"In 2012, fresh out of graphic design university, Valentina Riabova found herself drawn to the world of tattooing. What began as a personal experiment quickly developed into a full-blown career, with Riabova teaching other artists and receiving prestigious awards within a year and a half of starting. With a background in both art and rope shows, Riabova found tattooing to be the perfect outlet for her creative and adventurous spirit. Today, at the age of 32 and based in New York City's Love Machine tattoo studio, she is a respected member of international competition juries, with a unique style that blends extreme pain with aesthetic beauty."
age : 32
Tattoo studio: Love Machine tattoo studio
In what year did your career as a tattoo artist begin?
2012 right after I graduated from graphic design university and realized I’m not ready to work for anyone else but myself :)
When did you decide to start professionally?
I gave it a try without meaning it to become my career but it developed so fast that I was already teaching artists and getting conversations awards within 1-1,5 years after I started
What was the reason you chose to be a tattoo artist?
I never really intended it. But I was drawing and painting professionally before and I was doing rope shows as a model (rope bondage or shibari). Which means I had both masochistic kinda tendencies and sadistic plus artistic skills. After all both BDSM and art are ways to express creative energy. So I guess that’s why tattooing : it had the extreme painful bloody communicative side to it and the aesthetic visual caring side.
What was the first tattoo you got (if you remember)? How was the experience?
And the first tattoo you did?
I first got a Scorpio tattoo on myself as a blackwork ornament and I was sure I wouldn’t do any more on me. It was fine, though all my realistic artists friends were making fun of it. I covered it later with my realistic sleeve just to put blastovers and come to heavy blackwork in my own style layer again anyways
My first tattoo on another person was also a primal looking black uroborus dragon
What have been your references to follow?
it’s funny because I was never the type to have any role models. I did like phylosophers and psychologists to inspire me and support me in my thinking (Nietzsche and Freud at most) but when it comes to art not many people come in mind. Da Vinci and his open mind to experiment and explore, Caravaggio and his great chiaroscuro thing, Bosch and his exploration of subconscious and Bernini with his sculptures. When it comes to tattooing, all I could see was that I don’t really like anything I see to the full extend, I could clearly see what’s missing in the industry what I could bring in.
How much did the tattoo change your life?
it did change a lot. Main aspect is traveling. I was happy when I started receiving invitations for work from all over the world, since I ve always dream to become a world known artist and to search for a place where I would feel like home. Turns out I feel myself best when I don’t need to choose a single place.
What other artistic media do you work with?
clay, oil, watercolor, charcoal, ink, ropes, human bodies
How does it feel to be an influencer as an artist, as a model?
I love attention I love inspiring people I love getting feedback on what I do and all of it, so it’s totally my comfort zone
I have a lot, my main focus is to follow my internal feeling and be honest with myself and in balance. I am very driven so I’d love to get a new education may be in some sort of science or to design and produce clothes. I already started both of that but don’t have enough time to go in it fully atm. I want to write books make more paintings and whatever I will feel like doing :)
How can they contact you?
Valtatboo@gmail.com is the best way