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"Ewelina's Artistic Odyssey: From Adversity to Mastery in Tattooing"

Ewelina, the visionary artist behind TWARDA SZTUKA TATTOO in Poland, has transcended childhood setbacks to emerge as a renowned painter. This interview delves into her transformative journey from painter to tattoo artist, exploring the challenges, inspirations, and triumphs that shape her distinctive artistic identity.

1. Ewelina, what inspired you to enter the world of tattooing, given your background in art?

As a child, I was prolific in drawing, with a skill level surpassing that of my peers. Unfortunately, my school teacher failed to appreciate my talent, deeming it fraudulent and subsequently destroying my drawings. This experience was deeply traumatic, leading to a hiatus from drawing for many years. It wasn't until adulthood that I rediscovered my love for art.

My artistic abilities and aspirations grew with each new painting, eventually leading me to establish an art company, ART.ESM, in Norway (where I resided at the time). Specializing in acrylic and oil portraits, I developed a profound interest in tattoos. While initially not planning to become a tattoo artist, I admired tattooists for their creativity and diversity.

Although the tattoo industry seemed daunting, a visit to a tattoo studio for my next tattoo changed my perspective. Tattoo artists appeared distinct from painters – more interesting, colorful, and adorned with body art. Their personalities, sense of humor, and communication style resonated with me. I realized that tattooing was my calling, a decision that profoundly transformed my life. Embracing this path, I discovered a newfound sense of self among tattoo artists, allowing me to be 100 percent authentic. While I still find joy in painting, I've found my peace within the tattooing community.

2. As a versatile artist, what challenges and satisfactions do you find in exploring various tattoo styles?

My artistic journey commenced with drawing and painting, creating pieces that often combined realistic elements with abstract backgrounds. In tattooing, I endeavor to showcase my unique art—a glimpse into my mind and identity. Consequently, I infuse my tattoos with the same stylistic elements present in my paintings.

While I acknowledge the beauty of the realistic style, I find it to be a significant and ongoing challenge. I am continually learning and evolving within this intricate style. Pure realism, although impressive, doesn't fully satisfy my creative aspirations. I admire artists who can replicate a photograph through tattooing, showcasing exceptional skill. Personally, I seek to inject more dynamism and intensity into my work, incorporating unconventional lines and dots to render the real world more captivating and vibrant.

My ultimate objective is to develop a distinctive style where tattoos resonate more with the qualities of a painting. It intrigues me how different artists interpret colors uniquely. Abstraction, whether in tattooing or painting, offers a myriad of expressive possibilities, presenting limitless avenues for artistic exploration. This aspect of art never fails to captivate and astonish me.

3. With your experience in hygiene from working in dental clinics, how do you apply this knowledge to your artistic practice?

As a dental prosthetist and dental assistant, I prioritize maintaining the highest level of hygiene in both dental clinics and prosthetic laboratories. The habits cultivated in these environments have become integral to my professional approach. This experience has heightened my awareness of the potential risks associated with the work in a tattoo studio.

Understanding the inherent dangers of our profession, I am equipped with the knowledge to ensure a safe working environment for both myself and others. I firmly believe that every tattoo artist should undergo mandatory medical training, as our industry demands not only artistic skills but also a profound understanding of medical principles.

4. How did you prepare to start teaching beginners in the industry, and how did this teaching aspect come about in your career?

In preparing for teaching beginners in the industry, I drew upon my experience working in the laboratory. While artistic skills are undoubtedly crucial in our field, I emphasize the significance of medical knowledge in my courses.

The opportunity to teach arose when I received an offer from the studio where I worked a year ago. Intrigued by the idea, I embraced the chance to meet aspiring individuals filled with hope, ambition, and passion. It brings me immense joy to contribute to the early stages of the careers of such talented individuals :)

5. How long have you been studying art, and which artistic influences have significantly impacted your work?

I started drawing as a small child, but due to an unpleasant incident with my art teacher, I stopped drawing for many years. I rediscovered my passion for art at the age of 25, connecting with amateur painters online. Being entirely self-taught in painting, I learned almost everything on my own, with a notable exception: I received guidance in painting landscapes from the iconic Bob Ross, whose tutorials I thoroughly enjoy on YouTube.

Before venturing into tattooing, I had a brief yet intense experience in painting, dedicating myself to it every other day for two years. My journey in tattooing spans approximately six years. A significant influence in the tattoo world has been Pawel Skarbowski, my mentor during my apprenticeship in his tattoo studio in Oslo, Norway. I express heartfelt gratitude for the invaluable knowledge Pawel imparted. His studio is populated by highly professional artists, and collaborating with such individuals was a tremendous honor :)

6. What initially drew you to the art of tattooing, and how has your artistic background influenced your work in this field?

The art of tattooing has always fascinated me, although pinpointing when my interest began is challenging. Tattooing, for me, is a captivating form of artistic expression that involves creating a unique bond with the client—a sort of ritual where the tattoo comes to life.

In my case, the love for painting paved the way for my interest in tattooing, marking the next stage in my artistic evolution. It's akin to progressing to a new level in art. Working with paint shares similarities with working with ink, and my painting skills played a crucial role in accelerating my development in tattooing, providing insights that made comprehension more accessible.

One significant distinction lies in the longevity of the art form. A well-painted oil painting can endure for centuries, whereas a tattoo exists for the duration of its owner's life. This unique aspect is what makes tattooing a distinct and intriguing field of art.

7. As a professional in Warszawa, how would you describe the local scene?

Working in Warsaw presents significant challenges. As the capital of Poland, the competition is intense, requiring considerable effort to secure a prominent position in the market. Over time, I've managed to build a diverse clientele, reaching individuals from all over the country and even abroad. This achievement is the result of years of dedicated and intensive work.

While competition was initially formidable, it is no longer a significant hurdle for me. Through persistent effort, I've established a substantial customer base. For aspiring tattoo artists, breaking into the Warsaw scene can be exceptionally tough. However, the hard work invested can yield dividends, as Warsaw provides unique opportunities for professional growth that may not be as readily available in smaller cities.

8. To what extent do you believe art shapes or influences the industry?

Tattoos are inherently a form of art, and art plays a significant role in shaping the tattoo industry. The influence of art is profound, aiding in the comprehension of colors and fostering creativity. However, it is crucial to recognize the distinctions that set them apart.

Tattoo artists face the challenge of creating designs with greater contrasts, ensuring larger and more legible motifs. Unlike a painting, where the paint merely needs to dry, tattoo ink interacts with human skin, living and evolving after the healing process. This dynamic nature must be considered when crafting a tattoo design.

It's essential to understand that not every piece of art that appears striking on canvas will translate seamlessly to human skin. These two realms, while interconnected, represent distinct categories. Nonetheless, developing skills in both areas proves valuable for a well-rounded artistic perspective.

9. Can you tell us about your training and professional background, and whether you continue to work in the dental field?

My professional background encompasses a degree as a dental prosthetist and dental assistant. Interestingly, my inspiration in this field traces back to my grandmother, a talented prosthodontist who navigated challenging post-war times in Poland. Despite her dreams of a thriving artistic career, she channeled her skills into dental prosthetics, excelling in the field.

Encouraged by family, I pursued a similar path, completing medical school and obtaining a diploma as a dental prosthetist. However, upon working in a dental laboratory, I quickly realized it wasn't my true calling. The turning point in my life occurred when I embraced the role of a tattoo artist, bringing a profound sense of fulfillment.

Although I briefly worked in prosthetic laboratories and dental clinics, these experiences failed to align with my passion. I have unequivocally decided not to return to this profession or work in a dental clinic again. This transition marked a positive shift in my life, and I attribute it, in part, to the energy and influence of my late grandmother.

10. Apart from your work as an artist, are you involved in other creative activities or projects?

Beyond my role as a tattoo artist, I actively manage the "TWARDA SZTUKA TATTOO" studio in Warsaw, co-owned with my husband. Our collaborative team includes five fantastic artists. Additionally, I have ventured into manufacturing as the creator of "ST NEEDLES" tattoo needles. Looking ahead, I am set to embark on collaborations with several tattoo studios abroad next year.

Driven by discipline, hard work, curiosity, and an active mindset, I find fulfillment in meeting new people. The dynamic realm of tattooing provides the perfect avenue to realize all my professional ambitions.

11. What appeals to you the most about working with a variety of artistic styles in your practice?

First and foremost, the endless opportunities for development! Different styles foster unique skills, introducing new challenges and preventing tattooing from becoming monotonous. The beauty lies in the limitless ways styles can be creatively blended—a canvas only constrained by our imagination.

12. How long have you been a professional in this field, and what are your future goals?

I have been dedicated to tattooing for approximately six years. My immediate aspirations involve expanding my presence globally. While I've achieved considerable success in Poland, my aim is to venture into international territories—participating more frequently in foreign conventions and guest spots.

Additionally, I harbor significant plans and ambitions for both my studio and ST NEEDLES. With a step-by-step approach, I am confident in realizing all my objectives.

I must express my gratitude for the opportunity to be interviewed by DGN MAGAZINE—a realization of one of my dreams. Thank you very much for this! :)

13. Could you share details about your studio and what makes it unique and special?

What sets our studio apart is our distinctive management approach. Unlike traditional studios that take a commission for each tattoo, we offer artists workstations for rent. This empowers our collaborating artists to earn more substantially. The unique setup fosters a dynamic where artists have increased energy and motivation for growth.

Our team operates like a family, supporting each other both during and after work. As owners, my husband and I envisioned a tattoo studio with working conditions that prioritize the needs of tattoo artists. We embrace a non-hierarchical structure—no bosses. Our relationships are built on friendship, trust, and mutual respect. Working in any other studio is unimaginable for me.

14. Is there anything personal you'd like to add to conclude this interview and share with our readers?

Absolutely! Firstly, I want to express my sincere gratitude to DGN TATTOO MAGAZINE for this incredible opportunity—it's a genuine honor for me.

Special thanks to Pawel Skarbowski (@pawov) for allowing me to be your apprentice in your Oslo tattoo studio, (@high_fever_workshop). I've learned immensely from you, and I'm truly appreciative.

A heartfelt thank you to all the artists collaborating with us at TWARDA SZTUKA TATTOO ( Working with each of you is a pleasure!

And the biggest gratitude goes to my husband Emil (, the love of my life, who has supported me since the inception of my career. Sometimes it's challenging, with ups and downs in both my personal and professional life. Surrounding yourself with good people helps you navigate even the toughest moments. Our industry offers abundant opportunities, allowing me to meet incredible individuals from whom I've gained invaluable insights.

My work is not just a job; it's my life, my passion. While it occasionally brings moments of sadness, more often, it delivers joy and satisfaction. This journey is one of the most beautiful adventures of my life.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read my interview! I'm delighted to share my world with all of you—the world of ART.ESM.


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