I think it was a few tattoos that I saw on the magazines, they had this particle of technique and scary visions that I was doing on my drawings. I’ve been drawing scary things all since the days when I was a kid, it was my true passion. When I was a student I wasn’t happy with the path I had chose. I was studying landscape architecture and this was not what I was expecting from my life. I always wanted to be more open as an artist. I remember watching the pictures on magazines and I told to myself in my head “hey, I could do that, it looks easy to make” … but it wasn’t. Anyway, I bought the equipment and changed the way of my life, breaking my studies to become a tattoo artist.
How long have you been tattooing now?
It’s been 11 years since May 2006
What was the first tattoo that you ever attempted and how did it turn out?
First tattoo I did was on my leg. It’s a very small symbol and I did it with a sewing needle and ink from a pen. I was 10 years old boy. I was really scared of my mom and tried to hide it as it was symbol of blasphemy.
What does tattooing mean to you?
There’s many ways you can express yourself doing really philosophical themed tattoos related to death, beauty of nature and mix it with each other, and human’s skin is deeply meaningful to this art I think.
In your opinion, what would you say makes a good tattoo?
No matter what style it is a good tattoo has that something that makes you feel that the artist put his soul in it. It’s a complexity of several things such as a good creative idea, proper size which is well placed on the anatomy, angelic lines, sense of saturation, depth, 3-dimensional effect… but not necessary too much focused on realism. My favorite tattoos are not too realistic, I like balance between realism and freehanded solutions. If it’s well done technically, colours which are nicely blended and if you can feel balance between chaos and order- then I can say that the tattoo is good.
Do you have any favourite tattoo artists?
Sure, there’s a couple of them such as Victor Portugal, Dmitriy Samohin, Robert Hernandez, Ad Pancho, Valentina Ryabova , Julian Siebert make do a good job, the guys I’m working with in the shop…I cannot mention all of them, there’s really huge amount of amazing tattoo artists now.
You work at such an great studio with amazing artists, is there ever a friendly rivalry to try top each others work?
Yeah the artistic level in Kamil Tattoos is very high, which is a challenge. Everyone has that something which makes you feel a bit jealous but this is a good, motivating jealousy. We’re all learning from each other, we’re listening to each other about some mistakes, better solutions, sometimes we meet to draw together and we’re all good friends.
An artist as good as yourself surely has won many awards in your career, is there one that means the most to you?
This is not true, I have won only one.. haha. But the reason why is simply that I never show my tattoos in competition… I could say more, I’m not doing many conventions. I choose 1, up to 2 conventions and I go there just to meet people and have fun. The award I won was in London Tattoo Collective last year and I really didn’t want to be a part of the competition but my friends made this decision for me. And I won 3rd place in black and grey category. It was nice, I really appreciate it but I’m not a kind of an awards hungry man, really, I’m just doing my job, trying to make my clients happy, that’s most important.
Do you have any rituals to prepare for a tattoo?
Of course, music is the basic ritual in my work, it makes my work fluent and I get out of my mind. I drink a lot of coffee which is really helpful to get into that creative state of mind. I’m trying to keep positive thoughts that motivates me to be fully focused and reach 110% of my abilities.
My fav tattoo is the full back with guardian angel on the skull background which I done in 30 hours. I remember being hypnotized doing it because there was a good energy between me and my client and she gave me complete freedom with my vision, that’s why it came up so good.
Full body blank canvas, unlimited freedom, what do you do?
Oh I love to do things that I used to do on my drawings years ago. You can see the melting faces, naked girls, skulls, things very twisted. I love to mix dark themed subjects with new age trippy fractals, similar to Alex Grey’s compositions. Yes, I love trippy, twisted and scary ideas.
What is the most outlandish thing someone has ever asked you to tattoo?
Hmmm I don’t remember, sorry.. I mean I’ve never got an offer outlandish enough to stay in my mind as worth to remember.
You have a very beautiful dark style, if you could how would you describe your style in your own words?
As I said above “trippy” would be a good word to describe it. Surrealistic is a big word reserved to really big artists such as Zdzislaw Beksinski, Salvador Dali, etc. But this is my dream, to make people talking about my work being surrealistic. I’m not trying to be too realistic, just trying to catch this sophisticated balance, as I appreciate well done realistic tattoos.
What has been your favourite and hardest moment in your career?
My favorite moment was when I left my country and I realised how people out of Poland loved the things I’m doing. I started to travel and I’ve gained confidence as a tattoo artist that pushed me forward. The hardest and sad moment in my career was when I realised that many people from the industry that were my friends showed their true colours being jealous and trying to take me down. It’s always about big egos, people are causing shit around you to feel better. But it doesn’t make me sad anymore, I just accepted that as a natural process in human nature.
Outside of tattooing, what hobbies and interests do you have?
I’m a musician, I love guitars and singing. Currently I’m making 2 albums parallelly. One is my own solo project where I play kind of metal, deathcore..really heavy. And the other project I just created with my friends from Kraków and we play kind of heavy rock. Both albums take my heart when I’m off after work and it fills up my life giving my 2nd chance if one day my age or health doesn’t let me do tattoos anymore.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Terrence McKenna once said “Forget the ideologies. They betray, they limit, they lead astray. Just deal with the raw data and trust yourself. Nobody is smarter than you are, just go for direct experience and liberate yourself from an illusion of culture”.
What would be the best way for someone to contact you for a tattoo?
The best way is to contact me on email firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, is there anything you’d like to say?
Thank you very much for interesting and giving me a chance to speak a little about myself. Hope to see you in the future, cheers!
Definitely! Thanks for speaking to me, Piotr. All the best in the future!