Interview with tattoo artist Droze

  HHello Mr.Konstantinos Stavropoulos aka Droze! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please start by telling us something about yourself and your background. Were you like an artistic kid who liked drawing sketches at school? Hello, I’m Mr Droze ever since I can remember, I used to draw incessantly everywhere, even at school, turning everything into a canvas! I’m Greek and I come from the city of my heart, the beautiful Patras.

Q: When you did your first tattoo? What was it? How was the feeling to tattoo someone for the first time?
A: I did my first tattoo when I was 19 years old, it was a star! I vividly remember, it’s like I am living it now! It felt weird and unfamiliar. Having the tattoo machine between my fingers, I remember, I was holding on to it so tightly, maybe because of stress! It was the first time that instead of using pencils and an eraser, there was a tattoo machine and ink that had to be precisely drawn on my childhood friend's skin. When the process was completed I was ecstatic, I had just created my first tattoo! It felt amazing! Unique! But at the same time I had an unquenchable thirst to experiment, to get better, to evolve!

Q: How long took you to lean the basics and gain regular clients? Did anyone help you?
A: I can say that for two years I experimented continuously, discovering new techniques in drawing lines, shadows... challenging myself endlessly to try whatever stimulated my perception and then my imagination. It was an endless domino effect of knowledge and challenges. I wasn’t helped by anyone in particular or perhaps I was helped by many artists without realizing it.. I had the luxury of attending tattoo conventions and to converse with great artists, asking questions... I can say I was particularly observant and my perception went through the roof! Techniques! A treasure trove of information that guided me to be better!

Q: Tattooing may look like an easy job, especially for those who have good drawing skills, but still tattooing is a separate technique that needs to be practiced. What kind of tattoos you use to do as a beginner and how long took you to gain confidence?
A: The truth is that many people perceive that being a tattoo artist is an easy job, but the reality is a bit different. Tattooing is a constant and uninterrupted practice and it is a very special art form in which my initiation started by creating letters, words, small designs and slowly my imagination went on to bigger and more intricate designs as well as creating new patterns. Four years later, I had a loyal clientele that kept growing. I will admit that this gave me even more impetus and even more drive to become better.

Q: I see you only do realistic tattoos. Would you try something different in the feature?
A: In the beginning stages of my tattoo career, I tried and experimented with various tattoo styles but not for long. Very soon I realized that realism for me is a way of perception, a way of life and a supreme art.

Q: The portraits look awesome. Sincere compliments! I don't have a favorite but if I have to choose one, I guess it's the portrait of Keith Richards. How long took you to finish this masterpiece?
A: Thank you very much! The potraits are the biggest challenge for me, they have to be indefatigable and to have such similarity as the subject for maximum impact! Keith is my favorite portrait, while I was creating it I was obsessing over the details. I was immersed in the technique, it took two sessions. As for the colored logo, it was a creative moment. I don’t know if this will sound strange but I admire this tattoo because it challenged me to evolve and be more creative.

Q: Portraits can be tricky to do, unless you're very talented, one mistake can ruin the whole tattoo, oh and there is no "edit" here! I guess there's a beauty in the cahllenge... to master this style, right?
A: I find it very appealing to create intricate details on the faces, for me, it is an incredible challenge to create and bring out every detail. Exactly! This is the magic and the ultimate challenge that, there are no editing or delete keys.

Q: What else fascinates you about tattoo realism?
A: An integral part of the Renaissance era, classical realism is part of this specialized technique. The realism of today, expressed through the art of tattooing, it takes us on an enchanting jouney of unimaginable details. Every detail is represented with absolute accuracy, multiple techniques that are fascinating, all of this intrigues me, all this is a permanent interest, realism is true science!

Q: The details play a key role. I see an interesting mix with some lettering and other photos mixed in one design. How cool! I like the lettering a lot. Who comes ups up with these ideas? You or your clients?
A: The creation of a project is an excellent process with multiple perspectives which excites me! Usually, my clients give me their initial idea and this is a source of imagination for me, I give them different alternatives that create interesting perspectives for a personalized project. I have a restless spirit and I'm constantly looking for new ideas. I often experiment with different designs, one of them being letters in combination with an image.

Q: Creative people are truly blessed with a mind that constantly produces new ideas - all it takes it's just time and enthusiasm - boom! The inspiration just flows. How important is to be open minded, communicate, ask and learn new skills?
A: The two visions of creation require you to find the perfect balance between blessing and creation. The mind is like an endless fountain of ideas that receives a barrage of challenges, inspiration is the most important driverof development and growth. Everything flows, if the flow stops it stagnates and I am a person who despises stagnation. I never stop decoding messages, I do this every day, I find new ways of improvement. My glory is an integral part of my daily life and I'm always aware of whatever new things are happening. A closed mind cannot be accomodated in the mind of a realist. If you don’t ask questions you won’t go far if you are not informed you won't evolve, if you are not communicative you become introverted and growth is limited.

Q: Do you have like a "dream piece" that you have on your mind or maybe on your iPad saved for a special client?
A: I have started a large project with just the back in mind and as I worked on the design on the tablet a surge of ideas came to me and now it covers almost the entire back side of his body. It will take several more sessions to complete it but I am really looking forward to seeing it done and sharing it with you.

Q: What are some the other creative projects you're working on outside tattooing? It could be painting or digital art etc?
A: In this period of my life, I would say that I have completely devoted myself to tattooing because for me it is an inexhaustible source of excitement.

Q: How is the tattoo scene in Greece? Do you see progress?
A: The first tattoo studio in Europe opened in Greece, it would be wonderful if, in proportion to the years that have passed, there was a corresponding developement but there are gradual small steps in the expansion of the branch in the country. Fortunately, now there is a great progress and developement in the recent years and is expanding more and more.

Q: If you are starting out today, what steps will you take?
A: I love desgn so I would continue to practice drawing, I would of liked to have been taught freehand drawing by an artist, possibly have attended an art school so I can obtain more knowledge. I might have gone to be an apprentice to a great artist. In short, knowledge does not lead to growth and developement and growth, developement does not lead to experience and to successful and innovative creation. Do not leave anything unexplored that brings you closer to what you dream of! I was dreaming of drawings and ink and was always challenging myself to learn and evolve, I still do!