Exclusive interview with tattoo artist Nayana!
In the Czech Republic, there are not many tattoo artists with such a unique and recognizable style as Nayana Tattoo. With her sure hand and dark designs, she accumulated very passionate fanbase, resulting in wait list longer than half of the year. To ease the wait, SickFace kindly provides an exclusive interview with Nayana.
In this interview you will find out how sculpting is similar to tattoo art, how is it like to open your own tattoo parlor and how to keep loving your job.
- The last year and half was a difficult time for everyone, how would you describe current events through the eyes of a tattoo artist? Were you able to stay working in creative field or did you find a more ordinary occupation?
This was definitely one of the hardest times for tattoo artists and people in services both, since gains dried up but rents and everything else still needed to be paid. At first, I was even kinda grateful for the unexpected free time as I let my hands and mind rest from the routine work, but then, the anxiety from inaction set in. Moreover, I started to feel worry for my financial safety, since savings don’t last forever.
In the spring of 2020, I decided to buy a high-quality printer and papers with a high grammage and began selling limited prints of my art. Suddenly, ideas for the new work surged and it helped me a lot with overcoming these difficult times, both financially and mentally. People were very interested in my original prints, this made me incredibly happy. Fans of our brand NYNT design managed to pull us through.
- You mentioned your brand, what can you tell us about it?
I started NYNT design with my partner Anna in the latter half of 2019. It is basically a NaYaNaTattoo merch (Hence the acronym), which translates into T-shirts and hoodies with my designs and original prints.
At our own expense, we made the first collection with six designs, however, as the Covid came and money went, there weren’t as much resources left for investing in new collections. Therefore, beyond starting with prints, we changed the concept and since the last fall we do our collections via timed preorder. We want to provide absolute exclusivity by limiting the number of product and focus on new designs instead.
This April we’ve dealt with another hindrance, our fb page with 1300 fans was hacked, and consequently lost. Since then, we started a new page, NYNT design Clothing & Artwork and we focus on reuploading all merch as of now.
- You made several occult designs for our brand SickFace as well, which one is your favourite?
My favourite must be probably the Deadhead, since I managed to capture that sweet spot of graphic simplicity. I have it myself both on hoodie and top. I struggle with overcomplexity of my designs, I am trying to learn to simplify them a bit. I like Golem a lot too, it has that poetic aspect. It also fits greatly with out Rabbi. He was the creator of the Prague Beast, featured in our NYNT design brand. My wife has a soft spot for the Jewish culture, which shows in the designs.
- You studied fairly unconventional field, which is sculpturing. How did you get to it? Do you use your know-how in tattooing?
At first, I studied applied arts in Hodonín, and then I tried to get into AVU in the Prague, into drawing. I was instead accepted to sculpting, and I am grateful to Jaroslav Rón for taking me in. I hope he isn’t disappointed in me for tattooing instead of sculpting.
For me though, it is the way I can be the most active in arts, drawing daily, doing designs – and I don’t have to be concerned with storage, as my art keeps on living with their unique lives. Maybe I would get into tattooing even without professional education, but I doubt my work would be my current level. All that time of figural drawing and sculpting, designing, it shows.
It isn’t about simply learn how to draw a human body, but you have to think in art. A lot of tattoo artists underestimates this and you can see it in their work. For me, the tattoo is same as a painting, only succumbing to time and aging of skin.
- In the 2019 you opened your own tattoo parlor. Was it a big change for you?
It was, but since I’ve started in the Hell tattoo studio I knew this would happen. They knew about it, and supported my decision. When you realize what you can do and know you can keep up a work morale and take care of yourself, it is only a matter of time. I think that any tattoo artist should start in a professional studio, since it is necessary for understanding how the business works, how to talk with people, hygiene and so on.
Then, I could do the same in my own Žižkov studio. Even though it was nice with group of friends and colleagues, at heart I am a little bit asocial and I feel better alone most of the time. I need my own space for my work.
- Is there any tattoo you refused? How would you treat client with a poorly thought idea?
Well, I get lots of poorly thought ideas in my messages. They are either good at core and the person in question is interesting, so I can work with that and help, or I simply refuse the idea.
I can’t think out their tattoos for people when they aren’t even able to tell me what they like, what they think about and how do they live. It is a personal service and I want to do my designs tailored to the customer.
I don’t think people are my canvasses, since I enjoy the clash of two different worlds, the dialogue. Someone thinks of something, I ger inspired and my imagination soars. These moments are full of creative potential, much better than just sit and think about what flash I should do, where to start…
Also, problem is when someone has a too rigid idea, as there needs to be a trust between us and 100% free space for creativity, this is necessary. Other designs I refuse are repeated ones or clashing with my personal style.
- You tattoo for a long time now, do you still like it? How do you nurture love for your craft?
When I was unable to tattoo, I felt like I was about to end it all. I had trouble sleeping and anxiety about future, my mental health went downhill. The very moment I could start again I understood how much I missed my job. Everyday routine, designing, cleaning my studio… My sleep improved instantly.
It may sound weird that doing my job also keeping me loving my job, but it is like that, I see it now clearly. It isn’t stereotypical, each customer wants something different and I also try a different approach every time. Some elements repeat, but this is more of a trademark of the tattoo artist. It is a beautiful trade, when done right.
Interview: Nayana x Zoe / Photos: Nayana Archiv