Today we present to you Sandra Dukshta, a young Latvian tattoo artist who lives and works in Riga where she is co-owner of the Inside Tattoo Gallery.
Her realistic tattoos, vivid and three-dimensional, are characterised by their bright colours and impeccable technique. Her talent also brought her into the limelight this year at the London Tattoo Convention. She talks to us here about her work, life and the inks she has chosen.
Hi Sandra, would you like to introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you got involved in the tattoo scene?
Hello. I have been interested in art since childhood. None of my relatives or friends had tattoos, but m teens tattoos caught my eye and I got more interested in the way they are created.
I think its amazing, that your skin can tell a story. I did my first tattoos at the age of 15, I had no one to teach me and so my first tattoos were not so good.
So after few years, when I finished school and had more time for tattooing, I got an apprenticeship in a tattoo shop in my home town. Since then I have travelled to many shops and conventions all around the globe, researching and gaining knowledge.
What sort of training have you had and can you tell us how you came to choose your style?
As I said before, I had experience with tattooing at home. But I can say for sure, it’s much easier and faster to learn and get better at tattooing if you are working in a good shop with creative people around you. I couldn’t say I have chosen certain style, I’m aways trying to incorporate some new touch into my pieces.
For tattoos like yours, so vivid that they actually seem real, the choice of the ink is surely of vital importance. How did you come to the decision to choose World Famous Ink? How do these colours meet your technical requirements? And what exactly are these requirements?
For years I tried a lot of different colour brands. And I could never find inks that satisfied me in terms of consistency and colour range. But approximately three years ago I tried World Famous colors and it was just what I had been looking for. Now I’m also working on my own set of colours from World Famous. They will be available soon and I hope artists will enjoy the colours I mixed.
When do you feel you can be satisfied with your work and when do you consider a tattoo a success?
I think the most important thing is not just good technique. Tattoo has to have nice feel to it, good composition and strong contrast. The image has to have some characteristics, something that catches your eye and mind.
Which are the subjects you are most often requested to tattoo and how to you plan the design together with your clients?
I have a lot of requests for animals, flowers and sometimes portraits. I really enjoy surreal, romantic portraits, it’s something that can stir up stronger emotions. Usually I use the client’s idea and do it as I see it. I always say to the client that it’s important to be open-minded, only then we can create a really nice tattoo.
Can you tell us about the shop where you work and the tattoo scene in your country?
I work at Inside Tattoo Gallery in Riga, Latvia. I’m a co-owner of this studio. Its located in the heart of Riga, and its very private, we don’t work with walk-ins. There are people in my country that are educated about tattoos, and are ready for big compositions. But there are also a lot of people that don’t like tattoos or only get small ones. Mostly I work with people that travel to Riga.
I see that people that want to travel, have more respect for my point of view and are more open to ideas.
How did you enjoy the London Tattoo Convention?
I can’t describe it in words. For me it’s the best convention I have ever been to. It’s a concentration of the best artists in the world. I met so many artists that I thought I wouldl never see in real life. It was amazing to see them all at work. I was honoured to take part for first time this year. And I’m thankful that my work was appreciated and I got 1st place Best of Saturday.
Have you any other conventions or guest spots planned?
I try to visit a lot of conventions, not so many guest spots. For next year I plan to visit more guest spots, to meet artists and exchange knowledge. So far the conventions I am planning tol visit are Milano Tattoo Convention, Le Mondial Du Tatouage in France, Tauranga Tattoo convention in New Zealand, Beijing Tattoo convention, Epinal Tattoo Convention and of course the London Tattoo Convention. I think there will be a few more conventions added to this list.
What are your hobbies? Do you draw or design beside tattooing?
I try to paint and draw in my free time. With all the travelling I haven’t had a lot of time for that lately. But I hope next year to find more time.
Is there anything else you like to add before we wind up this interview?
Bring good, and good things will come back to you.