interview with Lena Diamanti | Gmart Tattoo | greece |30/04/2019

Hello Lena Diamanti! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. It's always nice to catch up with a female artist in this scene, since the guys seem still to be more dominant in numbers... However, I'm so glad that you found your place in this big industry. Let's hope we will inspire the people out there with our conversation and maybe some will get into this business too.

Q: When the fascination for tattoo art first began? Did you feel inspired by someone?
A: Honestly I never thought that the art of tattoo will mean the world for me until the first time my needles touched the skin. It was a defining moment for me that helped me realize my true call. The person that inspired me and imparted me with the love of tattoo was my husband. With out him it is certain I would have never imagined myself to be a tattoo artist.

Q: How did you learn the basics of tattooing? What type of tattoos you used to do back then?
A: We had a mutual friend who was owner of a tattoo parlor. When we discussed about my intentions to start tattooing, he invited me to teach me the basics.

But unfortunately I had more questions than answers... My husband noticed my frustration and he started scanning all the available sources of information and guidelines from the internet. He watched every video, every discussion on forums and basically any type of available form of information related to tattooing, inks, machines and techniques... And due to the fact that I didn't speak English at all he translated the most Valuable information to me on Greek so I can understand it. So to answer your question I learned everything that I know from a person that he didn't know how to tattoo. And I'm really lucky and eternally grateful for that! From the beginning the style that attracted me the most was realism. I tried to focus only on this.

Q: What type of art outside tattooing inspire you?
A: I was really into drawing from a young age. I remember myself as a child spending countless hours drawing everything around me! So definitely drawing played a vital part in my life.

- Any favorite tattoo artists, you look up to?
I have a lot of artists I look up to for different reasons... But if I have to choose I would say Niko Hurtado and Dimitri Samohin would be the most distinctive.

Q: Today, your work looks amazing. Seriously, I've seen so many people trying to master the very famous tattoo realism style, some take it even as challenge... it's surprising how many of you actually achieve such a great level. Nowadays, tattoos are definitely more than just a simple ready-made design from the internet. How long it took you to reach this level?
A: First of all thank you very much for your kind words! I don't believe that I have master the technique of realism and I don't believe that you will hear from any artist that they did. It is a continuous learning process that with out 100% commitment you can't evolve as an artist, especially in this era. I work professionally for the last two and a half years.

Q: The color works... I'm confused, I think I see a photograph not a tattoo, how cool! Color realism gives definitely more expressive approach. What details are most time consuming while doing a portrait tattoo?
A: I definitely agree with you that color realism gives a different dimension and more expressive approach than the black and grey style. The most time consuming in the process of doing portrait tattoos is the facial features: the eyes, the nose and the lips. I focus on these three features. Any changes on this three aspects automatically deforms the final result.

Q: There's no "undo" or "edit" option when it comes to tattooing, everything has to be well placed and planned before the session. Do you collaborate with your clients, do you give them some advice like on placement, color, size etc?
A: The most crucial factor to achieve a great result is the communication and a good collaboration with my customers. I listen carefully to their wishes but I always advise them what they must do for their best interest. Most of the time the client doesn't know the best placement or the basics rules of the composition. My job is to take their ideas and try to find what would be the best placement, color and size to capture their vision.

- Do you accept some reference images or you prefer the design to be your own creation?
I always ask for photo reference because it helps me to understand in depth their vision. But I take it only as an initial base so I can create an original design.

Q: Your tattoo portfolio shows all of your hard work and talent for sure. But something that I find fascinating too, is your painting style. I can't even pick a favorite piece. Ok, probably the latest one, the eye! Oh, my goodness... Impressive work Lena! Do you sell your paintings or it's a fun hobby? Please plan an expo, do something more, you're amazing!
A: At this point I have only sold one and it was a custom design that I also tattooed on my customer. The truth is that we have already discussed about the possibility of an expo in the near future. But is really difficult to find the time and a place to paint more because for the time being, I travel all around the world and I can't focus on that while I'm on tour. It is definitely one of my feature plans!

- I guess, painting gives you a way more creative freedom rather than tattooing?
No, for me painting and tattooing in regards to the creative freedom are absolutely the same. The only think different is the canvas

Q: How is to be a good looking lady in this industry? Any funny experiences with the customers?
A: I work as a team with my husband. He is my manager, my photographer and also my videographer. And most of the times we film all the progress for our YouTube channel. So incidents as the ones you describe are unlikely to happen.

- To get more serious, what is the most rewarding aspect of being a professional tattoo artist? Would you change something?
Most of my designs are two or three days in row and after all this work and clients effort and patience the most rewarding aspect is the satisfaction and the expression on their face from the final result. It is really tough and demanding industry but I would change nothing.

Q: You're on the road or I should say on the plane more often than many who prefer to be local heroes doing their known stuff. From Greece to all over the world. Bravo! How much the foreign experience changed you as a person and helped you to gain knowledge as a tattoo artist?
A: Being constantly on the road helped me to evolve as an artist and as a person. I have a first hand opportunity to learn about new culture, meet with other tattoo artists and draw artistic influences from exhibition or museum that I have the opportunity to visit in person. It also helped me expand my clientele outside the boundaries of my country. And one of the most amazing facts from this is knowing that many people in different countries around the world have a piece of your art or better, your soul forever with them.

Q: What is your advice for those who are willing to start tattooing?
A: Don't give up! Don't listen to the Nay sayers! Be humble! Find your vision and as my manager says work harder than you think that you worked yesterday.Do that and everything is possible!

Please write down your contact info and studio location.
Instagram: @lena_diamanti
Facebook: lena.diamanti.tattoos
YouTube: Gmart Tattoo

Lena Diamanti, Thanks for the interview,
Kind Regards,
The team