Tattoo Artists You Really Should Get to Know: Chaim Machlev

Xavier in Tattoo Artists

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.

detailed human
detailed human

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.

Skin Deep.
Skin Deep.

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.

precision
precision

Recent from Tattoo Artists

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.

precision
precision
precision
precision
precision
precision
note
note
line art
line art
line art
line art
line art
line art
line art
line art
line art
line art
lines lines lines everywhere
lines lines lines everywhere
subtle lining
subtle lining
detailed
detailed
spiral
spiral

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.

3d art
3d art
3d art
3d art
3d owl
3d owl
3d mountain
3d mountain

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.

Here are some of the impressive sleeves Chaim have worked on so far.
Here are some of the impressive sleeves Chaim have worked on so far.
impressive sleeve
impressive sleeve
detailed sleeve
detailed sleeve
bubble skin
bubble skin
backpiece
backpiece
backpiece
backpiece

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.

A stunning project in which he collaborated with another talented artist, Xoil.
A stunning project in which he collaborated with another talented artist, Xoil.
line to art
line to art
With underboobs, it's all about sophistication here. His underboob tattoo works are anything but trashy, they're not only very detailed but they enhance a work of art that is a woman into something more glorious.
With underboobs, it's all about sophistication here. His underboob tattoo works are anything but trashy, they're not only very detailed but they enhance a work of art that is a woman into something more glorious.
middle eye
middle eye
underboob and overboob ornament
underboob and overboob ornament
“Every second that I thought about being a tattoo artist I felt a shiver running down my spin, it showed me that it was the right thing to do”.
“Every second that I thought about being a tattoo artist I felt a shiver running down my spin, it showed me that it was the right thing to do”.
jellyfish lineart
jellyfish lineart
line art
line art

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.

His paired designs are just wonderful.
His paired designs are just wonderful.
matching tattoos
matching tattoos
precision
precision

To see more of Chaim Machlev's gorgeous projects, check out his page.

Watch this documentary by Nikita Lünnemann, which follows a day in the life of artist Chaim Machlev.

Xavier

@Xavier

When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife

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