interview with Maksims Zotovs - laky| riga, latvia 29/07/2018


Tell us a bit about yourself. And what did you do before you started tattooing?
A: My name is Maksims Zotovs aka Laky. I am from Latvia, Riga. I enjoy spending time with my family. I like extreme sports like skateboarding, snowboarding and mountain biking. Before I started tattooing I worked in UK in warehouse as a picker and packer.

Q: How did you get the idea to become a tattoo artist and how long have you been tattooing?
A: I never thought of becoming a tattoo artist, I wanted to be an architect. I always wanted to have tattoo done by Florian Karg, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough money to make a booking. I started to take more interest in tattoos. I watched many “How to” videos and finally bought my first tattoo kit on eBay. Oh man, I still remember how excited I was. Professionally I have been tattooing since 2013.

Q: What did your family and friends think about you getting into the business?
A: My family thought I was just wasting my time. They told me ’Stop fooling around and go get yourself a proper job’. My wife (girlfriend at that time) only encouraged and supported me to become an artist.

Q: Where are you located, something about your tattoo studio.
A: My shop is in centre of Sigulda. It has massive windows. Shelves are full of animal skulls, books about art. On the walls I got paintings from my tattoo artist friends, deer horns and graffiti that I made myself.

Q: Tell us something about the making process, from a basic idea to the final design, it must be a fun but hard work to put your own unique touch on each design?
A: First of all I need to meet the person who I’m gonna be working with. I need to see this person's character and only then I can make a unique design. About how I try to put my own unique touch into tattoo I will keep to myself. That is TOP SECRET.

Q: What was the first tattoo you ever did?
A: The first tattoo I made was an ACORN. My friend who I used to work with in the same warehouse wanted a tattoo. He didn’t know what to have and I suggested an Acorn on lower part of the leg. Why? Because his nickname was and still is an Acorn.

Q: Would you give your style a name? Since you're known for doing lots of different styles, do you have any favorite?
A: My stile of tattooing is spontaneous. I like to experiment with different styles, but horror tattoos are my cup of tea.

Q: Do you see tattooing as a job or a way to express your creative side?
A: In my opinion being tattoo artist is not a job! For me to be a tattoo artist is to have my own personality. I do tattoos because it is my passion and I can be creative as much as I can.

Q: Do you have any role models, artists who have inspired you?
A: My role model is Florian Karg, Den Yakovlev, Denis Sivak. I like their style of tattooing. I find their work very inspiring. Other
sources are my friends from different countries who are tattoo artists as well. We share tricks and tips with each other about tattooing.

Q: Tattooing can be a really fun job, any stories?
A: There is one story I will never forget. I lied to one girl who was a friend of my friend that I'm a professional tattoo artist (I was just a beginner who made only two tattoos). She came to me, got tattoo which was actually pretty good and left. After session I called her and asked if she wants to meet to show me how is her tattoo healing. We met the next day, I asked her if she wanted to go on a date. Now she is my wife.

Q: How much the connection between a professional tattoo artist and the clients is important? What are the usual expectations?
A: A client should expect professionalism, amiability. I expect the client to be reliable and most of all I expect them to take care of their tattoo.

Q: What are the pros and cons of being a tattoo artist?
A: The good part is, I meet a lot of new people including tattoo artists. I like to go to different tattoo studios for guest spots. Since I started to work longer hours my back started to hurt a lot. After a long day of tattooing my eyes hurt.

Q: What criteria do you think that a tattoo convention shall have to be really successful, both for you as a tattoo artist, but also for the visitors? Can you give some examples of conventions which meet these criteria really well?
A: First of all zero corruption! Professionalism and people who are organizing tattoo conventions need to think about entertainment for visitors, so they don’t leave as soon as they have seen every booth with tattoo artist in it. In my opinion the best conventions which meet these criteria are London Tattoo Convention, Amsterdam Tattoo Convention and Milano Tattoo Convention.

Q: What is the opinion about tattoo art in Latvia?
A: In Latvia there are different opinions about tattoos. Some people like them some people don’t. Personally, I don’t listen to those who are saying mean things towards me. They don’t deserve my attention.

Q: Have you noticed any changes in the tattoo industry since you started?
In tattoo industry everything changes very quickly. In my opinion that is a very good thing because at the end of the day tattoo artists can choose the most appropriate equipment for them. I'm really happy that I can use tattoo cartridges instead of needles.

Q: I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Is there anything else you want to say?
A: I want to say thank you to all my friends, family members, my sponsors: Radiant Colors USA, FK
Irons, Sorry Mom Products and Ez cartridges. Special thanks to my wife, family, friends who took a big part of who I am now.

Mr.Maksims Zotovs, Thank you for the interview,
Kind Regards,
The Skin Artist Team