Today we present you Alex Moro, a tattoo artist who lives in Saint Petersburg, Russia. His Realistic style packs a punch: vivid colours, the utmost attention to details and a particular penchant for portraits, horror and cartoons. He tells us more about his tattoos, revealing some details about technique and explaining why he chose supplies from World Famous Ink… Enjoy!
Hi Alex, would you like to introduce yourself to the readers of Tattoo Life and tell us your story?
I am Alex Moro from Saint Petersburg, Russia. I graduated from art school when I was a high-school student. I did my first tattoo for my friend with a tattoo machine made of a motor and a string (like many of my colleagues, I guess). I was 16 back then. Later, I gave it up for a while, but at the age of 19 I bought my first tattoo set which was made in China. I used to think it would be just a hobby. But step by step I got utterly absorbed in this, so I became the person I am now.
Let’s talk about your tattoos: how did you end up specializing in your style and how would you describe it?
I am fond of doing realistic tattoos, especially ones that are colourful and vivid. Our life is full of dull routine and it has to be fixed.
The realistic style attracts me because of its difficulty, great attention to detail; technically, this is the most difficult style.
I also enjoy New School, the Cartoon style, and at times I do tattoos dedicated to some arts. I think my tattoos are bright, contrasting and deep.
What are your favourite subjects?
I like portraits in tattoos, horror works and cartoons. I like to get across interesting ideas or unusual projects.
How important is your equipment in order to do a good tattoo?
It’s a very important aspect of the job – a good machine, needles and ink. It’s good that there is a lot of high-quality equipment on the market now, so you can choose what is convenient for you and suits you in your work. You don’t have to make a tattoo machine by yourself, like you did just 20 years ago.
Why did you choose World Famous Ink and what results does this choice ensure you get?
World Famous: very high-quality inks that heal well. I like their density, a large selection of shades. I know how this or that colour heals on the skin, so I already know in advance how the tattoo will heal. I also like that World Famous is a family. A very friendly family.
What are your favourite colours and how important is it to know how to deal with them properly?
I like blues and reds. Any colour requires careful staining, otherwise the tattoo will be “full of holes”. There are such complex colours like red or burgundy: you need to be especially careful with them, because it is easy to over-injure the skin during work. You need to put on colour as densely as possible. The success of healing and its condition over time depends on this.
From a technical viewpoint, which tattoos are a real challenge for you?
The hardest tattoo for me was the grape on the thigh. It was a cover up and I was afraid that the old tattoo would be very visible. When we exhibited it at a tattoo festival, the judges did not even believe that it was a cover up. We got second place, which is also cool. The more details there are in a tattoo, the more difficult the work is, because it takes much longer than usual.
What are the rules for doing a good realistic tattoo that will last over time?
It is important to choose the right colour shades for this. You also need to know how the portrait is constructed. Sometimes you see a portrait of a famous person in the work of some artist, but you don’t recognize him. So it is important to know all these nuances. Also, don’t forget about contrast. No matter how well a tattoo is done, if there is no contrast in it, it will not be readable over time.
Detailing is also an important aspect. The bigger the tattoo is, the better it will look over time.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out in tattoo today?
You mustn’t skimp on equipment. Take master classes from artists who are close to your style of work. It helps a lot. Or go to them for a tattoo and watch the whole process on yourself. Now there is a lot of educational material for free, just take it. Watch reviews on tattoo machines, needles, etc. And learn how to draw. This will help you understand the colours and construction of the picture.
Where are you right now and how are things going in terms of this pandemic that has hit us all so hard in 2020?
I live and work in Russia. The pandemic hit us hard in the spring, we couldn’t work. Tattoo studios were allowed to work in the summer, but many customers were afraid to come to the sessions, they were afraid to spend a lot of money. Now we are working, but unfortunately there are fewer customers. I hope next year everything will be fine and we will forget about the Coronavirus the way that we forget about a nightmare.
How have you managed to get through this period and what are your hopes and plans for the future?
I had to live without work for two months, and it’s good that we are not closed any more now. I am glad that I can work. This is the main thing. It upsets me that you can’t go to tattoo festivals, you can’t fly abroad. I look forward to the day when these restrictions are lifted and the tattoo industry can live a normal life. I miss many friends who live in Europe.
Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you’d like to add before we wind up?
I want to wish everyone good health in these difficult times. Don’t give up, don’t be discouraged, everything is going to be cool soon. The main thing is to believe in it. I also want to wish everyone creative development. This is the main thing in our profession – not to stand still.