Part tattooist, part performance artist, but fully a creative force, Tyna Majczuk spoke to Tattoodo about her distinct tattooing process. Embracing fluidity and spontaneous creation with her clients has opened up possibilities for trust and respect that most tattooers absolutely aspire to. Ranging from watercolor flowers, to thick blackwork brushstrokes, Tyna continues to push her work to the next level.
How did you get into tattooing? Was it always what you wanted to do?
In the final year of my University degree, while I was working on my masters thesis in history of art, I worked as an interior decorator, that was the time I decided to try tattooing. I was 23. I got a lot of support from a tattooist, that I barely knew; I asked him if he could teach me, and he said yes. I also got support from my husband who said it was a good idea. I graduated with a Master’s Degree in art and monument preservation, but I gave up on a PhD for tattooing. That was my priority. I always knew that art will be my way of making a living. I never thought that tattooing would be my main job, but I treated it as a very important and amazing process of creating art. On my way to becoming a full time tattooist I learned piercing and body mods, and I work as a piercer as well. I like it very much. Its connected with performative process of work with a body, the second meaning of my work.
How would you describe your tattoo style?
It's really hard to describe your own work and style. Despite the fact that I like clear and geometric works, I can describe works I create as dynamic, with “unfinished” form. I'm very sensitive about layout, arrangement, placing of a tattoo on the body of a client. My work is mainly abstract and conceptual, its open, its very emotional, and it depends on my current mood.
Can you tell us more about your process creating tattoos for people?
The process of creating a tattoo is very important for me. Some people mistakenly think I treat people as only a canvas, but it’s very important to meet with a client, to know what are the expectations, the current mood. Usually it ‘clicks’ and we are ready to go. If I see that a customer is not sure about the design or I don’t feel it, I cancel the booking.
In the creating process itself, I use sterile brushes to paint on people. As I said the conceptual part of my wok is very important. My unique technique allows me good, spontaneous but controlled designing of a tattoo. Brush causes that the structure of the paint is more interesting. I like all the random forms, splashes, freehand. I’ll check with a client if everything is Ok, if it’s approved, we just do it. It’s all about trust.
How did you incorporate performance into your tattooing?
The performances and the artistic projects I take a part in are always connected with body art. My performances were violating intimacy of the performers by use of blood, piercing, sewing, cutting the skin, use of fire. It shows the biological process, simple and natural but not socially acceptable in the public space. The tattoos I make are a performative process as well, as its putting ink into the skin. On the one hand it’s full mobilization, and the creation of tattoo traces which are permanent reproduction of unique painted forms on the body. On the other hand it’s control of healing process, technical sides of tattooing, etc. Performance stepped into my everyday work, but of course, I still have ideas to implement performance strictly related to sewing and piercing the body, and will do it for sure.
How does it feel to have your clients trust you so much with their bodies?
I think that every client trusts the tattooist, despite the style of the artist. Not every tattooist appreciates it. This willingness to control, setting boundaries, fades with time when a client becomes used to the fact that he is being tattooed, he treats it as a natural process
However, a tattoo made spontaneously from a freehand carries more doubts, and requires patience and trust. The rule number one is respect, the tattooist needs to remember it’s not their body, learn to listen the client, don’t treat a person like an object. I feel a kind of unusual bond with all clients, but especially with those who decide to make spontaneous projects.
What do you like to do when you’re not tattooing? What are you most passionate about ?
At one point I had an injury, so I had to have a break from work for almost a year. I couldn’t find myself in that situation. I don’t want to be in such a situation again. Being a mother, that would fulfill my life enough but I love my work. I would probably finish my PhD in art. I love traveling, making custom clothes, dogs, music. I just started windsurfing and I enjoy it very much. A bit of art and love keeps me alive.
Why did you decide to open you own shop, Bodyfikacje, and what makes it special? What is the tattoo community like in Poland?
Five years ago I found myself in a situation which forced me to open my own tattoo shop. It was only me as manager, piercer and tattooist. Later on I employed two more girls. Now Bodyfikacje is, Me, Maria Kubit, and Yuna Handpoke, we have Pomału tattoo as a resident, he has a lot of guests, very good polish tattooists and piercers. The main rule of the studio is being original, making art, we listen to each other, we learn, we cooperate. It’s very busy so we try as hard we can. We are friends, we are close with each other, it creates a unique atmosphere, history and adventure. In Poland we have a lot of friends at the other studios, we travel a lot doing guest spots. The tattoo shops are different, It depends on the owners and the tattoo artists. In Poland, the tattoo scene is divided, and there is not much understanding for abstract and conceptual work. The modern styles are developing and we have a lot of great young artists. The level of works is very high.
Do you have any special plans for 2018? Travel, guest spots?
I’m a very busy person. I already travelled a lot in 2018, I visited a lot of very good Polish tattoo shops and conventions. In July I will be traveling to Portugal to work a bit, but mostly to get some rest and surf. During the summer I will work at my studio. At the end of September I will be at the International Hong Kong Convention, which I visited last year. I plan to visit a body mod conference BMX in Essen, Germany. At the end of 2018 I’ll be visiting a few top Polish tattoo shops. Next year I want to go to India for the Goa tattoo convention, and if I’ll get any interesting invitation I may visit Asia or USA!