Interview with Piotr Banasiak

  Hello Piotr Banasiak! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. We really appreciate. Please start by telling us something about yourself and your background. Hello everyone, I’m originally from Poland where my art journey began. I started with graffiti and airbrush painting. Ten years ago I moved to London and six years ago I bought my first tattoo machine. The first tattoo I’ve done was on myself. After many hours of watching tutorial videos on YouTube and following many artists' tips, I started to do tattoos for my friends first. Today I work with great people and I have huge client base and they are coming back for more and more tattoos because they trust me. That makes me happy and now I know the decision I made six years ago, was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Q: What inspired you to start tattooing?
A: The birth of my son. When I found out that I will be a father, I decided to change my life for better. My previous job wasn’t my dream job, so I had a feeling of being stuck. I was bored and unfulfilled. I said to myself "Let’s do this, fight for your dreams"

Q: Even the very talented people who have great drawing skills sometimes struggle to learn tattooing. Tattooing is a different skill although, I believe it is important to have good drawing skills as at least a good "base line" do you agree?
A: I totally agree, however drawing skills are very important, because it's what tattoing is based on. If you have basic knowledge you can make your tattoo technique more effective, professional and do unique designs. Of course tattooing and drawing are different things but you can’t do great tattoos if you don’t know “how to use pencil”. This is one of the things which I really like in tattooing, that everyday I can learn something else (non of my days are the same) new techniques, new products new tricks etc. You need to be open for new stuff. I’m still watching other great artists. I’m asking, reading, practicing. I’m lucky because around me there are many great artists. One of them is Damian Gorski who helped me a lot.

Q: As a beginner, what part of getting into this business was the most challenging?
A: Everything was challenging. If I need to choose one thing, I think it was my first convention. It was very stressful and exciting at the same time. But in the end it was worth it. I won 1st place for the best color tattoo and now I remember it so well, as I was around big names and managed to get recognised.

Q: What kept you motivated?
A: My customers' satisfaction is my biggest motivation. When I see how happy and proud they are, it excites me and I'm full with positive energy. Seeing my progress motivates me so much. I know hard work pays off and this push me forward.

Q: When did you realize that tattooing is no longer a hobby but a profession?
A: Well, as said by Confucius “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

Q: I bet in the early days you were trying all kinds of stuff and techniques... How long took you to figure out your creative direction?
A: At the very beginning I thought I would do only realistic black and grey tattoos but after few years I warmed up to do some color realistic tattoos and surrealism style. For now I think it’s something that I really want to do. So it took me few years to realise what my true calling was but it was all worth it in the end.

Q: Tattoo realism... It's still one of the most difficult styles to learn and master technically. I can tell, that you really put your heart and soul into your work, literally every tattoo looks amazing! What do you like the most about this style?
A: Thank you so much for your kind words. I love attention to details and shading and realism gives me this opportunity. I can find inspiration everywhere. I can express myself. The way how the tattoo looks-classic and stylish but never boring. They are a piece of art. I think realistic tattoos are the best.

Q: Every client expect perfection here. No cover ups, not even a small mistake. I guess this sometimes can pressure the artist... But I also believe the experience, good communication with the client will do the "trick" Do you agree?
A: Totally! The ability to work under pressure and maintaining attention to detail it’s very important for the tattoo artists. Artists need to be confident, flexible and as you said, to have great skills to make clients' dream come true. Excellent communication with the customers is a basic rule. You won't meet your client's expectations if you don't understand each other.

Q: Color realism... Ah! Even more difficult than black and white tattooing? You really need to get those details correct and the colors should "blend" in a beautiful harmony that will give the whole design a nice final look. How much the knowledge of the tattoo ink and its application play a key role here?
A: Knowledge about products in general is priority not only about inks but also about needles, machine etc. It's very helpful. Good to know specifications but the most important part here is practice. To learn how to use products and use their potential to the maximun. Every single artist has their own favourite inks. Me too. For perfect results, the artist has to have their own technique, but that comes with experience. Even the best inks won't do a good tattoo if the artist doesn’t know how to use them properly. As you said in color realism, tattoo blending and shading skills are very important to get the good results.

Q: Which colors are usually the best choice if the client wants that long lasting - fresh tattoo look alike? Ah we all know, we don't like when the ink fades.
A: I believe all artists use good inks. But as I mentioned before is not only the inks or colors. To enjoy the beauty of the tattoos we need a great artist who know how to do proper work, great products and also the customers need to take care of their tattoos. Once the healing process is over, it's very important to take care of the tattoo, like moisturising and we need to be careful with sunlight, use Spf.

Q: Do you have any favorite tattoo you did that is like "level up" creatively and technically? Or just a favorite piece?
A: Every artist have one. I’m proud of all my tattoos but my favourite one is one of my recent ones. I have done collaboration with one of the best tattoo artists Damian Gorski. Three days in row, two machines, and one brave and strong client. The final result was even better than I expected. I’m so excited and glad to share this amazing back piece with you guys. I think it’s my the best piece of art so far.

Q: I saw it... I was like... Wow! You guys did an excellent job! Sincere compliments!
A: I really appreciate the kind words. The collaboration was Damian’s idea, however I thought about it too so it came in at right place and at right time. We both designed few projects and our customer chose this one. We met and we did our brainstorming, changed a few details and we had the coolest design. Team work was definitely a key.

Q: Since it is a big tattoo, how many hours you worked on this?
A: Something between 40-45 hours.

Q: I believe, working with other artists is not only a good opportunity to learn a lot but it is also a great way to meet new people, potential clients, gain confidence and respect from many other artists. What do you like the most about tattoo collaborations?
A: You are absolutely right! Collaboration is a great opportunity to learn. It was a very motivating experience for me. When we work together, we can do bigger, more creative and crazy tattoos. The opportunity to work with other artists on the same project is also a valuable lesson as you can watch them working. Who wouldn’t love it?

Q: Do you plan to work with other artists?
A: I would love that and I hope I will. Hmm... I'm open for suggestions.

Q: I know tattoo realism can be done in many ways, but having the skills you have, ever thought to try a completely different style?
A: To be honest no. I love to do realism and surrealism black and gray and color. I can express myself. I focus on what I do. I would rather master one style than be average in few.

Q: What would be the "craziest" custom made design like... Ever? Any dream piece that is still "waiting" to be on someone's skin?
A: I have few designs which I really want to do. All of them are big and definitely not for one session and quite unusual.

Q: I believe if someone is talented, creative and most importantly hard working, success is guaranteed. There is really no magic... Your thoughts?
A: That’s true. Hard work, practice, creativity, initiative, curiosity, respect for others, ability to work under pressure, patience and confidence - not arrogance is not a magic, but all of this can do bit of magic.

Q: In few words, please encourage my young audience who would like to try tattooing and maybe get into this business.
A: If you want to do something, go for it. You've got nothing to lose. Practice, learn and dream big!