Interview with tattoo artist Tomas Hanik

  Hello Tomáš Haník! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. Please start by telling us something about yourself and your background. Hello, my name is Tomas, I'm a tattoo artist from Slovakia. Currently I'm living and working in Prague. Before I started tattooing, I was mostly into graffiti and skateboarding, but tattooing changed my whole life for the better. I couldn't imagine this before.

Q: How it all started? Did you feel inspired by someone?
A: I have got a friend, who did my first tattoo when I was 15-16 years old. When I was 19 I bought my first machine and I started tattooing myself and my friends. They trusted me, so I can try my first lines, shades and colors, Big Thanks to them! I had and still have big support from my family. When I did my first small tattoos I was convinced that I don't want to do anying else than tattooing.

Q: How long have you been tattooing?
A: I'm profesionaly for six years now.

Q: What was the most difficult part, what kept you motivated?
A: For me it was the beginning when I move from Slovakia to Prague. No clients, just few small works. But I was still working on my designs, tattooing my designs for free. Just to show what I can really do. It took around half or one year, everything was new for me, but I love everything about those times.

Q: How long it took you to figure out your creative process and gain confidence?
A: About 3 years I was tattooing all kind of tattoos, like small letterings, dotwork etc. Then I started to push my clinets into tattoos I really wanted to do, like some kind of realistic tattoos. The more I was doing tattoos I like, the more confidence I've got. My clients trusted me, which was very important. Also big inspiration from other artists.

Q: You have a really interesting style. Would you give it a name?
A: Thank you! I don't have a special name. I just love to work with emotions and facial expressions with some kind of surrealistic twist.

Q: I like the portraits and the sleeve designs. Really creative! Who comes up with the ideas? Tell me more about the creative part.
A: I love that my custumers trust me a lot. Sometimes they send me some of my work that they like, and I can do whatever I want. Sometimes they tell me the story behind the tattoo, for example one custumer tells a story about his love, long relationship, that ended, and he understood lot of stuff in different ways. So I imagined some face without or with covered eyes with like agony - expression and some others things what are connected to his story. So depends, but a lot of designs are without some deeper meanings. I just try to make them look good. Designs takes me around 3 hours, but again it depends, sometimes it's one hour, sometimes I delete 10 designs in a row because I'm not okay how it looks and it takes my whole day.

Q: It's really interesting how each portrait has its own unique details and yet all look somewhat similar.
A: Yess I'm trying to keep some stuff similiar, using same style of abstract lines, color palette, etc. But it's always changing and I'm still finding something different that I can add into it. 

Q: What are the best experiences with the customers? Any favorite story?
A: The best experience is deffinetly that one of my customers turned into my girlfriend 4 years ago and into my wife next year.

Q: As a creative and talented person, are you open to work with other artists and share your knowledge? Something like guest spots or seminars.
A: I don't feel okay to do seminars for now, I need to understand it a little bit more. I love doing guest spots, to change the work place for a while, and meet a lot of new amazing artists around the world.

Q: There's no doubt that the tattoo scene today is really big. It's like the last decade something really shifted. From creative designs, to new styles and better equipment. The competition is insane, but I'm glad for the progress. Do you agree?
A: Yes it's amazing how every day you can see some new impressive artwork. The equipment deffinetly helps a lot, from ipads to needles. You can work so much faster and more precisely.

Q: What's your opinion about your local scene?
A: I think in Slovakia and Czech Republic there are a lot of great artists with unique styles.

Q: What do you cherish the most?
A: That every day I can wake up and do just what I love with the best people around me.

Q: Any advice for the new artists?
A: Just keep doing the style that you love, work a lot on yourself and enjoy the best life that tattooing can give you.