My friends at the Greek tattoo magazine Heartbeat Ink
have a fantastic in-depth Q&A with Mike The Athens
, in English and in Greek. Tattooing for 24 years, Mike The Athens
is not only one of Greece's preeminent tattooers, but has garnered international acclaim for his work, which is largely inspired by Tibetan and Himalayan Art, Sak Yant, and mantras, but also moving towards Japanese-influenced tattooing.
Today, Mike The Athens splits his time between Athens, Greece, and Goa, India. In the Heartbeat Ink
interview, he explains what living and tattooing on two continents is like, how tattooers must have a conscience, and even the fun way he got his name. Here's a taste:
Where are you now in 2013?
I split my time between Athens and Goa. Things are much different in
Goa now, compared to how it was fourteen years ago, when it comes to
tattooing. Around 150 walk-in studios have opened and two or three
private ones. Nowadays, not only tourists get tattooed, but also locals.
Goa is a very advanced place. Besides the great energy it possesses,
you can meet really interesting people too. Plus, you don't need to
convince anyone about who you are. Most of them don't have a clue about
who I am, if I'm a renowned tattoo artist or not. The relationships
formed in India follow totally different patterns from the Western ones.
Everything is still original to a certain point. As the years go by,
things are slightly changing, but the people living there, including me,
aspire to keep the originality factor alive.
Can you describe your everyday life as a tattoo artist in Goa?
I feel sort of cut off from the international tattoo scene, since I
live so far away from the rest of the world. I have time to paint,
create tattoos and painting collections. I would like India to be my
base in the future, as far as tattooing is concerned, and people who
want to get a tattoo from me to travel all the way there to get it. Some
people are already combining it. All these, whilst guest artists and my
senior apprentice, Thanos, will be working in my studio in Athens.
Read more, and view some wonderful photos, here
. Also check Mike The Athens' site
.Mike is also one of the featured artists in Black Tattoo Art 2, which is currently available for pre-order.