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A Micro World of Lines: An Interview with Mikhail Nechaev

A Micro World of Lines: An Interview with Mikhail Nechaev
Tattoo Artists4 min Read

A discussion about complexity and the beauty in freedom of expression.

In this interview Mikhail shares what opportunities tattooing has given him and how it keeps affecting him. He also talks about the complexity of the people he meets along his career and the influence they have on his creative process. We also get an inside view on his style of tattooing and both the outside and inside factors that have created it with time.

Do you remember the first moment you were drawn to art? Are there any important memories that hint at the artist you would become? 
Ever since I can remember, I have always been an insanely curious child. And I've been attracted by interesting shapes and unusual combinations in everything I could see around me. The first moment of my conscious attraction to art was on my birthday, I turned 6 years old and my mother gave me an Encyclopedia in which there were a lot of graphic drawings, engravings and sketches. I couldn’t read at that time, but I was considering them over and over again with a keen interest and great pleasure, wondering about the content. My mom immediately noticed that I liked all these illustrations. So, every year for my birthday I received new books from her. As I grew up, I gradually became aware of this interesting world in its various graphic variations. I found them everywhere, often creating reality in my head as a drawing or a sketch.

Why were you drawn to tattooing? and what made you pursue this profession? Who were the tattoo artists you would and/or still look up to? 

I am drawn to tattooing because of its freedom of expression. It is a great opportunity to see something absolutely ordinary and familiar from a different perspective. You can create your own reality, come up with new rules and vision. You can also be a pioneer, a traveler, a creator. Tattooing helps me to learn new things and to learn constantly: languages, symbols, history, art, the past, the future. It is a permanent development and involvement in all areas of life. In fact, I am inspired by many of my colleagues, but at the moment I'm trying to look inward in order to find new forms and meanings, keep them separate from someone else's art and not to get inspired by it.

Can you talk about your style and how it developed over time?    

My style is geometric graphics. Now when I look at my old works, I get a feeling there have always been 2 people in me. It's like, throughout my career as a tattoo artist, the first one is inspired by minimalist forms, very simple, clear and concise. He finds them in architecture and in contemporary art. And the second person inside me creates complex systems in which each part affects all the others. This is how the universe and humanity, society and community work. And it is my inspiration as well. The tattoo style is developing along with new meanings that I discover inside people I meet on my way.

If you are able to pick, which is one of your favorite pieces you have tattooed? 

I really love to do everything related to traveling, physical and spiritual development. My portfolio includes a huge amount of works devoted to world maps and compasses, books, nature, symbols, planets and stars. My favorite motif, which I will never get tired of, is the universe and man's place in it.

Many artists have a philosophy about their work or why they create it. What is your artistic philosophy and your goals within it? 

My philosophy is to help every person who comes to me with the realization of their dreams. It can be, for example, a tattoo as the immortalization of the most defining moments of life, or that would give a person certain qualities: courage, independence, self-improvement, determination, responsibility and others. I am very careful and attentive to every idea and its owner. For me, it is an opportunity to make someone happier.

What are your favorite parts about the tattoo industry and where would you like to see change? How do you feel about the future of it? 

I really like the way the tattoo industry has been evolving for the last 6 years. I'm also happy to see that tattooing is no longer a taboo for many people. It's great that everyone in our community can develop: show the whole world their unique art, thanks to the Internet. Now, many people have the opportunity to travel and meet their favorite artists, share experiences. The whole world can find out about you if you do something one-of-a-kind and love what you do. In the future, I would like the tattoo to interact even more with all kinds of art. I believe that it is important for there to be more exhibitions, meetings and collaborations. To be honest, I want our industry to move even faster from the old school era to the modern era. Our contemporaries have everything for that to happen: talent, high quality equipment and chance to be seen and heard.

Do you have any projects, events, or plans coming up in the future that you’d like to share? 

I have a large number of projects that I would like to bring to life. I would really love to organize a tattoo convention, where there will be new modern types of tattoos, artists, performances, exhibitions of modern art, street style and design. I would like to collaborate with different brands as well. To make a digital exhibition. I'm heading in these directions.