Interview with Pinkerbell
In this interview with Turkish artist and tattooer Pinkerbell, she speaks about her passion for ceramics and how she is trying to spread Anatolian history and culture by giving unique and distinctive tattoos.
Ankara based artist Pinkerbell wants to share small pieces of ancient Anatolian culture with her clients, literally. She loves to paint Anatolian cave arts and primitive figures with the tiniest brushstrokes. Although they may look simple, their meaning and significance is very deep. In this interview Pinkerbell talks about her background and creative process.
Tell us a bit more about yourself.
I guess I'm drawing since I was 5 or 6. I was a child with a high imagination. Pencils, brushes and papers were the best way for me to express myself. When I was 6, I've painted a horse, which I saw from a children book. The picture on the book was too small, approximately a 3 x 3 cm. My mom went crazy when she saw it. It might be the first turning point of my life. After that, she always supported me to study art. Thanks to that support and all my hard work, I was able to study at highs school of fine arts. After graduating from there, I've continued my art education at Hacettepe University, studying Ceramic. It was pretty hard to get along as a college student, so I've decided to work as a waitress. After doing it for a while, I noticed that my job was retaining me from my art studies and making it impossible to produce any work. Making money from the thing that I'm passionate, it was the best decision I've ever made and probably the biggest turning point of my whole life.
When did you decide to start your tattooing career?
Before I've started tattooing, I had a mini boutique on Instagram, from which I sold stuff that had my own designs printed/painted on them. I was thinking that my designs were suitable for tattoos, I've even wanted to get one of these designs tattooed myself. For me, it's way precious and valuable when a design is unique, owned by only one person. But it was a bit impossible for the boutique. My desire for tattooing was getting bigger with my friend insisting me to give it a go. So I've decided to try. That's how I began my tattooing career. It's been almost 2 years!
When did you got interested in cave arts and primitive figures? Do they have any connection with your ceramic studies?
Of course it has. Actually there is a specific reason why I wanted to study ceramic. In high school of fine arts, we had a great education of drawing, painting, sculpting and graphic design combined. But we didn't had the chance to do any ceramics. That made me want to study ceramic in college, to feel fully equipped, to know more about different disciplines. Back in high school, I already had a huge interest in ceramics, thanks to an amazing historical artifact named "İnandık Vase" which I saw in a school vacation to Ankara Anatolian Civilizations Museum. It was a Vase which is 43 cm in diameter, 82 cm high, having primitive figures which are depicting a holy wedding ceremony on it. I was simply amazed by it. My interest in ceramics kept growing since that day, and it still continues.
Where do your primitive figures come from and what do they mean?
I've always tended to avoid creating kitsch and usual artworks. Wanted them all to be unique and characteristic. It's the same for my tattooing process. I've observed tattoo artists and people who gets tattooed around me, noticed that tattoo is just a cosmetic for majority of them. That pushed me to do researches about tattoo history. In those researches, I've learned that it's a part of religious ceremonies dating back to 30.000 b.c.. I'm still researching and I will continue as I believe it's a huge part of my designing process. According to those informations that I've learned, I'm also symbolizing religious rituals, holiness of animals, hunting and many more in my primitive designs. Sticking to dynamics of cave art, I'm designing and making tattoos which has the intention of telling a story.
Which tattoo artists are you influenced by?
How is your creative process? Do you get to decide/change the original idea/placement of your clients?
I read articles and watch lots of documentaries in the process of creating a primitive design. To be honest I'm turning under every single source I can find about it. I believe it's helping me to be sure about what am I doing, avoiding me to act unconscious. Then I'm mixing the things that I've learned with the images in my mind and turn them into rough sketches. A lot of rough sketches. When I think it's enough, I start to eliminate them until I'm sure about one and finish it to be a unique tattoo design. I'm listening everybody who wants to get a tattoo from me, without interrupting. They usually don't have the sharpest decisions and they are pretty open minded. So I'm trying to assist them to get the best out of their ideas and desires. I believe the most important thing is to communicate, understand and respect each other. A good communication makes everything discussable; idea, design, placement. This makes both of us happy at the end.
How many tattoos do you give per day/week?
I've set myself a quota to keep my tattoos at the highest standard that I can. Maximum of 2 tattoos per day, and 12 per week.
What's your opinion on the state of the industry today?
Looking at today, especially the people wanting to get tattooed are much more conscious. Seeing a large amount of tattoos on social media might be the reason. Tattoos are improving technically on a daily basis. Despite all this development, I think people are repeating ideas and concepts a bit too much. Looking from the good side, this also gives other people who try to be creative and unique the opportunity to shine and rise.
How do you see yourself in 5 years time? Any goals?
Not gonna lie, I'm pretty confident about myself and my works. My biggest goal is to spread this culture without leaving, but by going another countries for a short amount of times as a guest artist.
If someone wants to get tattooed by you, what should they do? how should they approach you?
It's enough if they're ok to carry a one of its own tattoo. Then they can send me a mail.
Anything you would like to add that might be interesting for our readers? Any advice you would like to give?
Chase what excites you, your enthusiasm, what you believe. Even if your family or closest friends are not supporting you. If you take a decision by believing it and stand behind it, it's almost impossible for you to fail. It was a pleasure to interview with you, love you all!
Contact Pinkerbell and follow her Tattoofilter profile here.