Slava Kononov is a young tattoo artist born in Ukraine. Recently, he moved to Berlin in search of new opportunities away from conflict. He is not new to this city, as well as many other places in the EU and beyond: he travelled a lot as a guest of European studios.

Some of the true fans of his post-old-school Art travel across oceans to be tattooed by Slava. He is both light-minded and smiling - and way too serious for a person in his twenties. Today he is known as one of the most progressive figures in tattoo art and he now works at Craftz Berlin Tattoo Haus.

We met him to share his thoughts on art and his life. 

To your mind, why are tattoos always modern?

- Today's world is open and loyal to all forms of self-expression and demonstrating personality. This is the freedom we have instead of preserving the true human values. Still, tattoo is a modern art. And anyone can become a part of something beautiful and thus break the everyday routine or emphasize its singularity.

What was the first tattoo on your body?

- That was a primitive geometric logo of the old Gothic band Black Flag. Their music changed my young naïve nature a lot. Now I get food-for-thought from philosophy, religion, psychology, popular science, communication and art. I believe that we should strive to ideal. Development and growth is an internal necessity. Lack of growth leads to crisis.

Why did you move to Berlin? What about your studio in Kiev?

- For now, Berlin gives more opportunities for artistic, personal and spiritual growth, away from political issues, crisis and regime. This city is ideal for me, at least at a glance, and I'm moving forward. The Kiev studio keeps working and hopefully I will return there someday.

Have you ever refused to make a tattoo? Why?

- Well, I refuse regularly. I work only with my own sketches in my personal technique. And a client should trust me. This is the only way I work with people.

What is specific about the old-school tattoo and its fans?

- There are no strict borders between styles. In fact, this only matters to a few connoisseurs. What really matters is good taste – the rest is conditional.

What do you think of the extreme body modifications? Why do people do that?

- This is a very complicated issue. Roughly, the Oriental philosophy explains that by ignorance and degradation. We live in the age of illusions and discord – discord not only with our body, but with each other, our parents and nature.

How will tattoo art develop if it keeps its present pace of growth?

- It is hard to imagine how this kind of art will change even in a week. This is a social mirror and nowadays society develops fast and uncompromisingly – I have no idea what's going to happen in a decade.    

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