How to become a good tattoo artist - Interview with Bullet BG
Bullet BG is one of the most successful and famous Bulgarian tattooers. He has over 20 years of experience and will be a lector of the Black & Grey seminar during Bulgaria Tattoo Expo 2019 in Sofia, Bulgaria (28-29 September)
1. When was the first time you saw a tattoo?
I don’t have an exact memory but I remember that in the mid and late 80s the only way to get a tattoo was in the barracks, on a ship or in prison… I often saw roughly tattooed anchors, mermaids, dates and names (sometimes with wrong spelling).
2. How did you start tattooing?
The summer of 1996 after graduating from art high school. My best friend’s stepbrother came out of prison and showed us how they got tattooed inside. We wrapped 3 needles with a thread and tied them on a pencil, we cut a sleeping sheet into small pieces to absorb the blood and the excess paint, we poured some rakia ... and that’s how everything started ;) (“rakia” is the traditional bulgarian alcoholic drink - try it!)
3. You have long experience with tattooing. How did the tattoo industry develop last few years?
The tattoo industry is booming. For the last 10 years it developed more than it has for the 50 years before that. Tattoos were a taboo, but now they are on the cover pages, commercials, billboards, social media, TV, Hollywood and so on.
The development of technology, globalisation, the opening of borders and new markets are the most important factors in the development of the tattoo industry.
Big competition also creates progress.
It has its pros and cons. I think commercialisation of the tattoos made them less individual, less underground, less rebellious. At the moment the public is manipulated with different marketing tricks. The money, fame and ego are worshiped at the expense of the artistic qualities of the tatooers.
4. How do you keep up with the trends and innovations in the industry?
Travelling: tattoo conventions, festivals and guest spots at different studios. I exchange information and experience with other artists, I test new machines, needles and consumables. When you do this things you keep in touch, even you learn early the news which will revolutionize the market. At the moment all the progress in the tattoo industry is based on the recommendations and opinions which we - the artists - give to producers.
On the other hand the online market and social media make every new product available at the moment of production no matter where on the planet you are.
5. Bullet BG is time-tested brand in the tattoo industry. What makes a tattoo artist successful?
Working hard, consistency and dreams to follow. Although there are a few definitions of "successful"... For me a successful tattoo artist is the one who has won the trust of their customers and the respect of their colleagues.
6. You have experience in Bulgaria as well as abroad. What is the common and what’s different here and abroad?
7. You will be the lector at the seminar at Bulgaria Tattoo Expo. What should the participators expect?
The seminar will take place on the 27th of September, the day before the expo. I hope the participants to have a lot of questions so I could be as useful for them as I can be. The seminar will consist of two parts:
1. Theory - I will include information, tips and advice for tattooing as a whole in the form of a presentation. I will pay special attention to black and grey.
2. Practice - I will do a tattoo to demonstrate all the things from part one. I will also answer questions during the tattoo process.
8. For conlusion - could you tell us a fun story or situation from your work?
They are not exactly fun, but I can tell you a few interesting facts:
- - I did 60% of the tattoos on my body.
- - I have tattooed all members of my family and my wife’s family.
- - The longest period in which I haven’t tattooed since 1996 is 3 months.
- - I have worked in 16 different european countries.
- - For the first 5000 tattoos I kept a diary - what, who and where did I tattoo.
- - I was able to open my own studio after 20 years of practice.