Interview with Inez Janiak

Inez, when exactly did your adventure with tattoos begin?

I bought my first set of machines in 2011 and it started more as a rebellion against the world. All my friends started studying, they had big dreams, but they slowly lost themselves. After months, years of studying, they suddenly realized that life is not so colourful. The studies they chose will not give them a great job, nor time for passion and making their dreams come true. I absolutely did not want to live like that, I wanted to just do something that will also be my passion. That’s why I took the papers from one of the universities in Lodz, I bought equipment and started to try to tattoo, first on artificial skins, then on courageous friends, and after half a year I got a job in my first studio. I was the only tattoo artist there, so I did not develop, I had no one to learn from. The turning point in my career was 2014, when Majk Nołfak wrote to me (I could not thank you enough). From Dawn to Dusk, there was a place for one tattoo artist and I should try my hand. I still work here to this day.

From what I once heard, you had some experience with graphics before, so I guess your artistic background was not that bad. Although many tattooists currently have similar experiences (I mean in graphics), this is not an obvious way to become a tattoo artist. What pushed you in this direction?

My only one experience with “graphic design” before I started tattooing was making some drawings of dinosaurs or self-made greeting cards for my parents. As a child I was scribbling on walls and everything I could, which irritated my parents. So I’ve drawn ever since I can remember… I used pencil, paint, but I gave up paints and focused on pencil, ink and carbon. Now I’m in the penultimate year of graphic design studys, but I study only for my mom, cause I promised her I will graduate with something. But I feel that for me my work is more developmental than studys.

In fact, I’ve always associated you with the style you currently represent, but I guess your beginnings may not be well known to me. What did they actually look like?

Bad? in those days neo traditional tattoo was the most fashionable so I had been trying to work this way but I was always too scatterbrained to make stuff like that. I don’t remember exactly who said this to me, but it sounded more or less like that: “Needles should be used in the same way as brushes, pencils – even though they are intended for filling up, it isn’t said that you can’t use them for outlines. if it works and looks good, why not?”. And I started to combine, I remember that even when I was drawing in my childhood or designing the work under neo(traditional), my line was a bit “loose”. I thought it could be used every day. My current boss and buddy, Sebastian, at the beginning of our cooperation, he told me: “Make your brand.” It has deeply rooted in my subconscious, for which I am extremely grateful to him.

What about your tattoo style, how should it be specified? You use a “sketchy technique”, could you tell us something more about what you create every day?

I prefer the term “sketch-style”. Every day I come to work, I talk with a client, I will scribble something on a piece of paper, then I put it on the skin, in the meantime it hurts a little and is fun. But seriously. I am very consistent in what I do, I want the work on the skin to imitate the pencil sketch as faithfully as possible. I love bold themes and abstractions, but the clients most willingly do anthropomorphic motifs and animals, I do not complain. I like animals. However, because of my work I hated wolves, I try not to show it, but when I hear the word “wolf” on references, I quickly run away!

And how are your projects created, how do you prepare for them?

When I work on-site in Łódź, I usually prepare myself directly before tattooing. I like to talk with my client in front of the session because unfortunately in messages it is difficult for people to describe what they really want. I also like to look at the customer’s body before designing to prepare the sketch accordingly. After a short exchange of opinions, I get to work, and then I show the sketch for the initial acceptance. If we like it, we’re go with that topic. Whenever I’m getting ready to go abroad. I am trying to prepare all the outlines before the trip, so that I have time to explore the area. 1-2 evenings a week I spend painting, drawing and looking for inspiration not imposed on me by customers projects, free to the imagination.

Many female tattooers, of course, there are exceptions, they rather opt for a cheerful, feminine, often colorful style, I do not mean one particular style, but rather some tendencies. You, however, went the other way – eliminate the color altogether, your works are preserved in black and although the statement that they are dark could be a slight obtuce, they certainly are not typically “woman’s knitting”. Where did the idea for such solutions come from?

Recently, I checked the statistics on my social media profiles and the most of my followers are males, but it doesn’t mean that my style can’t do a feminine tattoo. On the contrary, from thin strokes you can create very subtle works. which does not change the fact that I definitely prefer dark and heavy style. Besides, a lot of girls like to be tattooed in a dark style. In fact I’m very cheerful person, probably cause any negative emotions I always transfer to paper. However I know a few well-known female-tattooers, who also like to do “masculine” works, so I’m not the only one.

Your style is original but also specific. Tell me, is every topic suitable to be presented in such a way, or are there any topics that you do not want to take?

Some time ago I was visited by a couple of runners who were discoverers of a diatom, but unfortunately its shape was not entirely suitable for illustrating in my style. Sometimes I refuse to make a theme, these are rare cases, but it does happen. If I do not feel something, or I’m not sure if I will do it in a way that my client will be happy, then I do not want to do it. I also do not make offensive, xenophobic motives, etc.

Are you a beleaguered tattoo artist, does your work have a lot of fans? However, from what I’ve heard, art is not your only passion. It was also music, am I right? Can you tell me more about it? Everyone knows that the work of a tattoo artist is very absorbing. Does it leave you any time for further development in other directions?

It’s true that once I was a singer, but I do not want to be associated with it. I removed evidence of my crime from the network. Sometimes I want to record something again, I liked the adrenaline associated with performances on the stage, now I replace it with all kinds of strange sports from long distance running, OCR, boards, snowboarding, crossfit rolls. It allows me to remove my head away from people, work, rest for a moment and press on to the max.

You are a young person and still have many years in this beautiful profession in front of you, but your career has probably come at a surprisingly fast pace. What are your future plans, what are your goals?

My relatives know that I do not rest and I have millions of ideas per second and most of it are realized. I write my master’s thesis, I work on a sketchbook, graphics for clothes and I’m getting ready for few trips, like to China, US, but I won’t disclose any more of the details right now. you’ll find out soon. Advantage of this opportunity, I would like to thank everyone who had good influence on me and on my work – my customers, my colleagues, Łęczyca city and all those I met during this period. Recently, in a post on my instagram, I wrote that I am the sum of events and people who have crossed my path and I support it. Thank you once again!

This interview for  Tattoo Fan Magazine was created by  Maria Śmigiel.

All used photographs have been made available by Inez Janiak.

Inez Janiak fanpage:

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