A tattoo artsit for 6 years, Pasha Et (Pavlo Kurylo) creates beautiful black and grey realism tattoos in Ukraine. We chatted to Pasha about the inspiration behind his pieces...

How long have you been tattooing and how did you get into the industry? I wanted to be a tattoo artist when I was 18. I found some videos about tattoos and decided that I could do it too. I’ve always liked tattoos and at 19 I bought all the necessary equipment and made my first tattoo, that was back in 2015.

What does tattooing mean to you? For me, tattoos are style, beauty, and self-expression. To be a tattoo artist is to give these things to other people. I enjoy the process of creating a cool tattoo, so after the tattoo is finished, my client will also enjoy their tattoo for life.

How would you describe the tattoo scene in the Ukraine and Belgium? If we’re talking about tattoo artists, then every country has some very cool but also bad tattoo artists. It seems to me to be about the same, there’s a balance.

If we talk about clients then the difference is really big. In Ukraine tattooing is still developing. Basically people aged 20-35 want to get a tattoo, but many of them are still students and can’t afford a quality tattoo. Most people over the age of 40 don’t understand tattoos or tattooing, they don’t see it as art.

Of course, there are exceptions, but it’s mostly like that. But in Belgium, clients consciously approach tattooing, they’re smart with their choice of tattoo and tattoo artist.

How would you describe your style? I work in the realism style with the technique of “whip shading”. I really like how tattoos look in this technique. I work mostly with small portraits (usually celebrities) and various sculptures or statues.

What’s the process behind your tattoos? How long does a typical tattoo take? It starts with the client sending me an example of what they would like, then we meet for a consultation and discuss all the details. Then we create a sketch in Photoshop (this is usually a collage of several pictures), if necessary, I finish sketching by hand. The next step is to determine the size and try a sketch on the part of the body they want tattooing. Once this is ok we agree on the date and time of the session.

Usually portraits take 4-6 hours. If they’re quite large portraits, about 20cm in length without additional details and heavy elements I can do them in one session (5-7 hours). If a portrait has lots of details, it can take 2-3 sessions each one being about 5-6 hours, but it all depends on how detailed and complex the design is.

Where do you get your inspiration? I am inspired by so many things. I’m mostly inspired by people in other creative professions, those who work hard on themselves and succeed in their field and beyond. It could be a tattoo artist, graffiti artist, a photographer or musician – anyone creative.

What do you love to tattoo and what would you like to do more of? Generally, I like to do realism by using photos. I would like to make even more portraits, especially shots from movies.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your tattooing? I’ve had more time to develop and improve my style, but I think COVID has had the biggest impact on my trips to other countries to either work or go to tattoo festivals. Unfortunately, until the situation around the world improves it will be very difficult to move. But someday it will all end and tattoo artists will be able to travel and make people happy with their tattoos again.

Be sure to follow Pasha on Instagram for more awesome realism tattoos.

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