Tattoo Artists You Really Should Get to Know: Chaim Machlev
If you've been hanging around the blog early this year, you may have already come across this guy.
Let's get on to the basics. Chaim Machlev is a talented Israeli tattoo artist based in Berlin. This one's quite a unique story. He only started tattooing 2012. While most artists start out young, having had connections with art for as long as they can remember, Chaim didn't exactly feel the calling early in life. In fact, if it wasn't for an encounter back in Tel Aviv, the world would have never heard of him.
Years ago, Chaim Machlev was your typical young professional, working as service manager at a famous IT company in Israel. He got his first tattoo at 29, by Avi Vanunu back home in Tel Aviv. It was the experience which he claimed changed something in him and made him want something greater for himself.
That's saying a lot because not everyone is going to jump at the chance of moving to a foreign country and leaving everything you've ever known behind to pursue something you have no knowledge about. Especially if you have a well-paying job and are financially secured in your comfortable life back home. All you have is your passion and a mindset to go on. He didn't even have a portfolio.
He tells Skin Deep,
“I cannot put my finger on it now, but something meaningful happened and I realised how strong the effect of putting your trust into someone you just met, to let them change your body, when all you have as a reference is some work of theirs you’ve seen before, or some recommendation. I see it as leaving your ego behind and going through something very deep; a process of self-healing using art.” There's something inspiring with an experience as such. It reminds me of how Jesus called out on some guys who would become his disciples out of the blue and just like that, their lives changed for life. With Chaim Machlev, it's like living your every day life, quite content with your secure life then suddenly you're spiralling into something you're not sure of but you want to go on anyway. That's how I see it.
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From there, Chaim Machlev have gone so far with everything he's achieved in a relatively short period. Apart from winning a 'Newcomer' award and countless praises, Machlev operates as a lone artist in his studio, Dots to Lines, where the average waiting time for an appointment is at least a year.
Here are the many examples of Chaim's famous symmetrical minimalist lineworks which he claimed, takes a lot of time because he makes sure every design suits his client's body. As similar as they may look, each one is unique in its own way, considering the body type of the person he's working with. It's not some kind of stencil where one fits all. Chaim takes a lot of time making sure his art will really go in sync with his client, leaving a satisfied customer.
Machlev also does some Joy Division tribute-inspired works which are also becoming popular with his clients. It features his familiar clean lines and usual blackwork.
You can't really call his works as plain 'geometric' or plain 'blackwork'. It's something more and he didn't stick to the usual stuff people ask for and expect to see. And that's a good thing.
In spite of Chaim's refusal to label his style, people like to describe it as 'geometric minimalism'. It's very fitting. This man is all about clean lines, symmetry and sophistication. I will gladly slap anyone who thinks his pieces are trashy with a fish.