I was born in Poland. The first tattoo I got was two theatrical masks on the chest at the age of 21. Much later than most of the kids today. But it was still a dark craft in Poland. We had to wait a few more years, for tattoo art movement to start for good in Poland, and bring some amazing artists to the world. At this stage, I didn’t even dream about being a tattoo artist. That was too unreal, craft too hard to learn. People who could do that really well were extremally rare in Poland. You could count all of them on one hand fingers.
Everything started for me almost a decade later. With a dream I had, in which I was tattooing someone’s arm. I was painting in oils at this stage and I just had my little first solo show – Egoiste. But tattooing was calling me, so I started to search the Internet for someone who could help. Sławomir Myśków was one I found. A well-recognized person in the tattoo world, really art driven and absolutely positively crazy.
Myśków first advice was simple: hygiene, cross-contamination techniques, tools, and safety. And then – go and tattoo. It’s nothing like You would expect, right? Absolutely different than a classic apprenticeship in western countries. But that was still Poland. Tattoo art movement just started. All young people interested in tattooing were trying to get knowledge from blessed few who knew something, but the supply for apprentices was small. The best option was to be a friend of a friend. That wasn't the case with me. I remember one of the answers from tattoo artist after I showed my portfolio of paintings was: "Man, your works are great. But I have an apprentice here, he is my friend". So Myśkóws help was the best I experienced. I remember he said: "With such a portfolio, I would be a complete ass not helping you", and that meant a lot to me. Because that was immediate agreement that he found valuable bringing me into tattoo world.
The first tattoo I did on my mother, then friends, learning everything hard way. Covering up tattoos of scratchers, trying not to be one. It was hard. I realized that tattooing is harder than anything I ever had to learn. And I got into it completely. But there were also people who helped with advice: Dante in Lodz, Aero in Zielona Gora. Their friendship and support, along with support from my mother helped me get through this hard part.
After half a year I left Poland and moved to Ireland. And this is where my tattooing really started for good. Small stuff first. Loads of script, Celtic, old-school designs, simple realism. Things that may seem extremely simple, but they are hard work. Bread and butter and you have to make enough of them to lose consciousness of tattooing. It has to be a second nature. It has to be as natural as drinking water. And it happens through the massive volume of tattooing. I believe to these days, there is no better way for that. I had to learn everything by myself. Trying, investing, changing.
Ireland brought all the influences that made Malan - me. I met really bad people here, envy. But also I made a few friendships, I learned a lot, I finally grew up and became more independent. Most importantly on the green island, I met my wife. The biggest supporter of me, best friend and only love. Honestly, I don't think I could do what I do now without her.
I remember months of hard work without stopping, without days off, coming back home at minimum 10 p.m. each day. Waking up early and going again to work. And all the effort was slowly paying off. I had my own little studio. Regular customers were coming back. That was also the time of my first big travels, and first tattoo conventions and awards. As I see it now, Irish life, running like crazy for me, hardened me.
After 6 years spent in Ireland, we decided to move to Germany. I wanted a big world, and also a bit more stable life for my family. Let make it straight, Irish weather was also quite an issue. But we always will have a huge sentiment for the green island.
I opened my studio in the small town of Neuwied, where it is still now, and I think it will stay here for good. I remember when first talking to landlords, I saw in the back garden they had a nice pond and huge and beautiful koi fish. You can't get any better sign for good luck for tattooer, couldn't you?
It is the breathtaking area of Rheinland and Black Forrest. The studio is close to big cities like Koblenz, Cologne, Frankfurt, which is convenient for my customers.
So, I am an old tiger now, as I like to call myself. I have my own habits, my own believes what tattooing is and what it should and shouldn't be. I keep my studio very welcoming and relaxed. In the same time, I strive to make my every next tattoo better than the previous one. And that will never change.
So if You fill an urge for the new ink, and it looks like we can be a soul mates, pop into my studio, and spend here some good hours of pain and laugh.
1st Best Realistic – Palermo 2014
2nd Color – Palermo 2014
3rd Best of Saturday – Salento Ink 2015
2nd Best of Saturday – Black and Grey – Koblenz Tattoo Expo 2015
2nd Best of Sunday – Black and Grey – Koblenz Tattoo Expo 2015
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