A matter of trust
Elena Fedchenko got her first tattoo while studying at university. She did not imagine she would become a tattoo artist in just a few years . We found Lena in the heart of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, and discussed the future of the tattoo industry. However, not only this.
“I suddenly understood I wanted to devote myself to something bigger, so I could really fulfill my potential. In addition, I’ve always been passionate about drawing. I graduated from art school after five years of studying when I was a child. In the beginning I had an idea to combine office work with tattoo artist activities, but then I decided that it was wrong. If you do what you love you need to give it all of your heart and time. So I took that step. I started as a manager in a tattoo studio and later I started tattooing.
Lena says when she first came to work in the studio, it was necessary to dig into the topic as quickly as possible. Artists are also required to be highly professional. If you do not reach a certain level, it is unlikely for you to meet the competition. But Lena succeeded and began to understand eventually what style she wanted to work on. She chose botany. Floral ornaments and images of flowers were often requested by the clients. This style remains in high demand even today. Сonsidering this Lena has launched her own project called “Portrait of a Flower”.
“This project is unique, because it gave me a chance to take a fresh look at the creative process of tattooing. The bottom line is that a client and I do not make sketches in advance. Instead we go to a flower shop and choose a plant that we like the most in the fridge. Then I sketch directly on skin. I draw a flower from nature. That is why the project is called “Portrait of a Flower”. You need to make a sketch really quickly. Sometimes a flower fades right in your hands and it’s very important for me to catch the moment while it’s full of vitality.”
The main idea of the project is to capture the beauty and strength of a flower in the picture. In nature the life of plants is short, but things are different when it comes to tattoos. The image on the body will stay with a person throughout life. And the life of that flower will end with a person’s life. Lena says sometimes she does not know which plant will be given to the client till the very last moment. In this case they make the decision together when they are both in a flower shop. Perhaps the most pleasant thing is when people trust Lena completely in choosing a future tattoo. “Trust is a very important part of our work” says the tattoo artist.
“I believe that a tattoo is something secret and personal. Every person has their own intended meaning of the drawing. That’s why it is extremely important for the artist to establish good contact. Especially if a client is worried or has some doubts. I believe that there is a special bond between both an artist and a client, you just need time. My experience helps me to understand what kind of person would want a tattoo from me. I have a kind of psychological portrait of the client in my head.
Microrealism is another professional area of interest for Lena. These are small tattoos with a photographic level of detail. The tattoo artist believes that this style will be popular for a long time. Tattoos will get smaller and more complex in the near future. You can see that tattoo technologies do not stand still either. Every year the equipment and paint become better and artists just have to follow the trends and to improve their professional level. Lena is also committed to this principle.
“I always keep my eyes on the prize, because there is always room to grow in the tattoo industry. This is not only about specific styles. There are many questions that tattoo artists should worry about: how to injure skin less, how to speed up the work without sacrificing quality and others. And if you check an aspect of technology you’ll see new needles, new paints and some additional tools being presented. They also make your art process more perfect. I know it’s essential to keep an ear to the ground, so I do that.”
Lena believes that any talented artist should be also supported by a collaborating studio. Yes, you can rent a nice place, buy equipment and hire specialists, who do all mechanical work, but this is not enough. There must be some movement towards one another. When a studio creates comfortable conditions for an artist, an artist can grow professionally and never rest on their laurels. This is the key to success.