Shards of glass, beads of sweet, silken strands of hair, the glint of sun on a woman's lips...super stars of music and Hollywood, all perfectly captured. Even the glow of spirit from within, the reflection of soul seen within the iris of an eye. Inal Bersekov renders tattoos with the artistry of a Renaissance master. It's actually sort of stupefying that someone could replicate faces, objects...even emotions...in such stunning hyperrealism. And what's more, is that you can actually learn from him in an upcoming seminar at Mommy, I'm Sorry based in Stuttgart, Germany.
How did you get into tattooing and why were you drawn to it? What do you love about it?
First of all it was a purely haphazard, I remember drawing since forever, my parents back then were kinda conservative. So, I was studying “Economics” at the university, then I slowly dropped it. Back in 2013-2014 I remember sitting at my friend’s house, and he just checked my drawing and asked me why I never tried tattooing. That's how everything started. I was never a big fan of the tattoo universe, at least what it looked like to me from outside, you had to be a biker, or listening to a certain type of music putting on a certain type of clothing, I wasn’t about that at all, I wanted to bring something different. Then I started like everybody else, but what I loved more than anything about it, it was leaving something “alive”, a trace, a “living art” forever on somebody, and having a really intimate moment with them and to see them happy about it.
Can you talk about your style? Why was realism the aesthetic you were drawn to, and how does the process differ in creating, say, a traditional piece and a photorealistic piece?
My style… as I told before I was drawing since I’m a child, and especially I was drawing portraits. I think that was the main reason I’ve started doing realism, and of course make those tattoos more alive than ever, and be different from what I saw in my home country (traditional, geometric and other styles.. ) I think the process looks easy for somebody who never did realistic tattoos. I mean clients usually want a certain picture and the exact same picture on them, but that’s just what people think, but let’s talk about technique, let’s talk about shadows, because realistic tattoos are made of shadows, not lines. And let’s talk about the skin, it’s certainly not a piece of paper, so you have to adapt every color to that. Let’s say realistic tattoos are not better, or worse than traditional or other styles, it’s just different and they have their proper difficulties.
You’ve done so many pop culture icons, it’s incredible. Are there any people you want to do, but haven’t yet? Is there any work you wish you did more of?
I’m a huge nerd about movies, music, etc. And I’m trying to tattoo those things we used to see back then or listen, if I could I would only tattoo movie themes but I’m giving a chance to everybody with their ideas!
Who are your artistic heroes, tattooists or not? What films, books, visual art movements, etc. are your favorite or inspire you?
It’s a really long list, I love everything about art, maybe not the “modern” ones hahah, let’s say my favourite artistic time was the “Renaissance” style, when people started pushing their limits, and create such amazing things that we still have trouble today to recreate. I like a lot of tattoo artists, that doesn’t mean I like and worship some “dinosaurs” of the tattoo industry, because they contributed to make a needle or a certain type of shadowing technique, I like even young artists, everything is about “Art” and what we can do with it right?
If we don’t give away the information about what we’ve learned, why struggle studying it? I want to be part of something bigger.
You have a seminar coming up in conjunction with Mommy I’m Sorry. Can you talk about the impetus behind the seminar, and what you’re hoping to achieve? What advice do you feel you can give artists? What’s the best advice you ever got as an artist yourself?
That’s the big news: in March we’re doing our first “Seminar” in Stuttgart and I’m really excited about it. I want to show people what I’ve leaned so far, and help them out with some technical questions. If we don’t give away the information about what we’ve learned, why struggle studying it? I want to be part of something bigger. It’s like having children; you’re teaching them what’s best so they can be even better than you. It’s a circle of life, and that information never dies. The only advice I can give to the others, and the one I got from my brother Richard Feodorow (owner of the amazing “Ivory Tower tattoo studio in Gôteborg in Sweden) is “Never rush things.”
Mommy I’m Sorry seems to be a very special shop. Can you describe a bit about why you chose to do the seminar there, and what the tattoo community is like in the surrounding area?
It is. It’s a very chic and classy tattoo studio, with a good quality artists. “Mommy I’m sorry” and I chose that place because it’s their home country and a neighbor to mine (Belgium) so we know pretty well everything about it and it’s a beautiful place! Talking about the community: one of the best, nicest one!
Beyond tattooing, what are you passionate about? If you weren’t a tattooist, what would you be?
I love everything about drawing, so probably I would paint or draw. Or have a normal job like everybody else haha!
Any other projects, collabs, or travel plans coming up in 2019 that you’d like to share?
2019 is full! We have our upcoming “Seminar” in March 29-30, then I’m traveling to Toronto, then to Germany, France and…too many places! So stay tuned to see it announced on my Instagram!