To find the perfect job, many people have to go through a lot. To achieve the desired result, you must be stronger. Asya Teryaeva says that the most important thing is to keep moving. Her career started as a tattoo artist in St.
Petersburg is a city of inspiration. Asya works today in top European tattoo studios and can still recall her first steps into tattooing.
Asya, I understand that your journey to become a tattoo artist took a long time. Before you could become a respected tattoo artist, you had to switch careers. Tell us your story.
Yes, that’s true. I’ll start by saying that I’ve always loved to draw. I chose to study marketing after I graduated from art school. My parents were supportive. They thought it was a promising profession. At that time, I didn’t even think about becoming a tattoo artist, but at some point, I became acquainted with some people who appeared to be tattoo artists and I ended up in one of St. Petersburg’s tattoo studios. I liked the atmosphere – the equipment, bottles of ink, designs on the walls, and constant The guys in the studio were nice, and my friends started telling me that I should try tattooing. I was very interested in the whole topic, but for some reason, I continued to think that it wasn’t for me.
Let’s find out, what made you change your mind?
I worked as an office manager in a logistics company with a rigid corporate culture and no That’s when I started thinking about changing something. I realized that I wasn’t ready to work in logistics my whole life, and besides, I had always dreamed of becoming an interior designer. After completing a one-year program, I was offered a job at a design studio. I was not a designer but an assistant manager. The studio was located in an old home at the English Embankment in St.
Petersburg. It is intoxicating. That was when I realized my burning desire to be a tattoo artist. I had thought about it for two years before finally reaching down to some friends. That’s how I found an artist who was looking for apprentices. He asked me for my portfolio. I sent him drawings from my time at art school. The guy said it wasn’t a good fit and turned me down.
But were your persistence?
Yes! These thoughts have been with my for so many years. I realized that I couldn’t miss such an I created several designs closer to the tattooing style, and that artist agreed to teach me. I was able learn 10 lessons and he even allowed me to tattoo a client the first time. I knew he had put out a call on social media, publishing my designs, but I didn’t expect to be tattooing so soon. Naturally, I was nervous. It’s one to draw with a pencil on paper, but it’s quite something to tattoo someone. After the mentor explained the basics of the process, I spent fifteen minutes setting the machine up. It was a heavy coil machine. It wasn’t like the machine that most artists use now. Despite being nervous, I felt confident tattooing. Although I was able to learn from a master, I felt inspired and wanted to continue my career. After having left the interior design studio, I became a full time artist in tattoos.
Which style do your current work in?
I started with botanical motifs – flowers, lettering, and geometric designs with flowers, but always in black and white. I’ve never worked with color because I’ve always loved graphics and minimalism. If we’re talking about style, it’s fine-line floral tattoos. In the beginning, I’ve drawn other sketches – with animals and ornaments, but still, I did flowers more often than anything else. Botany is a passion of mine. I was raised near St. Petersburg in a small green area so I have a good understanding of how to arrange the body to flow with nature. I love the harmony between the body and botanical motifs. That’s why gradually, mainly botanical motifs remained in my art. Of course, over time, my technique has changed a lot – I started using thinner needles, lighter shadows, and delicate strokes.
Russians are very fond of black-and-white graphic tattooing.
And not only in It is popular in Europe, and it’s gaining momentum in the United States as well. The only thing is that it seems there aren’t as many artists in America who work in this style. For tattoos, people travel from the USA to Europe. I often receive clients from the United States to tattoo in St. Petersburg. They have told me many times that it was difficult to find an artist skilled in this type of work.
You have probably been to Europe several times. We are interested in hearing about your first experience with a European tattoo studio.
I received my first invitation in the summer 2019. I was working as an interior designer at the time. They were originally from Germany and found me through Instagram. I was invited as a guest artist to their studio. I was delighted to receive the invitation. Although I knew about it, it seemed impossible and far-fetched. Travel, creativity, as well as English have always fascinated me. To me, tattooing is an ideal job. It was frightening at first to travel to another nation to communicate with foreign clients. But, they had met me in St. Petersburg and wanted a tattoo. And now it seems like something very natural for me – to travel around the world and work with people from around the globe.
Was it a positive experience? Is it possible to continue working in Europe after your first guest place?
I still remember how many people walked up to me in Hamburg, despite my busy schedule. Then, I realized that I could travel all over the world and not just to one city. I already loved Amsterdam at that time, found a studio there, reached out to them, and they replied: “Of course, we will be glad to see you.» That’s how it all started. Over the past year, my clients and I have been traveling to Russia. I’m often invited by a studio to be a guest artists. After we agree on dates, I post an Instagram announcement announcing my arrival. Recently, I was invited to Newcastle as a guest. I did not expect to find myself in this small town that is bordered by London, Milan and Paris. I still receive invitations to travel from all over the world.
It would be a smart idea to look for work elsewhere if you are a frequent European traveler.
Despite my love for America, I would love the opportunity to work in the United States. While I was visiting the US as a tourist, it was also an opportunity for me to visit the tattoo studios in NYC and LA and to talk with fellow artists. This is an interesting fact. My Instagram statistics show that America is the number one country from which my subscribers are coming. I had a chance to see what American tattoo studios look like, and from what I saw – they are very stylish, beautiful, brightly lit spaces. The interior design process is complex. It’s something I love. They can be used as both tattoo studios and art spaces. They offer many opportunities to collaborate and learn, as well as the chance to create interesting work.
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