My name is Vitaly Kravchenko. Originally I’m from Moscow, lived and worked there for a long time, but at the moment I live and work in Spain, Barcelona.
How and when did you decide to become a tattoo artist? Who taught you? How was it?
The answer to the question «how did I become a tattoo artist» is, frankly, a secret for me. I will not say that it was a purposeful movement towards this profession. On the contrary, I was educated in specialties that have nothing to do with art.
I have two diplomas. I’m a design engineer and also a history teacher. And my second profession – a historian, is directly related to my hobby – historical reenactment… I really love history, especially the early medieval period. Viking times and the formation of our state. And one day I just saw the work of Peter Madson (formerly the founder of Meatshop Tattoo studio in Copenhagen) and realized that I wanted to do it.
I loved tattoos, but for me they were revealed somewhat from the philistine side (some standard styles …). I just never went deep into this issue. And when I saw HOW it could be, it turned my world upside down. So I decided to become a tattoo artist.
Nobody ever taught me. I spied on familiar tattooists in one of the studios in Moscow, and the only thing they advised me was a list of equipment, in which was Mastek’s power supply unit and wild inductions from Sergey the Machinist (rest in peace). I tattooed my friends by trial and error, and watched a bunch of videos about tattooing. Honestly, I stole Peter’s designs, not completely, but just a general concept. This has shaped my style.
At one point I realized that teaching and being a tattoo artist are not compatible for me. And I left school. I changed a couple of studios, until I got into one good (at that time) studio, where my progress went up. But I didn’t work a lot in my style. Very little. There were practically no volunteers. So, like most of the young tattooers, I had tattoo everything from infinity signs to attempts at realism.
What does the word «tattoo» mean to you personally?A tattoo for me is a historically correct tradition of a person to identify himself in society. Hence the variety of styles, ideas and so on … In a tattoo, you can realize yourself as an artist who applied this tattoo, and as a person who created a certain idea and conveyed it to the artist in order to create a harmonious picture together.
Unfortunately, any other slag is also called a tattoo. But I don’t consider it a tattoo. In my opinion the tattoo should have an idea and its disclosure. Although, this is not a secret, society in Russia has changed a lot and the concept of a tattoo has also changed.