... Plus you can get a reward for that, and that’s the most amazing part. You always get your inspiration there. I visited both local Russian festivals and international. Yet I had no experience working in other studios, but I think everything is ahead.

Q: Anything to look forward?
A: Speaking of my plans for the future - I’m kind of person who is always looking for self-development. I walk this path with enthusiasm. But I don’t want to guess - my life changes very quickly. I do want to become someone in tattoo industry, to multiply my talents.

Q: As a girl in this business and as a promising coming up artist, who is fully dedicated, what would you recommend to those who are willing to try becoming a pro artist?
A: It’s always difficult to succeed in this industry when you’re a girl, because work takes 90% of your time, and you have only 10% left for your personal life, family, children. It’s not for everyone, but if you manage to find a crazy one like yourself, you’ll definitely be on the top. Ambition is our everything.

Please write your contact info:
Instagram: diva_dark_tattoo

Ms,Diva Dark Thank you so much for the interview.
Kind regards,
The team