If you love detailed and colorful tattoos, you’re going to love Mikhail’s work. Even though you’ll often see his amazing black & grey pieces, color realism pieces are his signature.
He’s known to mix several tattoo styles to turn your blank canvas into unique and creative worlds. Sometimes he mixes surrealism with illustrations, other times he mixes Van Gogh’s starry night with psychedelic imagery. Sometimes he does a great Trash Polka, other times a realistic red rose. In this case, the images are worth way more than 1000 words.
He’s originally from Moscow but has been perfecting his tattoo career in New York at the First Class Tattoos. So let’s get to know him a little better and how he achieves these incredible results.
So Mikhail, what drew you to tattoos in the first place? And how old were you when you got your first one?
I have a love for art, and I’ve loved tattoo culture since high school. Tattoo culture was a bit taboo where I grew up.
Tattoos were not common and the people that did have them were mostly either gangs or bikers. However, the whole magic behind having art on the skin intrigued me very much.
I’ve gotten my first tattoo when I was 17, and have even tattooed myself on my leg.
And can you tell us a little bit about the path you personally took to become the artist you are today?
It has been a tough journey overall. I spent my whole life in tattoo shops, working with various artists and locations. In fact, I was so engrossed that I did not have much of a personal life outside of the shops I frequented.
A large influence that was present, was getting tattooed by other artists that I looked up to, ones that inspired me.
Having deep conversations and attending tattoo conventions was a massive game changer as well.
I can see you’re to make amazing pieces in several different styles…but which one do you personally prefer to work on?
I personally prefer color/geometric tattoos the most. I enjoy mixing color realism with different tattoo patterns and aspects.
To me, it’s unique, creative, and super cool.
Your pieces sometimes have very intricate details. What’s the creative process of working with you like? And does it stem from your vision or does the client request it in detail?
The process of working with me usually entails the client giving me their ideas as well as thoughts of placement, followed up by sketching out the stencil.
At times the client will request very specific work which is more often than not manageable and enjoyable. What I receive great satisfaction from, as do more artists I’m sure, is full freedom and creativity. If I’m given an idea, then I can take that concept and transform it into something beautiful and unique, which will in turn make the whole project much more enjoyable.
I love detail as much as I do not love detail. I think a tattoo should be readable from far away and have good dynamics and fundamentals while flowing with the person’s body.
What would you say is for you the hardest part of being a tattooist?
It is a stressful job. Working with others as a joint effort in order to put their ideas and imaginations come to life every day is a lot of pressure.
Drawing dreams is no easy feat to achieve. Also, sitting in a hunched position for hours at a time, day in and day out can be taxing.
In the end, once that tattoo is done, the immense satisfaction is worth the negatives.
Did you ever have a tattoo project that went wrong? And how did you deal with it?
I’ve had a few over the time I’ve been tattooing. Most of the time, it would boil down to a conflict with a client’s request, as well as a misunderstanding.
I try to avoid confrontation, but once people force me to do what doesn’t make sense or doesn’t look good, I end up refusing their requests and they end up upset.
Do you have any ongoing / future projects you’d like the readers to know about?
I’m currently working on a few sleeves, but I think once I finish this bulk of bookings, I will move on to do more selective pieces of art.
I will be able to share more works and thoughts on this once I have that availability and freedom, with more works to showcase that I am proud of.
If you could say something to all your potential / future clients, what would it be?
Trust your artist. I have been tattooing for over fifteen years, and my goal is to make something that I can be proud of. I am sure that other artists feel the same way.
Do not drink or take any kind of medication before your appointment. Getting a tattoo after a night out might sound fun, but it tends to be counterproductive. Bathing in the sun is a huge tattoo killer, and it makes the tattoo fade quickly. I always advise waiting at least six months prior to going out and tanning.
Even after those six months, put sunblock on to preserve its saturation for longer. At the end of the day, a tattoo is a work of art, and in my opinion, tattoos should heal us, and allow us to feel and express our thoughts and desires. Remember to take it easy, and have fun.
Make sure to follow Mikhail Andersson on Instagram @mikhailandersson and show your love for his art.
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