420 605 884 920
Kollárova 7 66902 Znojmo
FRESHLY INKED: When did you start tattooing?
ONDRASH: It’s been eight years now since I first became interested in tattooing. But all these years I could tattoo just on weekends, because until this May I was studying design. So basically professionally, I’ve only been tattooing half a year. Before it was more about guest spots and finding a compromise between going to school and having free time.
FRESHLY INKED: How did you get into tattooing?
ONDRASH: My first contact with the body art was in my 13th year, when I was fencing with pencils with my friend and I won so unhappily that my friend had the pencil jabbed in his flat hand. He has the graphite in his hand today.
FRESHLY INKED: Where did you apprentice?
ONDRASH: I became familiar with ink tattooing from my teacher, a guy from the punk scene, Vladimir Futak from Knockout Tattoo in Prerov. At the time he told me, “You can draw, so you can tattoo too.” It was fine—after the first lines of color there was a zigzag line, and he immediately took [the machine] from me and sent me to clean grips. I didn’t trust in myself very much, although I’d drawn since I was a small boy; I didn’t trust my hand. At first I just tickled the skin. My friend taught me this way, so that the skin wouldn’t be red and fractious—just softly, he advised me. It’s no surprise that people were coming back unsatisfied with colors! It didn’t last long. I’ve got eight months of tattoo school by Pepa Heller—it was the right impulse to begin to tattoo professionally. And now I’ve got the opportunity to go to New Zealand as a guest spot.
FRESHLY INKED: Do you have any special training?
ONDRASH: I finished my studies and I am not a graduate of multimedia or design. In college I studied the art of wood carving and restoring.
FRESHLY INKED: What inspires you as an artist?
ONDRASH: I like a lot of artists. Today when everyone has his own website, I can spend all day looking for inspiration. In any case, I paint with aquarelle and oil.
FRESHLY INKED: How do you describe your style? How did you develop your style?
ONDRASH: Some time ago an article came out calling this style art brut tattoo, as a French wave of modern tattoo, and I think I don’t have a problem with this appellation. Today, aquarelle colors are typical for me, and sketch lines, which I use as a construction for grappling colors. My way takes longer, and that’s why I’m from a small city! Fortunately during my studies I met a lot of artists who influenced me. Today I’m trying to use, instead of the pencil, the oil pastels and colors for preparing the basics for tattoo. But I remember earlier, when my friend wanted a ballet dancer on her leg, I didn’t have enough time for preparing the design and she came while I was sketching brut figures, and she said, “That’s exactly what I want.” Since that time, I’ve started to get loose, and nothing too static is interesting for me. Recently I tried graffiti and I don’t understand why I didn’t start earlier—my heart was beating all day long. In tattoo I miss the possibility of working fast with colors as I can see them. Before, people labeled my work as scribbles; today, they’re compositional and figural art. The common reaction I get is predominantly mediated through my customers. These are mostly humorous stories—the people around them not believing that this is a tattoo, but watercolor on the body.
FRESHLY INKED: What do you like most about being a tattoo artist?
ONDRASH: Above all it is my freedom and discovering very interesting and creative people who come to my studio for my work.
FRESHLY INKED: What are you currently working on?
ONDRASH: Now I am preparing my next action, a charity tat- too, “Zkruhu—from the Circle,” for kids who need help. Top tattooers and people who get tattooed by them with symbolic circles are going to help children with the disease called “butterfly wings” [a skin disorder]. In Europe it’s a completely unique charity art happening. This year will be its third year. In the last year we made 120 circles of tattoos, and we have received around €4,300 for kids. I plan to do this action again in December 2012. You could say that voluntary damage we get done to our skin tries to alleviate others people’s skin damage that is irreversible and currently incurable. For this event I prepare my exhibition with my paints in the gallery. I also just opened my own new studio. I share the space with great tattooists Venda and Katerina. The studio is in the center of historical Znojmo. It’s a smaller town with rich history and a lot of enticements for tourists. It’s a town with good wine. The interior of the studio is equipped to feel comfortable, but despite the much- needed effort to keep everything at the highest level of hygiene it definitely doesn’t look like a dentist’s office. People stop by us sometimes just for coffee and a chat.
FRESHLY INKED: What sets you apart from other artists?
ONDRASH: I like to draw tattoos directly onto skin of the customers, as if they are tailor-made. The lines then perfectly fit with the curves. I have no catalogs. The customer writes me what they wish and I draw it for them. I work on one customer a day so I have enough time for each person. I always tattoo original, by myself if it is possible. Prints from catalogs don’t exist to me. Each customer is original. I see it very personally—often as a legacy of experiences and feelings of my client. Almost every tattoo I’ve done, I could tell you the story behind it. It is my task in the design process to illustrate exactly what the client has long desired for their own original tattoo.